What Is A Refractometer? How To Use It?

As technology has progressed, science has made many innovations to analyze the characteristics of a liquid and has come up with many tools to assist the same motive. Scientists have launched several instruments that can test a liquid sample from the core and provide every detail regarding it. That being said, one such effective innovation that has been made is a refractometer that is capable of determining the purity of a liquid and its other properties. Apart from this, a refractometer can also measure the quantity of the substituents and provide accurate measurements of each.

Before we learn how to use them for your purpose, let's first understand what a refractometer is.

What is a refractometer?

Generally speaking, a refractometer is a machine that can identify the concentration of a substance within a liquid. By taking only a few drops of a solution, it can tell about its components easily. Due to its incredible utility, it is used widely in chemical, agricultural, food, and manufacturing industries.

With refractometers, you can detect the concentration of ingredients in a medication, measure sugar content in food, and analyze the petroleum oil's weight. Besides, you can also check the ratio of two diluted liquids. Furthermore, you can also measure the amount of sugar in water. Often factories use this tool while making a solution to be able to determine the quantity of each ingredient that is going into the mixture.

The following are some of the major utilities that a refractometer has:

  • It can assist in determining a sample's identification by comparing it with the sample's previously known values.
  • It can determine a sample's purity by comparing its refractive index to that of a pure substance.
  • It can determine the concentration of a solute in a solution.

Refractometers come in different models, and each of them has a specialty of its own. Some of the common types of a refractometer are laboratory refractometers, traditional handheld refractometers, inline process refractometers, and digital handheld refractometers. Each type comprises a scale where the result can be read and calculated.

Refractometers are made up of different parts such as an eyepiece, compensation prism adjustment, hinged sample prisms, light source, light source swivel arm lock, sample, and scale image adjustment knob, scale field switch, line cord on-off switch, water inlet, and outlet and look like a microscope. This machine is lightweight and can be handled and carried easily to different locations.

How does a refractometer work?

Refractometers work in a unique way. When light penetrates a liquid and changes its direction, the tool measures this direction, also known as the angle of refraction, and correlates them to the index values. This determines the exact proportion or concentration level of the solutions.

The refractometer's prism has a higher refractive index than the solution. The refractive index of the prism is substantially greater than that of the sample in a low concentration solution, resulting in a large refraction angle and a low reading. With a high concentration solution, the opposite would occur.

How to use and read a refractometer?

Using a refractometer is not as difficult as it might seem. However, you need to follow four steps to use the tool effectively. By following these easy steps, you can use the product at ease without taking any additional help from a professional.

  • Place the liquid on the prism: Whether you want to test the blood or learn about the sugar weight in a liquid, all you need to do is place a few drops of the liquid on the prism. But before you do that, using distilled water, calibrate the refractometer. Maintain a horizontal position for the refractometer and then add the liquid.
  • Seal the plate: Once you have added the liquid, press the daylight plate, cover it on top, and spread the liquid evenly on the detector. This will help the liquid stay within the prism and not ooze out during the measurement.
  • Look through the eyepiece: Look through the eyepiece on the other end of the tool while putting it directly under the sunlight. You will notice a circular field that comprises the index of the liquid that you have placed in the prism. The line that you will see will either be delineated as a bright point, or you will see a blue color on the circular top and white color on the bottom part. Ensure that the light falls on the zero point, and if it does not, keep adjusting the refractor.
  • Measure the liquid’s refractive index: Now, using the calibrated refractometer, measure the index. Wait till the liquid that you placed on the prism evaporates. This is a crucial step so that you can reuse it again to read the refractive index of other liquids.

Thus, these are the four steps that you need to follow to be able to calculate the weight of the liquid. However, you need to know that refractometers can sometimes show incorrect results, especially if you purchase them from a local store. Therefore, try to buy it from a branded store to ensure its quality.

To ensure authenticity and quality, you can buy one of the best refractometers from ShakeDeal.

This refractometer has a sturdy rubber grip and is made of aluminum, proving its high longevity. Therefore, you can use this product for multiple purposes such as industrial, agricultural, gardening and education. Besides, you can also use this product to calculate sugar content in different food products.