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Graduated Cylinders & Beakers

Fast Fluid Volume Results Using Graduated Cylinders and Beakers


Laboratories feature equipment of all types. Among the most common types of containers are graduated cylinders and beakers. Both provide essential services to lab technicians and researchers. Each has a specific and easily identified shape with the graduated cylinder being easily identifiable.

A graduated cylinder is narrow and cylindrical. Along the side of the cylinder are markings. Each indicates a specific amount of fluid. The cylinders are available in different sizes, complete with the appropriate demarcations. Among the readily available types of graduated cylinders are those marked with the following volume capacities from 5 milliliters to 1,000 milliliters.


The most common materials for constructing these pieces of equipment are:  


  1. Borosilicate glass - a combination of silica and boron trioxide with other materials to create a durable
  2. Polypropylene - a thermoplastic polymer


The selection of these materials reflects the need for the devices to withstand the harsh effects of corrosive substances and high temperatures.


Function of the Graduated Cylinder


A graduated cylinder is capable of providing scientists and lab technicians with the capability of performing two basic tasks.


  1. Volume: For quickly measuring the volume of a liquid substance, lab technicians rely on a graduated cylinder. It can quickly provide the right volume of a fluid.
  2. Displacement: A lab technician can also utilize a graduated cylinder to determine displacement – measuring the volume of a solid substance in this indirect fashion by observing the amount of fluid it displaces.


Are there Limitations of Graduated Cylinders?


While graduated cylinders are an excellent tool in a laboratory setting, they do have limitations. A routine component of any lab, while they are more accurate than beakers, they lack the preciseness of volumetric flasks. Use a graduated cylinder when appropriate but recognize its shortcomings along with its benefits.


Graduates Lab Beakers: Pour Like a Pro


Graduated beakers are generally used for stirring and mixing substances in a lab.  Beakers can also be used for heating liquids in scientific lab applications. Beakers are designed with larger openings and lips to make pouring easier.  These beakers are made of the same common materials as their graduated cylinder lab counterparts.

Both pieces of equipment are a major staple in any lab.  Constructed in a wide variety of materials and sizes, you are certain to find the perfect combination for your lab.