Honey refractometer: varieties, how to calibrate and use

Honey refractometer: varieties, how to calibrate and use

The quality of honey affects the success of its sale. Quality depends on moisture and sugar content. The presence of one of the devices that beekeepers and receivers of products need to have - a refractometer for honey - will help them control its quality. Consider the principle of operation and device device, what are the varieties. How to choose the right device and set it up.

What is this?

This is a special device that optically determines the amount of moisture and sugar in honey, sugar syrup, molasses. Highlights the density of these liquids under any environmental conditions. The device can work with or without a power supply.

To correctly determine the mass fraction of moisture in the bee product, you need to calibrate the device.

Design and principle of operation

The device consists of several parts:

  1. Prism, which is an optical element (a drop of honey is applied to it). Made from a material that has a high refractive index.
  2. Protective glass. It is lowered onto a prism, the glass presses the test product.
  3. Calibration screw. The screw is on an inclined cut. It can be used to calibrate the device. The screw is turned with a small screwdriver, the dividing line is set at the required mark.
  4. Optical blue lenses. They refract light (natural or artificial).
  5. Bimetallic plate. It is built into the device to change its characteristics when the temperature fluctuates.
  6. Scale. There may be several of them in one device. When the beam hits the scale, one part will be illuminated with light, the other will remain dark.
The device works on the principle of refractometry. This is the determination of the quantity and structural analysis of substances, which are carried out to determine the angle of refraction of sunlight. The refractometer is very easy to use and can function without a battery.

According to GOST, the moisture content in honey should be in the range of 18.5-21%. This indicator is typical for a quality product. If this level is less than 18%, then the honey is too viscous. If the humidity is over 21%, then in such conditions yeast can develop in it, they will process sugar, which will reduce sugar content. Fermentation processes can also develop in wet honey. When this happens, the product may become unusable.

It is impossible to estimate how much moisture is in honey by eye, because this indicator is slightly different in different varieties of honey.

Types of refractometer

The device can be designed for laboratories, then it has a large weight and size. The industrial-type refractometer is built into technological installations, it works automatically.

Portable refractometer designed for personal use, compact, beekeepers buy it. It can be produced in two types: digital and manual. The former are equipped with LCD screens, operate on batteries, and can measure several product characteristics at once. Hand-held devices do not have electronic circuits, but they are cheaper, carry out fairly accurate analyzes.

Selection rules

There are many models of portable refractometers. They have different designs and features. When choosing, you should take into account the parameters of the chemical composition of honey, molasses, syrup. To test these products, the instrument must determine the moisture and sugar content. You also need to take into account the values of the Brix scale.For honey, they should be 87%, 45-82%, 58-92%.

Instructions for use

First you need to calibrate the device. Then take a sample of honey from a jar or from a honeycomb. If it crystallizes, then you must first heat it in a water bath to a temperature of 40 degrees, then cool it to room temperature and mix.

Open the protective glass and apply a thin layer of liquid honey (2-3 drops) on the prism, so that no bubbles remain. Close the glass again to create an even layer. Clean up spilled edges with a soft cloth.

Leave the refractometer for 30 seconds so that the temperature of the sample and the prism becomes the same. Do not change the position of the calibration screw. Now you can use it. Turn the device towards the light source - towards the lamp or the rays of the sun. You can see the result in a monocular, the humidity level will be marked by the border of light and dark on a white-blue scale.

The refractometer is calibrated in the same way, but pure distilled water is used instead of honey or syrup. When, after light hits the prism, part of it becomes light, the other dark, you need to set the screw so that the transition between the zones is at around 0 or 78.4%. Dry the prism with a dry soft cloth before use.

Optimal performance

On different scales, you need to set up the refractometer as follows:

  1. Indicators should be in the range of 12-27%. This is the moisture content of honey or other product.
  2. Brix (Brix). Determines the sugar content, it should be 58-90%. It is easy to determine the sugar content, if the obtained value is 80%, then 80 g of sugar is in 100 g of the product.
  3. Baume (Bome). Determines the density of the liquid. Distilled water has a density of 0Be (at 15 degrees), 15Be equals the density of a 15% saline solution.

For measurement accuracy, it is important that the temperature of the sample and the prism be equal. The device must not be wet, moisture drops inside and on the prism are unacceptable. After work, wipe the refractometer and prism with a dry cloth, do not use abrasive cleaning agents. Store only in a dry place.

A refractometer is a must for every beekeeper who wants to control the quality of their products. After all, it is better to buy and store high-quality honey that will not deteriorate due to high humidity.

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