Graduated cylinder

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A 50 mL graduated cylinder

A graduated cylinder, also called measuring cylinder or (rarer) mixing cylinder is a common piece of laboratory equipment used to measure the volume of a liquid.


Graduated cylinders consist of a cylinder made of glass or transparent plastic, with marked line indicating the volume. Graduated cylinders come in various volumes, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2000 ml. The bigger the cylinder is, the greater the volume error is. Graduated cylinders have a spout, similar to that of beakers. Like volumetric pipettes and flasks, graduated cylinders come in two main classes: A and B.

The most common type of graduated cylinder has a glass "foot", which is often a flat hexagon, though circular models are also available. Other graduated cylinders are simply a glass tube with marked lines and spout, while the foot is a separate item, usually made of plastic. A special type of graduated cylinder doesn't have spout, but rather a ground glass joint and a glass or plastic stopper. They are often used for measuring volatile solvents.


Graduated cylinders can be purchased from lab suppliers, or online. They are available in (borosilicate) glass and plastic (PE or PP) form.

Sometimes they can be found in various hardware stores, or pharmacies.


If you need the cylinders for preparing precise amounts of solutions, avoid drying the cylinder at high temperatures, like in autoclave or oven, as repeated heating will induce small deformation, which will affect the accuracy of the cylinder. This is a problem for small volume cylinders.

See also


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