Refractometer: What kind of units does it measure?

Refractometers are optical instruments used to determine the percentage of soluble solids in a liquid solution. For this, the refractometer makes use of the principle of total refraction of light (originated by the type and concentration of the substances dissolved in a liquid solution, for example, sugar), which takes place in the boundary layer between the prism and the sample.

The refractive index of the prism determines the upper limit of the measurement range, since this must always be greater than that of the sample. The refractometer therefore measures the density of liquids, the denser a liquid, the greater the refraction.

What does a refractometer do?

This equipment is responsible for measuring the density of liquids, knowing that the denser the liquid, its refraction will be greater. We can also say that this sophisticated apparatus is used to measure the refractive index of translucent solids and liquids. This laboratory element uses the principle that ensures that when the density of a substance is increased its refractive index is increased proportionally, for example when sugar is dissolved in water.

This instrument not only measures liquids, but can measure gases and solids, this invention helps you measure the concentration index of a substance in a matter, this allows you to analyze the percentages of some substances that make up a matter. It also allows to identify the types of substances and the degree of purity that they possess.

What units does a refractometer measure?

Its operation is based on using the refraction of light, which is a physical property of any substance and is related to some physical properties such as density. From this, and according to its application, different scales are built. The most used scale is Degrees Brix (Proportion of sucrose or salts in a solution). There are other scales, such as:% salt, gs, g / dl, nD,% w / w,% vol,% water, mash sacch, M-10, MDT, among others.

Some refractometers have different scales. Clinical refractometers usually have a scale for the reading of total proteins and for specific gravity, which is why the refractometer is used to measure the refractive index of liquids and translucent solids, allowing:

  • Identify a substance.
  • Check its degree of purity.
  • Analyze the percentage of solute dissolved in a certain solution.
  • Offer other qualitative analysis.

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