Is a serological pipette more accurate than a graduated cylinder?

Yes, a serological pipette is designed to provide more accurate volume measurements compared to a graduated cylinder, for a few reasons:

– Finer graduations – Serological pipettes usually have 0.01 mL increments, while graduated cylinders are often graded in 0.1 mL increments. The finer scale allows more precise readings.

– Narrow bore – The long, narrow pipette tip provides a compact liquid column that magnifies the meniscus for sharper volume measurement. Cylinders have wider diameters.

– Reading error – Cylinders must be viewed at eye level to reduce parallax error in reading the meniscus. Pipette graduations are directly in the line of sight.

– Design – The pipette shape gives a consistent liquid shape for improved accuracy and precision between measurements. The cylinder shape can distort the liquid column.

– Calibration – Glass serological pipettes are individually calibrated for accuracy. Cylinders may vary slightly between production batches.

– Reproducibility – The pipette design enables more reproducible measurements, with precision often ±0.02 mL or better. Cylinders tend to have ±0.1 mL or poorer reproducibility.

– Technique – The pipette filling technique is simpler than carefully filling a cylinder for maximum accuracy.

So in summary, the graduated scale, controlled filling, consistent liquid column, and calibrated precision of serological pipettes allow volume measurements with lower systematic and random error than graduated cylinders. For volumes under 1 mL, a serological pipette will provide superior accuracy.

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