Purpose Of a Refractometer Meter And Its Maintenance
Widely used in many industries, a Refractometer is a device used to measure the concentration of a substance such as sugar in a solution. It uses the principle of refraction. Well, we have learned the principle of refraction in our school days. So, as you already know; when light travels from one medium to another, it bends. The bending angle is called the incidence angle. Can you remember the pencil test we did in school? (http://www.iweathernet.com/wxnetcms/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/refraction-of-pencil-in-glass-of-water.jpg.)
Refractometer has become an essential in many industries from the food industry to jewelry industry. Well, not only for large-scale industries; home brewers and home aquarium owners use it often.
How a Refractometer measures?: The refraction angle depends on the temperature and composition of the media. Every compound/solution has a specific refraction index. So, with the increase in concentration; the refraction index also does. The results obtained by the Refractometer then compared with the standard refraction index. The refraction index helps us to determine the purity level of the liquid sample. The Brix scale is used to determine sucrose concentration in water. A winemaker uses this device to measure the sucrose concentration in wine grapes. When the wine grapes are ready to use for wine production, the fruits have a specific sucrose concentration.
Refractometer types: Mainly three types of meters are there in the market today. Handheld Analog meters are losing its popularity due to the gain in popularity by the digital handheld meters.
Using analog meters for measuring: Place the sample on the cover plate and prism, then hold to a light source.
Handheld Digital Refractometers requires just a few drops of the sample to obtain readings. Place the sample in the well, and a LED light source illuminates the well. The digital meter then interprets the units of measure programmed.
Refractometer maintenance: Well, you must maintain these analytical instruments properly to get accurate readings. Automatic meters are very complex and expensive devices, so poor maintenance would lead to failures and can even cost you thousands of dollars money waste. Some Automatic Refractometers cost up to $10,000 to buy. The wet environment is not suitable for these devices (other than the prism, don’t wet other areas of the instrument.) Clean the prism after every use and make sure it’s dry before storing.
The biggest issue when repairing a Refractometer is that only a professional can do it. Attempting to repair the device yourself is not recommended. Excess moisture environment can damage the electronics in a Digital Refractometer. Well, you can’t measure every liquid on earth with this device. So, buy a meter depending on your requirements. Dropping the device can damage delicate pieces inside the meter (it’s a common accident.) Store the device in a temperature-controlled environment. Temperature fluctuations will compromise the internal parts such as the prism and optics.
Refractometer scales: As mentioned, this device is widely used in many industries today. Which means this device can measure more than one factor.
* Measuring Sodium Chloride solutions (Salinity.)
* Used in food and beverage industry to measure sucrose percentage (Brix.)
* Urine-specific gravity and serum albumin (clinical uses.)
* Specific gravity.
For home use, buying a handheld device would be sufficient. You can buy a handheld meter for $30.