Generally, all laboratories widely use the graduated cylinder. In addition to it, people call it a measuring cylinder and mixing cylinder because it helps in measuring the quantity of the liquids and chemical mixing. It is a long narrow vessel with measuring marks on it. Polypropylene or polymethylpentene makes the graduated cylinders resistant to the corrosive chemicals and makes the equipment transparent if used.

How to Read a Graduated Cylinder with Sig Figs?

The significant figures in a graduated cylinder can be read in the following ways:

  • It is important to note meniscus. The meniscus is the curved liquid surface. Generally, we read the volume by reading the bottom of the meniscus.
  • Since the smallest division is 1ml, therefore, the reading error will be +0.1ml or-0.1 ml. Hence, whatever the reading will be, its error will be 1/10th of it.

How do You Find the Volume of a Liquid in a Graduated Cylinder?

It is a graduated measure of the volume of a liquid. To be able to effectively read the volume measurement of the liquid, we must follow the next steps:

  • Place the graduated cylinder on a flat surface and match the height of the liquid column directly with the level of your eye.
  • Generally, due to the superficial tension property of the liquid, this will tend to curve downward called the meniscus.
  • Hence, read the volume value at the bottom of the meniscus.

Graduated Cylinder Sizes

Laboratory glassware 3d realistic vector set isolated on white background. Graduated lab tube, beaker and flask filled different colors liquids illustration. Equipment for chemical test collection

The various sizes for graduate cylinder are as follows:

  • The size ranges from as small as 10ml to 2 liters.
  • The graduate cylinder is usually made from an acid-resistant glass material or Polypropylene or polymethyl pentene.
  • A glass graduated cylinder forms a meniscus. A plastic glass graduated cylinder does not form a meniscus hence, the liquid level is flat.

How to Find the Volume of Water in a Graduated Cylinder?

The steps are as follows,

  • Take a clean and properly marked graduate cylinder. Take water in a graduated cylinder to a certain level.
  • There is a curved water surface in a glass graduated cylinder. Superficial tension liquid property helps in the curved surface.
  • Put your eye level with the water level in the glass graduated Hence, the reading should be just below the curved surface.
  • In the case of a plastic graduated cylinder, the meniscus does not form. Hence, reading is easier.

1. 25ml Graduated Cylinder Increments

The various sized graduate cylinders have many increments. For example:

  • A 10ml glass and plastic graduated cylinder has 0.1 ml increments.
  • A 50ml glass and plastic graduated cylinder has 0.5 ml increments.
  • A 500 ml glass and plastic graduate cylinder have 5 ml increments.
  • A 1000 ml glass and plastic graduated cylinder has 10 ml increments.
  • A 2000 ml glass and plastic graduated cylinder has 20 ml increments.

2. Meniscus Graduated Cylinder

  • Generally, reading a scale on a container with meniscus is difficult. Always put the graduated cylinders on an even level surface for reading.
  • Measure the line you are reading when the meniscus is even. The liquid bottom is the measurement for all the liquids.
  • Get eye level with the meniscus and bent down if required to get the accurate reading.

3. Common Uses of Graduated Cylinder

The graduate cylinders are used as follows,

  • It is mostly used for measuring the volume of a liquid.
  • Generally, graduate cylinders gave better reading but the volumetric analysis should not be performed.
  • Besides liquid volumes, graduated cylinders also measure solids volumes by measuring the liquid displacement.

4. The Shape of a Graduated Cylinder

  • Usually, a graduated cylinder is narrow and tall. Besides, it increases the reading precision and accuracy.
  • Generally, it measures volume, mixes liquids, etc. It stands on a plastic or glass base.
  • Normally, it has a spout for easy pouring. Mixing cylinders have ground glass joints. A stopper closes the opening.


  • A graduated cylinder measures liquid volumes.
  • The reading should be done at eye level. To get the accurate reading, you can bend down if required.
  • The reading error is 1/10th liquid volume.
  • Generally, meniscus occurs only in a glass graduated cylinder.
  • Take the reading from the center of the meniscus.
  • Generally, the meniscus does not occur in plastic made graduated cylinder.
  • Moreover, the graduate cylinders are available from 1 ml to 2000ml with 1/10th.

How do you read mL on a graduated cylinder?

The graduated cylinder will usually have heavy markings at 10, 20, 30, etc. milliliters. There are smaller markings in between the larger units called graduations. Read the graduated cylinder to the nearest tenth of a milliliter (46.5 mL or 20.0 mL).

What is the most accurate way to read a graduated cylinder?

The liquid is always curved downward in the graduated cylinder and this curve is called meniscus. The reading always considered at the bottom of the meniscus, it is the correct way to take a reading.

What are the two main things to remember when reading a graduated cylinder?

To correctly read a graduated cylinder, the surface at the center of the meniscus must be read, not the top of the ring of liquid clinging to the wall of the graduated cylinder. For most liquids, this “center” will be the lowest point of the meniscus.

What does a graduated cylinder measure *?

A graduated cylinder, also known as measuring cylinder or mixing cylinder is a common piece of laboratory equipment used to measure the volume of a liquid. It has a narrow cylindrical shape. Each marked line on the graduated cylinder represents the amount of liquid that has been measured.

Why graduated cylinder is accurate?

Why is a graduated cylinder more accurate than a beaker? The accuracy of a graduated cylinder is higher because the graduations on the cylinder make it easier to more precisely fill, pour, measure, and read the amount of liquid contained within.

When would you use a graduated cylinder?

The graduated cylinder is used for measuring volumes (amounts) of liquids. This piece of equipment is used routinely, although it is only moderately accurate compared to other tools, such as volumetric flasks. Volumetric flasks are used when absolute precision (accuracy) is needed.

How accurate are graduated cylinders?

The general rule of thumb is: you can estimate one more digit past the smallest division on the measuring device. If you look at a 10mL graduated cylinder, for example, the smallest graduation is tenth of a milliliter (0.1mL). That means when you read the volume, you can estimate to the hundredths place (0.01mL).

What is more accurate a balance or graduated cylinder?

Well, graduated cylinders have more markings, and are thus designed to be more accurate Examine this graduated cylinder. It has markings every 1 mL , so you can make measurements to the 1st decimal place as the uncertain digit. Hence, it is reasonable to assume you have measured, say, 52.5 mL .

How does a graduated cylinder work?

What can I use instead of a graduated cylinder?

The best replacement for graduated cylinder is beaker.

How do you read a 10mL graduated cylinder?

If you look at a 10mL graduated cylinder, for example, the smallest graduation is tenth of a milliliter (0.1mL). That means when you read the volume, you can estimate to the hundredths place (0.01mL). Use the bottom of the meniscus to determine the volume in the 10mL graduated cylinder.

How do you read a 50ml graduated cylinder?

How do you read a graduated cylinder in 100?

What is the difference between a burette and a graduated cylinder?

A buret is a device used to deliver controlled more precise amounts of a liquid than a graduated cylinder. Burets are commonly constructed of a long tube of glass calibrated and marked in units of mL. As with the graduated cylinder, the buret volumes are read at the bottom of the meniscus (See Figure 2.).

What are the sizes of graduated cylinders?

Graduated Cylinders are designed from ASTM E 1272, Style 1, Class B standards. Glass graduated cylinders are available in three sizes, 500ml 1000ml, and 2000ml, in 5ml, 10ml and 20ml increments. Glass cylinders have white scales and are made from Borosilicate glass. They also have a solid base, and pour spout.

What is the largest graduated cylinder?

Pudge is modeling a rather large graduated cylinder here. This 10″ OD CAB Butyrate tube is welded to a butyrate base. It will be used to not only measure various liquids but to monitor pressure ratings for water-tight components.

What is the smallest graduated cylinder?

This is called the meniscus. This phenomenon is caused by the fact that water molecules are more attracted to glass than to each other (adhesive forces are stronger than cohesive forces). When we read the volume, we read it at the BOTTOM of the meniscus. The smallest division of this graduated cylinder is 1 mL.

How tall is a 10mL graduated cylinder?

1 to 10mL Glass Graduated Cylinder, Clear, Height: 140 mm / 5.5 in, 12 PK.