Q:

How do you measure conductivity in water?

A:

Quick Answer

Researchers determine the conductivity of water using the 2-AC bipolar method, which measures the electrical current that runs between a pair of electrodes immersed in a water sample. Conductivity is the ability of an aqueous solution to carry an electrical current.

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Full Answer

The bipolar method uses a probe and meter for the measurement. The researcher applies voltage between two electrodes in a probe immersed in water. The meter measures the decrease in current due to the water’s resistance and calculates the conductivity per centimeter. It converts the measurements to micromhos per centimeter or microsiemens per centimeter.

Dissolved solids affect conductivity in that a high conductivity measurement indicates high concentrations of dissolved solids. Distilled water, or pure water, has a low conductivity; whereas, seawater has a high conductivity.

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