Photo of two test tubes Volumetric equipment

The graduated cylinder


The graduated cylinder is a long and relatively narrow graduated container, with a flat and wide base to ensure its stability in a vertical position, and provided with a spout. A graduated cylinder is usually made of glass, but there are also plastic ones.

The graduations on a cylinder can be used but they are not precise (the area of the free surface being large). The level of accuracy depends on the size of the specimen (typically 5 mL to 2 L) and the detail of the graduations shown: it is usually indicated on the specimen.
It is important to choose a graduated cylinder with a volume similar to the volume of liquid to be measured, in order to have the best possible accuracy with this container.


A graduated cylinder is used to measure, with coarse precision, a given volume of solution. It does not measure a very precise volume.

Once the volume is measured, the solution is then transferred to a suitable container for carrying out chemical reactions, dosages or storage. Never store a liquid in a graduated cylinder.

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