Wine scanner used for TSA explosives screening

by Wine

It’s not quite a porno-scanner (backscatter x-ray), but it’s still awesome wine science.

Right now you can only bring 3 ounces of a liquid in your carry-on. The reason is it’s too difficult for airport screeners to determine what liquid you are really carrying. It could be water, or it could be some chemical that created chlorine gas when mixed with something else. There’s no quick way to determine what it is you have in your bag.

So what does this have to do with wine?

According to New Scientist, “in 2002 Matthew Augustine, a chemistry professor at the University of California, Davis, US patented a device to determine whether wine had spoiled without opening the bottle. It works in a similar way to the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners used in hospitals, combining a pulse of radio waves and a strong magnetic field to determine the chemical structure of the wine.

311 for carry-ons

This silly rule for boarding airplanes may soon be a rule from the past! (from

They are now investigating how to use the device to determine the chemical structure of any liquid. The device can tell the difference between toothpaste and gasoline (or some bad wines). The hope is within a year or two we can start using these devices to scan any liquids we’re bringing on a plane. Maybe in the future we can bring samples of our homebrew and wine in our carry-on, instead of putting it in our luggage and hoping for the best.

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DJ Spiess

DJ Spiess

Beer buddy

I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!