Refractometry, Chemistry tutorial


In addition to absorption and emission, there are additional interaction phenomena that are useful for both identification and structural studies. Therefore, refraction is one of these important non-absorptive processes. When radiation passes from one medium to an additional, it is partially reflected and partially transmitted. The transmitted radiation continues its trait frequencies in the new medium, but both the velocity and direction of propagation might transform. This can be demonstrated through allowing a radiation to pass from air to glass medium. To clarify this behavior, a 'wave front' perpendicular to the direction of propagation of the ray is considered. Therefore if the ray strikes the surface of glass at an angle of incidence (φ), then one side of the wave front reaches the interface and enters the glass before the other. Therefore, while one side of the wave front is travelling in glass, the other side is still travelling in air.

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Refractometry is a technique that calculates the refractive index of a substance. The refractive index computes the angle at that a light ray will be bent whenever passing from one medium to another.

Basic Concept of Refraction

Refraction is the transform in the direction of propagation of light waves as they cross the interface between 2 media of differing densities. When a ray of light passes from air into a dense medium (these as liquid), it is bent or refracted towards the normal. The ratio of the sine of the angle of incidence to the sine of that of refraction is steady and features of that medium. This constant ratio (n) is termed the refractive index. The refractive index, n, for a liquid or an isotropic solid is described as the ratio of the phase velocity of light in vacuum to that in another medium.

N= Vair/Vmedium = sin φair / sin φmedium

Refractive index of a given material is practically determined via the employ of refractometer, which operates on the idea of the critical angle. This is the angle of incidence (φmedium) for that the angle of refraction (φair) is exactly 900. The determination of refractive index involves only the determination of the two angles. Such angles might be computed fairly precisely and therefore n might be computed through elevated degree of precision.

How to Calculate the Exact Refractive Index

The refractive index is a significant physical property of inorganic liquids. The refractive index for many organic liquids can be establishing in chemical reference books these as The Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. The literature values are positioned to the D line of sodium lamp (589.3 nm) at 200C. Therefore, a correction factor must be applied if the refractive index (nobs) is measured at temperatures, t, other than 200C. This correction factor is:

   N D20 = nobs + 0.00045(t-20)

Where nobs are the observed refractive index from the refractometer, n20D is the correct determined refractive index. Instance:

A student measures the refractive index of an organic liquid. The value obtained at 180C is 1.2821. What is the corrected refractive index?

 Using N D20 = nobs  +  0.00045(t-20)

     N D20 = 1.2821 = 0.00045 (18-20)

   = 1.2821 + (0.00045 x -2)

   = 1.2812

How to Operate a Refractometer

The subsequent procedures are utilized for determining the refractive index of a example through Abbe Refractometer:

1.  Make sure the sodium arc to see that it is operating correctly.

2.  Make sure the temperature reading through the thermometer connected to the prism housing.

3.  Rotate the illuminating prism downwards and away from us. Wipe both the prism surfaces gently through a fresh swab of cotton wool dampened by acetone.  When the prism surfaces are cleaned and dried, rotate the illuminating prism upwards and towards us to restore the closed situation.

4.  Introduce a few drops of the example into the access hole.

5.  Rotate the prism until the boundary between light and dark fields shows in the field of vision. Adjust if needed, the light source or the mirror to attain the best illumination.

6.  As well rotate if essential, the prisms to remove the colour fringe and sharpen the boundary.

7.  Make any needed fine adjustments to bring the boundary between light and dark fields into coincidence by the intersection of the cross-hairs. Then turn the lamp that illuminates the scale and note the value of the refractive index of the example.

8.  Clean the prism surfaces by a fresh swab of cotton wool moistened through acetone and close the prism whenever clean and dry.

Application: Refractometer is basically an analytical instrument utilized to find out the composition of binary blends or to find out the purity of compounds. Its most ordinary industrial application is in the food and confectionery industry where it is utilized for the determination of the concentration of sugar in syrup. In addition to such, refractometry can be employed to approximation molecular weights, molecular sizes and shapes, and to determine properties these as reflectivity and optical dispersion.

Measuring the Refractive Index of a Substance

The example of the unknown is attained and recorded consequently. Put about 4 drops of the liquid sample between the plates of the refractometer. Measure and record the refractive index of the liquid. Record the room temperature. If the temperature fluctuates from 200C, pertain a correction feature to the refractive index. Record the corrected refractive index. Then recognize the unknown liquid through comparing the refractive index by the standard. 

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