BYK - Gardner

The Importance of Viscosity

In a liquid, molecules have the ability to slide around each other – this is called flow.  The resistance to flow is a fluid’s viscosity, often thought of as “denseness” or “thickness”, it can be thought of as a measure of fluid thickness.  So for example, honey would have a higher viscosity than water; it is denser and so it will have a greater resistance to flow.  Knowing viscosity can help in a multitude of ways;

·        Knowledge of your product’s viscosity is essential when determining pourability, dipping and coating properties

·        Viscosity largely dictates the ease of operation in any production because it helps to determine a multitude of other data. 

·        Viscosity is essential in fields such as; multiple kinds of manufacturing processes, industry, and chemistry.

·        Viscosity tells you how a test material should be handled, kept, and disposed of. 

·        Viscosity is among the most measured liquid properties; this is because it has a sizeable influence on many heat transfer considerations and distillation computations.

·        A fluid’s viscosity is crucial in determining essential changes about a liquid such as color, density, stability, solids content, and molecular weight.

An easy way to measure viscosity is by use of a viscosity cup.  Viscosity cups are metal cups which have varying sizes of holes in the bottom of them to measure the viscosity of a variety of fluids.  The liquid to be measured is placed inside of the metal cup and flows from the cup at a rate that corresponds to its viscosity.  The only way to measure this in the field is by using a zahn type cup which has a long handle attached to the top of the cup, making it ideal for portable operation.  However, there are also many other types of viscosity cups which are more suitable for laboratory settings.

In all, measuring viscosity is a necessary part of any operation involving a liquid as it greatly aids finding out other essential production properties about that liquid.


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