Friday, 2 May 2014

Friday Five: Refractometer

Him Outdoors checking specific gravity - or something...
Earlier this week, I discovered this word in relation to wine and beer. Imagine my surprise to discover that a refractometer has multiple applications. It is used for measuring the index refraction, which describes how light (or other waves) travels through a medium, such as air, glass, or water (and sometimes appears to 'bend'). 

There is a very specific scientific formula to work this out, known as Snell's Law, or you can just use a handy device that was prepared earlier. Honestly, it's not as dull as that sounds, because look what it can do (hopefully not the same one doing all of it)!

5 Applications of a Refractometer
  1. When making wine or beer, it helps to determine the amount of sugar which will be converted to alcohol.
  2. Gemstones can be authenticated by how much light passes through them, as measured by this handy device.
  3. A refractometer is used in drug testing of urine samples.
  4. In marine aquariums, the saline content of the water can be determined by using a refractometer.
  5. Optometrists use them to determine visual acuity and correct vision. 

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