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As light bends through a substance, it can be then analyzed using a refractometer to determine the exact properties, form and concentration of that specific substance.
Refractometers are generally used in different forms of research such as gemmology, where measuring the way light bends through a particular gemstone allows the user to identify both the type of gem and the overall purity of the stone. They’re also used quite commonly in the marine industry where identifying the way the light moves throughout the water in an aquarium allows testers to identify the salinity and specific gravity of the water, creating the perfect environment for marine life to live comfortably.
Most refractometers also include a thermometer as standard. This is because the refractive index (essentially the way the light is bending through a substance) can be affected by changes in temperature. Thanks to built-in thermometers – often with automatic temperature compensation – it is easy to maintain completely accurate testing.
The devices come in many different forms. While we stock mainly handheld and digital handheld products, there are also laboratory (Abbe) refractometers and inline process refractometers available on the market too.
The Abbe model is bench-mountable and used primarily in the laboratory for incredibly high-precision refraction testing. Inline process models are generally used inside fluid storage containers such as pipes/tanks to constantly monitor the refractive index of liquids passing through that particular area. This is extremely important in the processing industry as it depends entirely on substances being of the right consistency/type to produce multiple things such as paper, food, sugar and medicines.