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What does a graduated cylinder measure?

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Quick Answer

A graduated cylinder is a scientific measuring device most commonly used for measuring the volume of a liquid. It can also be used to measure displacement.

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Full Answer

Graduated cylinders are essential aspects of any good laboratory environment. Because of the graduated cylinder's narrow shape, the surface tension of liquid causes a meniscus to form at the top. A meniscus is a concave shape at the top of the water column.

When taking measurements, it is important to hold the graduated cylinder at eye level and record the measurement at the bottom of the meniscus. This process provides the most accurate measurement.

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