MISCO Digital Handheld Refractometer

Refractometer for Antifreeze and Heat Transfer Fluids

Simplify Antifreeze and Heat Transfer Fluid Concentration Monitoring and Control.

No one has to tell you the importance of optimizing the properties of an antifreeze or heat transfer fluid to obtain the best performance. Too much concentration and you waste costly fluid; too little and things can freeze before you expect. A refractometer is the most accurate method for field testing the concentration or freezing point of antifreeze and heat transfer fluids: measure ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, glycerine, and more. We have a scale for the unit of measure you need.

Pre-Configured Refractometers

For easy ordering, here are a few units programmed with some of the most popular scale combinations for this application. If you require different programming, you can mix and match scales through the Flexible Custom Programming section below, or call customer service for assistance:

Flexible Custom Programming Options

MISCO Palm Abbe Digital Refractometers can be custom-programmed with up to 5 scales to your exact specifications. There are two easy online options to create your customized units from hundreds of measurement scales:

“Build Your Own” Tool

  1. Use the Industry, Application and Fluid filters to quickly find your scales.
  2. Click scale boxes to add scales to your device.
  3. Select Accessories
  4. Add To Cart

Order Refractometer by Scale#

  1. Browse the refractometer scale options in the dropdown tabs below and record the scale numbers you want.
  2. Type in your scale numbers on the Order by Scale# page.
  3. Select Accessories
  4. Add To Cart

Ethylene Glycol % v/v

Scale# 011
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Ethylene Glycol % w/w

Scale# 012
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Ethylene Glycol (D20/20)

Scale# 015
UoM: Specific Gravity (D 20/20)
Range: 1.0000 to 1.1153
Resolution: 0.0001
Precision: 0.0001

Ethylene Glycol (g/cm3)

Scale# 379
UoM: Density (g/cm3)
Range: 0.998 to 1.113
Resolution: 0.0001
Precision: 0.0002

Ethylene Glycol Boil °C

Scale# 381
UoM: Boiling Point °C
Range: 100 to 152
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Ethylene Glycol Boil °F

Scale# 380
UoM: Boiling Point °F
Range: 212 to 305
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Ethylene Glycol Freeze °C

Scale# 014
UoM: Freeze Point ºC
Range: 0 to -59
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Ethylene Glycol Freeze °F

Scale# 013
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: +32 to -79
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

PG Freeze °C (GEN)

Scale# 909
UoM: Freeze Point °C
Range: 0 to -51
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

PG Freeze °F (GEN)

Scale# 908
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: 32 to -60
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

Propylene Glycol % v/v

Scale# 006
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Propylene Glycol % w/w

Scale# 007
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Propylene Glycol % w/w (GEN)

Scale# 907
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Propylene Glycol (D20/20)

Scale# 010
UoM: Specific Gravity (D20/20)
Range: 1.0000 - 1.0460
Resolution: 0.0001
Precision: 0.0001

Propylene Glycol Freeze °C

Scale# 009
UoM: Freeze Point ºC
Range: 0 to -51
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Propylene Glycol Freeze °F

Scale# 008
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: +32 to -60
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

DowFrost (PG) % v/v

Scale# 239
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

DowFrost (PG) % w/w

Scale# 238
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

DowFrost (PG) (D25/25)

Scale# 409
UoM: Specific Gravity (D25/25)
Range: 1.000 to 1.054
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: 0.001

DowFrost (PG) Freeze ºC

Scale# 240
UoM: Freeze Point ºC
Range: 0 to -67
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

DowFrost (PG) Freeze ºF

Scale# 241
UoM: Freeze Point ºF
Range: +32 to -88
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

DowFrost HD (PG) % v/v

Scale# 247
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

DowFrost HD (PG) % w/w

Scale# 246
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

DowFrost HD (PG) Freeze ºC

Scale# 248
UoM: Freeze Point ºC
Range: 0 to -51
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

DowFrost HD (PG) Freeze ºF

Scale# 249
UoM: Freeze Point ºF
Range: +32 to -60
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

PG Freeze °C (GEN)

Scale# 909
UoM: Freeze Point °C
Range: 0 to -51
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

PG Freeze °F (GEN)

Scale# 908
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: 32 to -60
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

Propylene Glycol % v/v

Scale# 006
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Propylene Glycol % w/w

Scale# 007
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Propylene Glycol % w/w (GEN)

Scale# 907
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Propylene Glycol (D20/20)

Scale# 010
UoM: Specific Gravity (D20/20)
Range: 1.0000 - 1.0460
Resolution: 0.0001
Precision: 0.0001

Propylene Glycol (H2O %v/v)

Scale# 445
UoM: % water v/v
Range: 100 to 0
Resolution: 1
Precision: .1

Propylene Glycol Freeze °C

Scale# 009
UoM: Freeze Point ºC
Range: 0 to -51
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Propylene Glycol Freeze °F

Scale# 008
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: +32 to -60
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

Glycerine % v/v

Scale# 016
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Glycerine % w/w

Scale# 017
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Glycerine (D20/20)

Scale# 020
UoM: Specific Gravity (D 20/20)
Range: 1.000 to 1.2633
Resolution: 0.0001
Precision: 0.0002

Glycerine Freeze °C

Scale# 019
UoM: Freeze Point °C
Range: 0 to -43
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Glycerine Freeze °F

Scale# 018
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: +32 to -46
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

DEG Boil 760 mm Hg

Scale# 588
UoM: Boiling Point 760 mm Hg
Range: 100 to 180
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

Diethylene Glycol % v/v

Scale# 045
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Diethylene Glycol % w/w

Scale# 046
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Diethylene Glycol (D60/60 °F)

Scale# 049
UoM: Specific Gravity (D60/60)
Range: 1.0000 to 1.1184
Resolution: 0.0001
Precision: 0.0001

Diethylene Glycol (H20 % w/w)

Scale# 591
UoM: % Water w/w
Range: 100 to 0
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: .1

Diethylene Glycol Freeze °C

Scale# 048
UoM: Freeze Point °C
Range: 0 to -45
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Diethylene Glycol Freeze °F

Scale# 047
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: +32 to -49
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

DowFrost (PG) % v/v

Scale# 239
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

DowFrost (PG) % w/w

Scale# 238
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

DowFrost (PG) (D25/25)

Scale# 409
UoM: Specific Gravity (D25/25)
Range: 1.000 to 1.054
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: 0.001

DowFrost (PG) Freeze ºC

Scale# 240
UoM: Freeze Point ºC
Range: 0 to -67
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

DowFrost (PG) Freeze ºF

Scale# 241
UoM: Freeze Point ºF
Range: +32 to -88
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

DowFrost HD (PG) % v/v

Scale# 247
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

DowFrost HD (PG) % w/w

Scale# 246
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

DowFrost HD (PG) Freeze ºC

Scale# 248
UoM: Freeze Point ºC
Range: 0 to -51
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

DowFrost HD (PG) Freeze ºF

Scale# 249
UoM: Freeze Point ºF
Range: +32 to -60
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

DowTherm 4000 % v/v

Scale# 263
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

DowTherm 4000 % w/w

Scale# 262
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

DowTherm 4000 Boil °C 101 kPa

Scale# 268
UoM: Boiling Point °C @ 101 kPa
Range: 100 to 145
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

DowTherm 4000 Boil °F 760 mmHg

Scale# 269
UoM: Boiling Pt °F @ 760 mmHg
Range: 212 to 293
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

DowTherm 4000 Freeze ºC

Scale# 264
UoM: Freeze Point ºC
Range: 0 to -48
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

DowTherm 4000 Freeze ºF

Scale# 265
UoM: Freeze Point ºF
Range: +32 to -56
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

DowTherm SR1 - EG % v/v

Scale# 255
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

DowTherm SR1 - EG % w/w

Scale# 254
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

DowTherm SR1 - EG Freeze ºC

Scale# 256
UoM: Freeze Point ºC
Range: 0 to -50
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

DowTherm SR1 - EG Freeze ºF

Scale# 257
UoM: Freeze Point ºF
Range: +32 to -58
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

Ethylene Glycol % v/v

Scale# 011
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Ethylene Glycol % w/w

Scale# 012
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Ethylene Glycol (D20/20)

Scale# 015
UoM: Specific Gravity (D 20/20)
Range: 1.0000 to 1.1153
Resolution: 0.0001
Precision: 0.0001

Ethylene Glycol (g/cm3)

Scale# 379
UoM: Density (g/cm3)
Range: 0.998 to 1.113
Resolution: 0.0001
Precision: 0.0002

Ethylene Glycol (H2O % v/v)

Scale# 465
UoM: % Water v/v
Range: 100 to 0
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: .1

Ethylene Glycol Boil °C

Scale# 381
UoM: Boiling Point °C
Range: 100 to 152
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Ethylene Glycol Boil °F

Scale# 380
UoM: Boiling Point °F
Range: 212 to 305
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Ethylene Glycol Freeze °C

Scale# 014
UoM: Freeze Point ºC
Range: 0 to -59
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Ethylene Glycol Freeze °F

Scale# 013
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: +32 to -79
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

PG Freeze °C (GEN)

Scale# 909
UoM: Freeze Point °C
Range: 0 to -51
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

PG Freeze °F (GEN)

Scale# 908
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: 32 to -60
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

Propylene Glycol % v/v

Scale# 006
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Propylene Glycol % w/w

Scale# 007
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Propylene Glycol % w/w (GEN)

Scale# 907
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Propylene Glycol (D20/20)

Scale# 010
UoM: Specific Gravity (D20/20)
Range: 1.0000 - 1.0460
Resolution: 0.0001
Precision: 0.0001

Propylene Glycol (H2O %v/v)

Scale# 445
UoM: % water v/v
Range: 100 to 0
Resolution: 1
Precision: .1

Propylene Glycol Freeze °C

Scale# 009
UoM: Freeze Point ºC
Range: 0 to -51
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Propylene Glycol Freeze °F

Scale# 008
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: +32 to -60
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

Ethanol % v/v @ 60 °F <

Scale# 680
UoM: % v/v @ 60 °F <
Range: 0 to 77
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.2 / 0.2 / 1.0

Ethanol % v/v @ 60 °F >

Scale# 684
UoM: % v/v @ 60 °F >
Range: 94 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: .25

Ethanol % v/v 20°C <

Scale# 031
UoM: % v/v @ 20 °C <
Range: 0 to 76
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.2 / 0.2 / 1.0

Ethanol % v/v 20°C >

Scale# 036
UoM: % v/v @ 20 °C >
Range: 93 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.25

Ethanol % w/w <

Scale# 032
UoM: % w/w <
Range: 0 to 70
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.2 / 0.2 / 1.0

Ethanol % w/w >

Scale# 037
UoM: % w/w >
Range: 90 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.5

Ethanol (D20/20) <

Scale# 033
UoM: Specific Gravity (D20/20) <
Range: 1.000 to 0.869
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: 0.001

Ethanol (D20/20) >

Scale# 035
UoM: Specific Gravity (D20/20) >
Range: 0.820 to 0.790
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: 0.001

Ethanol (D60/60) <

Scale# 681
UoM: Specific Gravity (D60/60) <
Range: 1.000 to 0.871
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: .001

Ethanol (D60/60) °F >

Scale# 683
UoM: Specific Gravity (D60/60) >
Range: 0.794 to 0.820
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: .001

Ethanol Freeze °C

Scale# 030
UoM: Freeze Point °C
Range: 0 to -46
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Ethanol Freeze °F

Scale# 029
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: +32 to -51
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Ethanol g/cm3 >

Scale# 687
UoM: Density g/cm3 >
Range: 0.789 to 0.818
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: .001

Isopropyl % v/v

Scale# 041
UoM: % v/v
Range: 0 to 83
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.25 Avg.

Isopropyl % w/w

Scale# 042
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 80
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.25 Avg.

Isopropyl (D20/20)

Scale# 043
UoM: Specific Gravity (D 20/20)
Range: 1.0000 to 0.8431
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: 0.001 Avg.

Isopropyl Freeze °C

Scale# 040
UoM: Freeze Point °C
Range: 0 to -40
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Isopropyl Freeze °F

Scale# 039
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: +32 to -40
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Isopropyl Viscosity (cP)

Scale# 044
UoM: Viscosity
Range: 1.000 to 2.582
Resolution: 0.01
Precision: 0.01

Methanol % v/v <

Scale# 023
UoM: % v/v <
Range: 0 to 45
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.5 to 0.8

Methanol % v/v >

Scale# 027
UoM: % v/v >
Range: 84 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.5 to 0.2

Methanol % w/w <

Scale# 024
UoM: % w/w <
Range: 0 to 40
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.5 to 0.8

Methanol % w/w >

Scale# 028
UoM: % w/w >
Range: 80 to 100
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.4 to 0.2

Methanol (D20/20) <

Scale# 025
UoM: Specific Gravity (D20/20) <
Range: 1.000 to 0.935
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: 0.001 to 0.005

Methanol (D20/20) >

Scale# 026
UoM: Specific Gravity (D20/20) >
Range: 0.849 to 0.793
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: 0.001 to 0.005

Methanol Freeze °C

Scale# 022
UoM: Freeze Point °C
Range: 0 to -39
Resolution: 1
Precision: 0.5 to 1.7

Methanol Freeze °F

Scale# 021
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: +32 to -39
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1 to 3

Calcium Chloride Freeze °C

Scale# 083
UoM: Freeze Point °C
Range: 0 to -54
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Calcium Chloride Freeze °F

Scale# 082
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: +32 to -65
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Calcium Chloride g/100 grams

Scale# 085
UoM: g/100 grams
Range: 0 to 40
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Calcium Chloride % w/w

Scale# 080
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 40
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Calcium Chloride (D20/20)

Scale# 081
UoM: Specific Gravity (D20/20)
Range: 1.000 to 1.3957
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: 0.001

Calcium Chloride (ppt)

Scale# 084
UoM: Parts Per Thousands (ppt)
Range: 0 to 400
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 1

Magnesium Chloride % w/w

Scale# 086
UoM: % w/w
Range: 0 to 30
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Magnesium Chloride (D20/20)

Scale# 087
UoM: Specific Gravity (D20/20)
Range: 1.000 to 1.276
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: 0.001

Magnesium Chloride (ppt)

Scale# 090
UoM: Parts Per Thousands (ppt)
Range: 0 to 300
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 1

Magnesium Chloride Freeze °C

Scale# 089
UoM: Freeze Point °C
Range: 0 to -33
Resolution: 1
Precision: 1

Magnesium Chloride Freeze °F

Scale# 088
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: +32 to -27.4
Resolution: 1
Precision: 2

Magnesium Chloride g/100 grams

Scale# 091
UoM: g/100 grams
Range: 0 to 30g
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Sodium Chloride % Saturation

Scale# 168
UoM: % Saturation
Range: 0 to 100
Resolution: 1
Precision: 0.5

Sodium Chloride %w/w

Scale# 074
UoM: %w/w
Range: 0 to 26
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Sodium Chloride (D20/20)

Scale# 075
UoM: Specific Gravity (D20/20)
Range: 1.000 to 1.208
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: 0.001

Sodium Chloride (g/cm3)

Scale# 163
UoM: Density (g/cm3)
Range: 0.998 to 1.202
Resolution: 0.001
Precision: 0.001

Sodium Chloride (ppt)

Scale# 078
UoM: Parts Per Thousands (ppt)
Range: 0 to 26.4
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 1

Sodium Chloride Baume (20°C)

Scale# 702
UoM: Baume (20°C)
Range: 0 to 25
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: .1

Sodium Chloride Freeze °C

Scale# 077
UoM: Freeze Point °C
Range: 0 to -21
Resolution: 1
Precision: 0.5

Sodium Chloride Freeze °F

Scale# 076
UoM: Freeze Point °F
Range: 32 to -6
Resolution: 1
Precision: .5

Sodium Chloride g/100 grams

Scale# 079
UoM: g/100 grams
Range: 0 to 26.4
Resolution: 0.1
Precision: 0.1

Refractometer Platform Choices

Inline-Process Refractometer:

The above scales are also available on any MISCO inline process refractometer or concentration sensors. They are made for continuous concentration measurement of process fluids.

MISCO Handheld Digital Refractometer:

MISCO has the most extensive refractometer scale library on the planet. Don't see what you want? Browse by handheld refractometer model or by refractometer application. Or give us a call. We can help!

From our Q&A Forum

Antifreeze & Heat Transfer (3)

What are all the different salt scales used for? I need to measure salinity content but don’t know what scale I need.

Chemically, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. There are several varieties of salts containing chlorides, acetates, fluorides, and sulfates. The most common salt is sodium chloride (NaCl) or regular table salt. Although we have a refractometer scale that will measure most common salts, we also have an extensive list of scales for sodium chloride. You may select from scales for measuring sodium chloride concentration in percent by weight, specific gravity, freeze point, parts per thousand (ppt), g/100g, density, percent saturation, and even Baume. The most common units of measure are percent by weight, percent saturation, and freeze point. The scale that is correct for you depend on what unit of measure you are most interested in. Multiple salt scales can be programed into the MISCO Palm Abbe digital refractometer so you can just change between different units of measure as your needs change. MISCO also has scales available for the salinity of seawater.

Full question

We just purchased a MISCO digital salometer for measuring sodium chloride concentration. We have a process that needs to mix DI water with Sodium Chloride (NaCl) to 100% saturation. I am hoping that the meter I have bought is the correct version for this job?

The MISCO Digital Salometer is a refractometer that measures the percent saturation of sodium chloride (NaCl) salt in water. The refractometer will display the percent saturation of sodium chloride from 0 to 100% as well as display the freeze point of the solution in either Fahrenheit or Celsius (model dependent). A digital Salometer overcomes many of the problems associated with traditional analog Salometers. Traditional Salometers are cumbersome to use and time consuming. They are simply a glass or plastic hydrometer with a special scale that displays degrees SAL instead of specific gravity. In use, the traditional Salometer is floated in a graduated cylinder containing salt brine. The reading is taken at the point at which the surface of the fluid crosses the analog scale divisions; the temperature must then be read with a thermometer, followed by a manual temperature correction of the reading.

There is no method for field calibrating the apparatus; it is difficult to resolve the tiny scale divisions; it must be thoroughly cleaned and dried to prevent salt residue from influencing subsequent readings; and it is easily broken. The MISCO Digital Salometer is much easier to use and much more accurate. Simply place a couple of drops of sodium chloride solution on the measuring surface, close the evaporation cover, and press the button to initiate the readings. The percent saturation is displayed nearly instantly on the large LCD display.

Products

Sodium Chloride Salt Brine Refractometer Salometer,  Sodium Chloride Salt Brine , Percent Saturation , Freeze Point in °C

Sodium Chloride Salt Brine Refractometer Salometer,; Sodium Chloride Salt Brine,; Percent Saturation Freeze Point in °F

 

We have a pool with 18% salt (a mixture of NaCl, CaCl2 and MgCl2). Is there a digital device [refractometer] that can measure the % of salt in the water?

I have some concerns about your ability to measure percent salt in a multi-component mixture with a refractometer. You see, refractometers are very good at measuring binary (two-part) mixtures such as sodium chloride and water, where the refractive index value of water is a constant (static or known) and sodium chloride is the variable. However, when there are many different components in a solution, such as sodium chloride (NaCl), calcium chloride (CaCl2), and magnesium chloride (MgCl2), it is difficult to tell what the contribution is that each component makes to the total refractive index.

So, if the refractive index changes, it is impossible to say, with any certainty, which of the component parts has changed. Since a refractometer only measures the total refractive index of a solution and cannot selectively read the refractive index of one particular component. All water soluble fluids look the same to the refractometer. Therefore it will be impossible to get a reading that is meaningful.

The Palm Abbe refractometer does have scales for binary solutions of sodium chloride (NaCl), calcium chloride (CaCl2), and magnesium chloride (MgCl2), but cannot measure a mixture of all three.