Viscosity Basics: For Those of Us Who Aren't Scientists

Since I joined CSC Scientific in July 2013, I’ve been on a steep learning curve. You see, I’ve never been much of a science person. There was even one particular chemistry class in high school used to give me migraine headaches - routinely. 

Having no real background in the sciences means that I’ve had a lot to learn since I joined a company that sells scientific testing equipment. Maybe you’re nodding in sympathy with me right now. Many of our clients – that is, the people doing the purchasing on behalf of their company – are not scientists and don’t have a thorough knowledge of the scientific principles behind the products they’re told to buy... read more.

Can You Define Viscosity Without Feeling Thick?

Do an internet search for the term “viscosity”, and you’ll find a variety of definitions for the word. For example... read more.

How Can I Measure Viscosity?

How Can I Measure Viscosity? The answer, like most answers in the measurement world, is it depends. To find out what it depends on we'll start with defining viscosity... read more.

What is the Difference Between Dynamic and Kinematic Viscosity?

I’m always trying to find a simple vision of the material testing world. When I was assigned to our new Viscosity product line, I thought I’d found it. Then I was introduced to the concepts of the dynamic and kinematic factors of viscosity.

This is my attempt to bring clarity to these two principal ways to measure viscosity... read more.

Is Consistency Viscosity? Not Really!

We make the Bostwick Consistometer. The Bostwick is used extensively to measure the consistency of sauces and condiments. It has strong application in the quality control departments of ketchup and mustard producers. Results from a Bostwick Consistometer have been used for more than six decades to control the quality of many of the foods you use... read more.

Why Not A Bostwick Consistometer Calibration Standard?

Customers want Bostwick Consistometer Calibrations. When told that CSC Scientific does not calibrate Bostwick Consistometers, people ask . “Then how can I calibrate my consistometer and where can I get a calibration standard?”... read more.

How Do I Set Up A Bostwick Consistometer?

We get the same two questions almost every week about the CSC Bostwick Consistometer:

             1) What angle do I use to set it up?

             2) How do I level the Consistometer?

The principle of the CSC Bostwick Consistometer is based on the slump cone. In this procedure, a cone is filled with the material to be tested. It is then set on a level surface with the open area facing downward. The cone is pulled away and after a fixed time, the amount that the material slumped is measured.  The thicker the material, the less slumping occurs... read more.

Who Beats Up Your Bostwick?

Sometimes we encounter a product that is so simple and rugged that it would be tempting to deem it indestructible. Consider a stainless steel trough with a gate and etched numbers on the bottom. Seems simple and the stainless would make it tough, right? That is not the case, but it has survived nearly unchanged for more than 85 years... read more.

How To Fix An Abused Bostwick Consistometer

The value of a Bostwick Consistometer is that it’s easy to use, which makes it simple to do repeatable testing. The Consistometer is made of stainless steel. One would think that this means a long and useful life. However, as I regularly discover, the real world often defies theory... read more.

Surface Tension and Interfacial Tension

I was musing, the other day on the designs of two ring tensiometers. One of them is called an interfacial tensiometer and the other simply a tensiometer. The plain tensiometer works only with an upward pull and the interfacial works with both an upward pull as well as a downward push. Before I get to my question a couple of definition might be useful... read more

What are the Primary Conditions Affecting Surface Tension?

One of the ways to describe surface tension in fluids is: the property of a liquid’s surface that resists force. It serves as a barrier to foreign materials and holds the liquid together. This ever-present property is caused by unbalanced forces on surface molecules that pull toward the main part of the liquid... read more.

Surface Tension Measurement -- How High Is High Enough?

I am regularly startled by little things that trigger new understanding about our slice of the instrument World.  This time it is about surface tension.

As you know, if you’re involved with the phenomenon of surface tension, the most common unit of measure is the dyne/centimeter. This represents the force needed to overcome the energy that keeps the surface of a liquid from flying into the air... read more.

Which Type of Tensiometer Do I Need?

As followers of these rants know, Fisher Scientific stopped offering its Tensiomat Tensiometer about a year ago. As a tensiometer manufacturer, we at CSC Scientific were very interestedin this and have tried to let the world know that we might be able to help with things such as replacement rings, trade-ins and the like... read more.

Surface Tension by duNouy Rings or Wilhelmy Plates – Which to Choose?

When tempted to think I know all there is about surface tension measurement, further information brings me back to earth. I’m conversant with the principal applications: surfactant analysis, plating, detecting contaminants, development of ink and the like. I have assisted customers to set up and calibrate duNouy Ring tensiometers for most applications -- all the while taking for granted that the Ring technique was the method of choice -- with only infrequent questions arising about Wilhelmy Plate tensiometers... read more.

When Do I Need An Automatic Digital Tensiometer?

Automatic digital tensiometers are expensive - three to four times more so than a high-precision manual tensiometer. We hope to clearly depict when an automatic digital tensiometer is not merely nice to have, but essential... read more.

Why Calibrate a CSC DuNouy Tensiometer?

Within the catalog of questions we are asked is a category related to Calibrating duNouy Ring Tensiometers. The subject matter ranges from how, why and what is proven?... read more.

Is Calibrating a CSC Tensiometer Hard?

We get repeated queries about calibration of our DuNouy Ring Tensiometers. That makes me think that calibrating procedures to insure accurate surface tension measurment needs some clarification.

Our questions fall into the three general categories... read more.

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Having Trouble Performing a duNouy Ring Test in Thick Samples?

My musings were interrupted this week with a pressing challenge. It was stated like this: “My duNouy ring kept falling off the arm hook when attempting to immerse it into a high-viscosity sample.” This is the first time any of us at CSC Scientific recall being presented with such a dilemma. This client was using a single arm tensiometer to do surface tension measurements... read more.

Is My Test Equipment Lying?

Must we call in our outside certifier, send it to the manufacturer for calibration and/or run it on a known standard? What else can resolve this issue? Most of the solutions can take hours if not days to obtain. With a measure of analysis, equipment know-how -- and a bit of diplomacy -- the dilemma can be resolved on-the-spot... read more.


How Does Surface Tension Relate to Viscosity?

To begin with, liquid surface tension and viscosity share a common trait: they both involve properties of fluids. After that, things start to get murky.

Let us start with surface tension. This relates to the property of a liquid’s surface that resists force; it serves as a barrier to foreign materials as well as keeping the liquid together. This ever-present property is caused by unbalanced forces on surface molecules that pull toward the main part of the liquid... read more.

Viscosity, Consistency and Surface Tension - What Are These Things?

Nearly every day we have a question about differences between Viscosity, Consistency and Surface Tension. There is usually a second part of the question; 

“How do we correlate the measurements among these different properties?” 

The simple answer is that they are different, they are measured in different ways and the measurements cannot be correlated... read more.

How Are Consistency, Surface Tension and Viscosity Different?

I used to think that liquids were pretty simple things. Is that what you think too? Not so fast. Let’s take a look at three properties of liquids and see if we change our view.

Here at CSC, we work with Consistency, Surface Tension and Viscosity of liquids... read more.

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