Title page for ETD etd-06062008-115843

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Webster, Gregory Daniel
URN etd-06062008-115843
Title Modeling of Ethanol Metabolism and Transdermal Transport
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Gabler, Hampton Clay Committee Chair
Duma, Stefan M. Committee Co-Chair
Grant, John Wallace Committee Member
  • Alcohol Sensor
  • Ignition Interlock
  • Modeling
  • Ethanol
  • Alcohol
  • Transdermal
Date of Defense 2008-05-28
Availability unrestricted
Approximately 14,500 people were killed in traffic crashes where the driver was legally intoxicated in 2005, constituting 33% of all traffic fatalities that year. While social efforts to reduce the number of traffic fatalities have shown to be moderately successful, alcohol has remained a factor in 40% of all traffic deaths over the past decade. Transdermal ethanol detection is a promising method that could prevent drunk driving if integrated into an ignition interlock system; potentially preventing 90 million drunk driving trips a year in the US. However, experimental data from previous research has shown significant time delays between alcohol ingestion and detection at the skin which makes real time estimation of blood alcohol concentration via skin measurement difficult. Using a validated model we studied the effects that body weight, metabolic rate and ethanol dose had on the time lag between the blood alcohol concentration and transdermal alcohol concentration. The dose of alcohol ingested was found to have the most significant effect on the skin alcohol lag time. Additionally, custom transdermal ethanol sensors were designed and fabricated and a pilot study on human subjects was conducted to determine if inexpensive transdermal ethanol sensors could be used to detect alcohol in drivers.
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