An Electrical Conductivity Meter is one of the most widely used pieces of electronic equipment to be found in a laboratory. It is often referred to as an EC Meter or a Conductivity Meter. It is used to measure how a material conducts electric current.
How Does A Conductivity Meter Work?
A laboratory-type of Conductivity Meter consists of four Platinum electrodes which are usually arranged concentrically. A current is run through the outer pair of electrodes and a measurement is taken of the potential between the inner pair and the outer pair. To increase accuracy, a calibration is taken using electrolytes of well-known conductivity.
An industrial-type of Conductivity Meter is slightly different in that it generally uses an inductive method which means that the liquid does not wet the electrical parts of the sensor. This equipment consists of two inductively-coupled coils. One is known as the driving coil; it produces a magnetic field and is supplied with a known voltage. The other is a secondary coil.
It is important to note that as the conductivity of a solution depends on its temperature you should either use a temperature-compensated Conductivity Meter or calibrate the instrument at the same temperature as the solution you are testing.
Who Uses A Conductivity Meter?
A Conductivity Meter is used to monitor the amount of impurities, salts or nutrients particularly in processes such as hydroponics and aquaculture.
In hydroponics plants are grown without soil using only mineral-rich water and nutrients to sustain them. This system of farming has been adopted throughout the world particularly in regions which would otherwise be unsuitable for agriculture. Hydroponics has the advantage of giving a higher-yield crop which is easier to harvest without the use of pesticides.
Aquaculture is also known as Aquafarming and is a method of cultivating aquatic organisms such as crustaceans, aquatic plants and fish. Some common types of Aqualculture are:-
- Oyster farming
- Fish farming
- Shrimp farming
Conductivity Meters are also used in laboratories where they often incorporate pH meters so that the same piece of electronic equipment is able to check on a substance’s conductivity and pH level. These machines often incorporate automatic temperature compensation thus negating the requirement for thermometers or adjustments.