How to measure viscosity using Elcometer Dip Cups

When measuring the viscosity of a liquid, it is a common misconception that you are measuring how thick or thin a liquid is. What you are really measuring is the resistance a fluid has to flow.

You could be testing paint viscosity, to ensure it will work in a spray gun or stick properly to a substrate. Or testing oils at different temperatures to ensure they will perform properly in a vehicle. You could even be testing food items such as chocolate or sauces, to ensure they are the right consistency.

There are a number of ways to measure the viscosity of a liquid, one of which is dip cups.

A dip cup is a cup of a specified size and volume, with a hole of a defined size in the bottom. And they are available in a wide range of industry standard designs, and orifice diameters to suit different viscosities.

To test, you will require a dip cup, a stopwatch, a thermometer with a liquid probe, and a container of your sample liquid - ensuring there is enough of a sample to be able to submerge the dip cup entirely.

Well, if a preferred dip cup isn’t listed on the technical data sheet of the liquid you are testing, then typically you should select a cup that will give an estimated flow time of between 30 to 100 seconds. However this is dependent on the range of the dip cup you are testing with, or the test method or standard you are working to.

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