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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

A guide to hydrometers

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A hydrometer is a handy device used to measure liquid density and gravity. Used for both professional and personal use, hydrometers are popular due to their easy to operate, lightweight and helpful functionality. The device works by calculating the ratio of liquid and water density based on the notion of buoyancy.

What does it look like?

Simply put, the device is a long glass bulb, that’s weighted and sealed. What the hydrometer reads is determined by what you want to measure. For example, it can be calibrated to read gravity, density or other characteristics.

How to take a measurement

To take a reading, you must immerse the hydrometer in the liquid. From here, the device will show reading from where it reaches the surface of the liquid. However, hydrometers come in different shapes and sizes. So, be sure to read the instructions on the packet before you use it.

What does the reading tell us?

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When you take a reading using a hydrometer, it’ll tell you the specific gravity of the water. If you place your hydrometer in a high-density liquid, it should float much higher. And, if you place it in a low-density liquid, it will sink further. You can adapt the way a hydrometer takes a reading corresponding to what you’ll use it for. For example, if you want your reading to be within a specific scale, you can set the range accordingly.

What can you use a hydrometer for?

A hydrometer can be used for a multitude of things. However, one of the most popular uses is to help make wine or beer. The hydrometer will measure the gravity of the liquid being fermented; this will then help advise how much alcohol will be produced from it.

The hydrometer will measure the amount of sugar in a liquid and the higher the sugar content, the higher the reading. So, after the sugar has fermented and been turned into alcohol, brewers are looking for lower sugar content as this means there is a higher concentration of alcohol.

Is a hydrometer worth the money?

In short, yes. Whether you’re using a hydrometer professionally or personally, you’ll find it’s an affordable device that’ll last you a long time. Despite it not being a large, complex piece of kit, many people still rely heavily upon them for their business. So, you won’t find anything as good on the market.  

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