Introduction to turbidity meters

Turbidity meter

Turbidity meters are instruments used to measure the turbidity, or cloudiness, of a liquid. Turbidity is a measure of the amount of suspended particles in a liquid, and can be caused by a variety of factors such as sediment, algae, bacteria, or other dissolved or suspended materials.

If you want to have a better understanding of what turbidity is then follow this link to read our 5 minute post on what turbidity is.

How they work

Turbidity meters typically use a light source, such as a LED, and a sensor to measure the amount of light that is scattered or absorbed by the suspended particles in the liquid. The scattered light is then converted into a turbidity measurement, typically in units such as NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Units) or FTU (Formazin Turbidity Units). A full description of the units can be found here.

When you measure a distance the unit of measure is a meter, a mile, a kilometer, etc and you use a ruler, tape measure, etc to measure that distance. Turbidity is simply the unit of measure of how cloudy/murky a liquid looks and a turbidity meter is simply what we use to measure it.

Where are they used

Turbidity meters are useful for a variety of applications, such as monitoring water quality in rivers, lakes, and oceans, as well as in industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plants. They are also used in the food and beverage industry to ensure that products meet certain turbidity standards.

The measurement of turbidity is important as it can indicate the presence of pollutants, bacteria, or other contaminants in a body of water and can also indicate the efficiency of a water treatment process. It’s a useful measure because many things can cause turbidity and so many events can be picked up to then be followed up with other more specific measurements such as pH, colour, conductivity, etc.


20th February 2023
Tom McNamara


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