Understanding Different Types of Meters
ATAGO offers wide variety of different devices including, polarimeters, viscometers, salt meters, pH meters, acidity meters, and non-destructive Brix meters. With so many different types of devices it might be confusing at first, but we are here to help you!
If you are unsure to which device will meet your specific needs, please use this guide (see below for more meters) to determine what device will meet your specific needs.
A refractometer, also known as a "Brix meter" is an instrument used to measuring concentrations of aqueous solutions.
Standard refractometers measure the extent of light refraction (as part of a refractive index "nD") of transparent substances in either a liquid or solid state; this is then used to identify a liquid sample, analyze the sample's purity, and determine the amount or concentration of dissolved substances within the sample. As light passes through the liquid from the air, it will slow down and create a ‘bending’ illusion. The severity of the ‘bend’ will depend on the amount of substance dissolved in the liquid.
For example, the amount of sugar in a glass of water.
Using these values, you can determine the concentrations of solutions.
ATAGO USA provides extensive selections of refractometers in different styles like the traditional Abbe, digital benchtop, handheld analog, and digital refractometers to accomodate various industries!
Types of refractometers include:
- Handheld Analog Refractometers are held up to a light source, such as the sun, so light is directed through the sample, a prism, and lenses onto a measurement scale. The angle at which light is internally reflected determines the position of a shadow line on the scale, which can then be viewed through an eyepiece.
- Handheld Digital Refractometers work in the same way as the traditional analog refractometers, with a shadow line indicating the angle at which total internal reflection occurs. However, a digital refractometer itself includes an LED light source. This can improve accuracy by controlling the wavelength more accurately. The optical glass also replaces the eyepiece and glass scale to prevent scratching, enabling the shadow line to be digitally detected and the relevant measurement result displayed on a screen.
- Abbe Refractometers are benchtop instruments designed to meaure refractive index of liquid and solid samples. A waterbath can be connected to control sample temperatures.
- In-line Refractometers are designed to be directly installed into a pipeline or tank to continuously measure the refractive index of a fluid. Monitoring and managing whether the processing, blending, and concentration changes are conducted as planned allows for immediate detection of any manufacturing issues and prevents out-of-spec products, resulting in accurate, reliable quality control for the utmost "safety.
- Digital Benchtop Refractometers are designed to be highly accurate and provide reliable measurements while facilitating a simple measurement method for the operator.
Application of Refractometers
Use 1 Measuring Refractive Index
A Refractive index is one of the physical constants of a substance, and each substance has its own refractive index.
Refractometers are used to measure pharmaceuticals, flavor and fragrance ingredients, chemicals, glass, plastics, etc., for material identification and quality control purposes.
Use 2 Measuring Sugar Concentration
Refractometers can be used to measure Brix values of sugar-rich samples, such as fruit juice, syrup, jam, and honey. The measured value correlates to the sugar concentration of the sample measured.
Brix is the number of grams of sucrose dissolved in 100 grams of water.
The conversion factor between refractive index and Brix values is determined by the lnternational Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis (ICUMSA) .
Use 3 Measuring Concentration of Food Items
Sauces, paste, juice, and other liquid food items can have multiple ingredients including both sugar and salt. When measuring such samples, values measured by refractometers are proportional to the total concentration percentage of all dissolved substances.
In such cases, the measured value represens the concentration of the total dissolved solids of the sample rather than just the sugar content.
Use 4 Measuring Concentration of Other Liquids
Refractometers can be used to determine the concentration of a wide range of liquids, including metal-working fluids, pharmaceuticals, cleaning solutions, coolants, and rust inhibitors.