Graduated cylinder

November 1, 2021

The graduated cylinder is one of the most representative instruments for measuring volumes in a laboratory, since its use is extremely simple, which allows simplifying procedures while maintaining the accuracy of the results.

When we talk about laboratory instruments there is a wide and interesting range to know, because with the growth of science and technology it has been possible to perfect and create new elements, which will be very useful for your knowledge and profession. They are faithful and necessary tools for each experiment, practice or process that you must develop throughout your career.

This cylinder has a series of particular characteristics that allow it to fulfill all uses, to which it is intended, in a perfect way, becoming the best ally when you are going to work with liquid and gaseous solutions .

For this and other reasons, I will talk to you about everything related to the graduated cylinder, so that you know in depth aspects that will improve its handling, use and knowledge.

What is a Graduated Test Tube?

The graduated cylinder is nothing more than that instrument whose primary function is the measurement of volumes, in order to carry out chemical analysis of substances.

It is worth mentioning that it is not only in charge of making measurements, but also of containing different volumes, thanks to its elongated and cylindrical structure.

The graduated cylinder, is also known by other names such as graduated cylinder or laboratory cylinder, it is called graduated because it has a volumetric graduation throughout its length , that is, it has a scale drawn on its exterior that marks the amount of volume that there is per line, in an ascending way, this serves to measure volumes in an approximate way, since it does not offer the values ​​as exact as the pipette or the burette, but it is an element of great importance necessary in every laboratory.

What is a graduated cylinder for?

The graduated cylinder, as I mentioned, is a volume measurement instrument, but it should be noted that it is used to measure relatively large volumes that do not deserve perfect accuracy. If required with microliters or specificity, other measuring instruments should be used.

Generally speaking, a graduated cylinder is used to:

  • Measure volumes without so much specificity.
  • Contain liquids as a temporary store, that is, for a short time.
  • Transport volumes from one place to another quickly and easily, since at the top it has a spout that allows substances to exit easily.
  • For the chemical analysis of substances , in the determination of quantitative and qualitative properties.

All its functionalities are oriented to the chemical analysis of substances and laboratory activities, since it is an instrument for measuring, transporting and storing both liquids and solids.

How does a graduated cylinder work?

The laboratory cylinder has a completely simple graduation mechanism (hence its name of graduated cylinder), before you start, what you should do is clean the cylinder with distilled water.

Then, it is basically a matter of pouring a product and noticing where it marks its surface line or meniscus, on the graduation scale, which is on the outside to determine the measure of that solution. In the event of exceeding, the operation must be started again.

It must be understood that the cylinder has a maximum capacity, specified on one side, called the gauge line, and determines whether a graduated cylinder is 10 ml, 15 ml, among others. And that your scale can have one or two numbers, which mean the following:

  • When you mark a single number on the graduation it means itself the final volume measure of that substance. That is, the volume that the substance would contain if the bottom of this meniscus coincided with the line marked on the surface.
  • In the case of having two numbers, the first one will mark the same function as the previous one, that is, the volume it occupies within the graduation scale and the second number what that substance is missing to reach the total capacity line.

Remember that the gauge line as we saw is the maximum capacity and has the best accuracy to measure, therefore, it is recommended to use it when you have to measure a graduated cylinder, which is closer to the desired amount.

After making the measurement, you can contain the substance until its use, take it to another instrument to process it and even place a lid to store or study its qualitative and quantitative properties in detail .

It is worth noting that, for the most part, you work with liquids, although you can also pour gases, of course, placing their respective lid so that they do not escape.

Uses of the Graduated Cylinder

The graduated cylinder is an instrument that is intended to be used mainly in laboratories, from the simplest, such as schools, to the latest technology.

Its applicability is broadened, as it allows checking the chemical analyzes performed on the samples, making quick measurements of liquid  and solid substances, and being a safe warehouse for storing a significant number of samples.

The beakers are in biology labs , chemistry, medicine, chemistry, radioactivity, bioanalysis and branches of pharmacology.

Thus allowing the manipulation of different substances to achieve the tasks in each of these important branches of research.

Knowing in detail the applicability of the graduated cylinder will be decisive to ensure its correct handling, as well as obtaining results tailored to specific needs.

Types of Graduated Specimen

The samples graded feature a wide variety whose models are summarized in functionality, quality material composing them . This is important when using one, as all these features will allow you to select the best model for a given task. The main types of graduated cylinder are:

  • Glass graduated cylinders

They were the test tubes made initially, precursors of all the others. Glass, as we know, is a material that has high resistance, its ability to withstand high temperatures, sterilization and better precision when measuring thanks to its resistance to heat.

  • Plastic graduated cylinders without cap

They can be made of special plastics such as polypropylene or polymethylpentane , they have a lower resistance than glass but they withstand various chemical substances and their design is light and compact, it only works for liquids as they do not have a lid to seal the samples.

  • Plastic graduated cylinders with lid

They can also be made with one of these two types of plastic, but the difference is that they have a lid that can be made from the same plastic or glass in that case, according to the characteristics of the substances to be used.

  • Polypropylene graduated cylinders

It is perhaps the most widely used plastic of graduated pipettes, because it resists a large amount of chemicals and does not break easily. The only disadvantage is that it does not withstand extreme temperatures.

  • Graduated polymethylpentane cylinders

The most outstanding characteristic of this material is that it is extremely clear and transparent which guarantees a better measurement in the graduation. In addition, it is extremely light, durable and can be subjected to sterilization processes.

  • Graduated cylinders Mac

It is a specialized test tube to carry out procedures with carbon dioxide , its base is made from one of the aforementioned plastics and has a lid to contain this gas.

  • Graduated cylinders Type A

They are the graduated cylinders that have the highest quality, as they are made of finer materials and with greater precision. They are used in specialized laboratories for chemical analysis.

  • Graduated cylinders Type B

These graduated cylinders have a lower quality, they are generally made of plastic, lowering costs. Its use is intended to measure without such precision and are normally seen in schools, practical laboratories , among others.

The graduated cylinder, being a fundamental piece in any laboratory, has been specialized in order to broaden its field of action within scientific research.

Characteristics of the Graduated Cylinder

The graduated cylinder has a series of particular characteristics that identify it as one of the most representative and simplest laboratory instruments of all. In addition, they allow you to clearly achieve your objectives, the following properties being the most prominent:

  • Cylindrical container that has a wide base and a spout on top that allows liquids to be poured in and out easily.
  • They have a graduation on the outside to determine the volume of a certain solution.
  • They are not so accurate to make measurements.
  • They can be made only in two materials glass and plastic.
  • The tube is completely transparent, to be able to make the measurement. The numbering begins with 0 ml, from the bottom and goes up in the graduation until reaching its maximum capacity.
  • Its base is closed and is sealed primarily by plastic, both for glass and graduated and the top is exposed with a spout.
  • There are different sizes of graduated cylinders ranging from 10 ml to 2000 ml, which is why they are said to measure large volumes.
  • Measurements are done quickly without complex procedures.

The characteristics that I mentioned will define graduated cylinders, regardless of their type, which is important when identifying them within a laboratory.

Importance of a Graduated Specimen

The importance of this instrument lies in its character as an auxiliary element for laboratory personnel, since it allows rapid measurements in processes in which fast action is required.

It also has great importance in different areas, in the case of medicine, it is vitally necessary because with it physiological samples are taken to be analyzed, in clinics and hospitals, they are used for maintenance and collection of fluids such as urine, feces, blood, synovial fluid, pus, among others.

They tend to be sealed with specific colored rubber stoppers by which the content of each sample is identified. Generally it is advisable to use test tubes of greater accuracy and precision such as glass test tubes, it is highly relevant to understand that when using this element the measurements are faster.

If you work in the medical field, you should know that glass tubes cannot be used with some sample acids, in those cases it is advisable to use plastic tubes. In laboratories their importance is great since they are used in analysis, experiments, behavior of substances, in quality tests and more. They are manufactured with a sophisticated design to make it easier to measure and contain or add a substance.

In the field of science, in the physical-chemical areas, which are purely experimental sciences, the laboratory test tube has been used for experimental procedures and test applications. That is why it is important to mention the scientific contribution that this laboratory instrument has, since it allows obtaining measurements in numerical terms.

Among its advantages, it is worth noting that this laboratory instrument does not allow its content to be spilled, it is manufactured with plastic or glass, any of its presentations does not allow reactions with substances that contain metals and due to the elegance in its transparency it can be observed with accuracy of the content you have.

In scientific research, there are different times when an instrument such as the test tube is necessary to perform volume measurements and obtain values ​​that are required for research and experimental processes, this facilitates the development of the researcher’s work.

But when you want to know the contribution of this beautiful instrument in the area of ​​chemistry, you can see that professionals in this field use the test tube to manipulate substances and perform analytical and qualitative experiments. In this case, glass is generally used since the vast majority of times it is necessary to heat the substances and this material withstands high temperatures.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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