Here at the ICEF we’re always interested in asking new questions, experimenting with new techniques & technologies, and exploring new avenues of inquiry as we expand our ever-evolving understanding of farts. For example, we have extracted an enormous amount of value out of the Atmotube Plus from Atmotech Inc. In addition to measuring VOCs, the Atmotube also allowed us to explore temperature, atmospheric pressure, and humidity. Stringing a set of well-spaced Atmotubes in our experimental device allowed us to quite precisely measure the speed of farts – at least the smelly components of farts – and we’ve said quite a bit about it here, and here.
In considering how farts ‘move’, it occurred to us that we might need to more precisely consider what exactly we mean when referring to a fart, and what it is we’re measuring. It seems obvious, however we may need to distinguish between VOCs, and air. A fart is mostly air. What’s left are the particles that smell (such as hydrogen sulfide) which are both tiny, and heavier than air. When you fart, it seems clear that the smell makes it through your clothing and out into the room. Two layers of cloth (underwear + pants) are not sufficient to block the smell, and have even given rise to a commercial solution for blocking odours. Can the same be said of the air? Is it moving at the same speed as the H2S?
Thanks to a generous donation from one of the ICEF’s frequent supporters, we have recently acquired an anemometer – a device used for measuring wind speed and direction. It may take some time to fully incorporate the device into our setup and design some formal experiments, however in the meantime, we have tried some things and have made a few observations which are summarized below. We look forward to taking this to the next level in the coming weeks.
Casual observations when blowing into the anemometer orally:
- this instrument appears to be incredibly sensitive
- covering the meter with a single layer of cotton cloth appreciably reduced air flow
- covering the meter with two layers of cloth reduced air flow to almost zero
- air flow was reduced even when blowing at full strength and at minimal distance from the covered meter
- it seems entirely possible that the air portion of farts is barely escaping clothing