We all know that light travels the fastest. At least it is what science tells us based on what we’ve discovered about the universe so far. But what most people fail to realise is that there is more to light travelling than meets the eye. For instance, when light travels through a liquid substance, it naturally refracts. The term also means it bends.
The process of refraction effectively slows down and changes the direction of light as it goes through a different medium. It is a natural phenomenon that anyone can use to measure the concentration of a liquid solution. The concept is that light refracts more when travelling through suspended solids. Sugars and salts best exemplify suspended solids.
The tool used for the measurement of an index of refraction is known as the refractometer. Likewise, the index of refraction can be measured for a liquid and assigned a value on the Brix scale.
The Brix Scale
When the light starts to bend while passing through a liquid, the refraction can be measured on the Brix scale, which is why the instrument may likewise be referred to as the brix meter. The resulting reading from a refractometer is assigned a value on the Brix scale. It allows for a convenient way to compare different concentrations in solution. Pure water with no suspended solids has a Brix value of zero, while water with sugars, minerals or other solids in solution refracts light to produce a higher Brix value.
Refractometers are convenient to use. You can buy them in two common varieties – the analogue and digital types. These handheld instruments are useful in many applications, especially for students, farmers, and even scientists conducting studies in the field.
The two variants function and operate via the concept of light moving slower in concentrated materials. The tendency of light to slow down will result in a change in direction and reading from the refractometer.
The first and most common variety of brix meter is the analogue refractor. The analogue refractometer requires no external power source to function. Getting a successful Brix reading for a solution means placing a few drops on top of a prism covered by a lid. You must hold the refractometer on eye level and in a perpendicular position to a source of light.
As soon as light refracts through the liquid, a Brix reading becomes possible, specifically, where the light and dark components meet on the scale. It is a trick that every expert must learn how to do to make successful measurements.
Digital refractometers can make a beam of light with the help of an LED., which means there is no need for daylight or another source of light. The moment the liquid is placed inside the receptacle, the light beams through and penetrates the sample. A computer will assign the resulting refraction a numeric value based on the Brix scale. A digital screen will subsequently display the final value.