How to minimize errors in the measurement of conductivity in the laboratory

February 1, 2023by Kalstein

In recent decades, water quality control has been the focus of governments and regulators focused on preserving the environment and human health. One of the most relevant parameters to determine the quality of a water body is the electrical conductivity, this property indicates the content of cations and unit anions in the water, and therefore the degree of concentration of certain elements such as sodium or iron.

Methods that can be used for the measurement of conductivity in the laboratory

It is possible to measure the conductivity in the laboratory using several methods, these can be the methods of relative conductivity (RC), methods of absolute conductivity (AC) and methods of concentration index (CI).

The CR and CA methods are calibrated with certified standards, while the IC methods are calibrated with calcium nitrate or distilled water.

Most laboratories use CR and CA in their conductivity measurement routine. While it is true that laboratory equipment is accompanied by manuals with recommendations, errors are often made in measuring conductivity that require time and money to be corrected.

Time must be controlled for effective measurement

Therefore, it is important to ensure that appropriate measures are implemented to minimize errors in the measurement of conductivity in the laboratory, a simple but effective measure to improve the accuracy of the results is to control the measurement time, which ensures that the same result is obtained every time.

Equipment manuals usually indicate the minimum and maximum measurement times for each probe. On the other hand, certified laboratory equipment usually includes a check signal to check the calibration.

Cleaning and time control recommendations for proper measurement

This signal refers to the specific gravity (CE) and the perceived temperature (TPS), and shows us the accuracy of the laboratory equipment, besides controlling the measurement time and verifying the calibration, there are several things that can be done to minimize errors in the measurement of conductivity.

It is important to remove all organic pollutants from the medium to be measured prior to measurement.

This will allow more accurate results, it is also advisable to clean the equipment daily with an appropriate solvent and avoid the use of corrosive cleaning solutions that can affect the calibration of the equipment.

Observation and maintenance of equipment for conductivity measurement in the laboratory

On the other hand, it must be ensured that calibration fluids are of constant quality and free of contaminants, this means that the calibration fluid must be stored correctly to preserve its quality and must be checked regularly for accuracy.

Periodic maintenance of the equipment is also essential to check the integrity of the sensors and to determine whether the equipment needs to be calibrated.

In conclusion, electrical conductivity measurement is an essential tool to determine the water quality of a water body; therefore, it is important to properly monitor laboratory equipment to minimize errors in the conductivity measurement.

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