Lab Measurement: What Does a Graduated Cylinder Do?

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Lab Measurement: What Does a Graduated Cylinder Do?

Are you curious about the function of a graduated cylinder and the benefits of using one to measure over other glassware alternatives? In this blog, we'll discuss everything you need to know about graduated cylinders.

In order to measure volumes of a liquid in a lab, a graduated cylinder is a common and accurate device to use. Shaped as a tube with multiple sizes from 5mLs to 2,000mLs. The graduated cylinders from Goldleaf are made of borosilicate glass to ensure quality and chemical compatibility across a variety of uses.


Graduated Cylinder Function

The function of a graduated cylinder is to measure volumes of liquids and solutions, and not mixing or stirring due to their shape and glass thickness. Instead, use a graduated cylinder for measuring your ingredients and pour them into another container better suited for mixing.


Is it better to use a beaker or a graduated cylinder?

A glass beaker is another common piece of lab glass that has a number of uses. Because beakers also have measuring lines on the side, some people may think a beaker can work for measuring as well as a graduated cylinder. However, a graduated cylinder is much better for taking precise measurement's as the measuring line is accurate within 0.5% margin of error, whereas a beaker is accurate within 10%. Making beakers much better for simple mixing or stirring.

glasswear for measuring

What's the difference between "B" and "A" Class graduated cylinders?

Class B graduated cylinders are for general purpose measuring for less precise applications. While a Class A graduated cylinder is twice as accurate and even requires a certification with potentially a traceable serial number to verify the cylinders accuracy. Goldleaf only sells both Class A and B graduated cylinders.


How to Choose a Graduated Cylinder

Choose your size - Graduated cylinders come in a variety of sizes for small to large measurements. When picking a size, make sure your liquid level will not be too small to reach the first marking, and vice verse make sure your liquid volumes will not surpass the final mark for max capacity. Obviously you do not want to completely over flow the vessel, but you also do not want to fill above the final measurement line and lose all accuracy.


different sizes of graduated cylinders


Select your material - Glass is usually ideal for serious chemical applications that require the use of chemicals and solvents. Polypropylene is a budget friendly option that will not break, but cannot be used with any hot liquids or volatile chemicals. Glass is chemically inert and can be used for warmer liquids and potentially harmful chemicals.


graduated cylinder


Understand the measurement lines - The markings on a cylinder are referred to as the "graduations," and each graduation can mean a different measurement based on the capacity of your graduated cylinder. For some sizes, the individual lines will account for exactly 1mL, others 1.25mLs, or 5mLs. Study the details on each cylinder before its use to ensure you know what each line represents.


graduated cylinder


How to Read a Graduated Cylinder

Reading the Meniscus - There is an important method to reading a graduated cylinders measurements. First, you need to have the cylinder on a flat surface and view the line you are looking at exactly at eye level. Then look for the downward curve of the liquid inside the cylinder, this is called the Meniscus. Use the lowest point of the liquid as the point of your measurement, this will ensure you get a very accurate estimate of the liquid volumes in the cylinder.


Goldleaf Graduated Cylinders

Our products are known to provide quality to every application they are used in, and our Graduated Cylinders are no exception. Hexagonal base for stability and saving benchtop space, center spout for easy pouring that will deliver an accurate measurement every time with no need to worry. Measure each mL to the exact quantity you need for your experiment.

graduated cyclinder



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