What Are the Common Types of Viscometers?

Viscometers or viscosimeters, are instruments that are employed for the means of measuring a fluid’s viscosity. Generally, the object will move through a stationary fluid, or a fluid will move through a stationary object so that a measurement can be made for the drag resulting from relative motion. Depending upon one’s needs, there are numerous types of viscometers, each of which features a different design and measurement method.

Orifice Viscometer

The orifice viscometer most often features a cup with a hole for fluid to flow, and viscosity may be found through the timing it takes for the cup to empty. Such instruments are fairly simple to operate manually, due to the fact that they only need to be dipped into the fluid.

Capillary Viscometer

Capillary or U-tube, viscometers are U-shaped glass tubes that feature two bulbs, one of which is placed above the other. Simple to use, fluids are passed from the higher bulb into the lower bulb with a capillary, and viscosity may be determined based on the amount of time it takes for the fluid to transfer. 

Rotational Viscometer

Rotational viscometers are a rotating spindle that may be inserted into the testing fluid, capable of measuring viscosity based on the amount of torque that it takes to turn the assembly. As such instruments do not rely on gravity for their functions, the measurements they make are based on the internal shear stress of the fluid itself. 

Falling Piston Viscometer

The falling piston viscometer differs from other types in its use of a piston and cylinder assembly. As the piston is lifted upwards, the fluid will be pulled through the clearance between the cylinder wall and piston, situating itself under the piston. Through gravity, the piston then drops onto the material, expelling it back through the same route that it previously traveled, causing a shearing effect. This makes it so that a measurement can be made, and a viscosity controller measures the time of fall.

Falling Ball Viscometer

Falling ball viscometers have operations similar to piston viscometers, albeit a ball is used in place of a piston. When dropping the ball into the fluid, a measurement is made based on the time it takes for the ball to move through the fluid through gravity. In such instruments, it is easier to determine viscosity as the dimensions of the ball are already known prior to the test. 

Vibrational Viscometer

Vibrational viscometers are another instrument that differ from conventional types in their measurement methods, featuring a powered vibrating rod. As fluids vary in their vibration resistance based on their viscosity, such values may be obtained by determining the time it takes for the vibration of the viscometer to degrade. As such instruments lack moving parts and values may be found through the measurement of vibration dampening with high sensitivity, vibrational viscometers are quite popular in use. 

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