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This experiment consisted of measuring the turbidities of a variety of samples using the
nephelometer .These recorded turbidities were then analyzed and a reasonable explanation
for each value is made.

Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by large numbers of
individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to
smoke in air. The measurement of turbidity is a key test of water quality.
Turbidity is a measurement of how cloudy water appears. Technically, it is a
measure of how much light passes
through water, and it is caused by suspended solid particles that scatter
light. These particles may be microscopic plankton, stirred up sediment or
organic materials, eroded soil, clay, silt, sand, industrial waste, or sewage.
Bottom sediment may be stirred up by such actions as waves or currents,
bottom-feeding fish, people swimming, or wading, or storm runoff.
Clear water may appear cleaner than turbid water, but it is not necessarily
healthier. Water may be clear because it
has too little dissolved oxygen, too much acidity or too many contaminants
to support aquatic life. Water that is turbid
from plankton has both the food and oxygen to support fish and plant life.
However, high turbidity may be a symptom of
other water quality problems.

The method is based upon a comparison of the intensity of light

scattered by
the sample under defined conditions with the intensity of light
scattered by a
standard reference suspension. The higher the intensity of scattered
light, the
higher the turbidity. Readings, in NTU's, are made in a nephelometer
designed according tocertain specifications. A primary
standard suspension is used to calibrate the instrument.
Formazin polymer is used as a primary turbidity suspension for water
because it is more reproducible than other types of standards

previously used for turbidity analysis.


The turbidimeter shall consist of a nephelometer, with light source
illuminating the sample, and one or more photo-electric detectors
with a
readout device to indicate the intensity of light scattered at right
angles to the
path of the incident light. The turbidimeter should be designed so
that little
stray light reaches the detector in the absence of turbidity and
should be free
from significant drift after a short warm-up period.

Experimental procedures
A. Jackson Turbidimeter
1. Place a clean Jackson turbidimeter tube in the receptacle on the stand.
Place a
candle in the device and insure that the spring in the candle holder is
and keeping the top of the candle at a distance of 7.6 cm below the bottom
of the
tube. If the water is relatively clean use the longer tube, otherwise use the
2. Add a small amount of well-mixed sample to the tube and light the candle.
sure to add a small amount of sample BEFORE lighting the candle to prevent
cracking the tube.
3. Add well-mixed sample to the tube until the light field becomes uniform.
Note the
reading from the side of the calibrated tube.

4. Empty the tube. Extinguish the flame. Mix the sample again, add a few mL
to the
tube and light the candle. Then add of the volume of sample added in Step
Then add sample slowly until a uniform light field is observed. Record the
B. Nephelometer
1. Select a standard that compares with the turbidity of the sample. Turn on
the unit
and select the range corresponding to the standard. Insert the standard and
replace the cover. Adjust the calibration knob to provide the correct reading
the meter. Remove the standard.
2. Fill the sample tube about full of well-mixed sample and wipe the
outside of the
tube with Kimwipes if any spillage occurred. Insert the tube and replace the
cover. If the reading is offscale, switch the range of the meter until the
reading is
on scale. Record the reading and report it as NTU.
3. If the sample reading is significantly outside of the range in which the
meter was
calibrated, repeat the exercise calibrating with a standard in the appropriate

The following data was collected during this experiment:


Drinking water


Distilled water





Error(too high)

Sugar dissolved In water

55(should be between 0-1)

Sand + water


Soil + water


Silt + water



A direct measurement of suspended solids is not usually performed on
samples from natural bodies of water or on potable water supplies. The
nature of the solids in these waters and the secondary effects they produce
are more important than the actual quantity. For such waters a test for
turbidity is commonly used.

Sand and water mixture gave less turbidity than that of silt and water which
is logical. Silt is a much smaller particle than sand and thus more surface
area for pollutants to settle exist leading to higher turbidity. On the other
hand, comparing coarse soil and fine sand we see that coarse soil and water
had a higher turbidity of 149, this result seems illogical because coarse soil
has a larger grain size than the fine sand, yet this result may be due to the
fact that coarse particles have more bumps and irregularities resulting in a
larger surface area. As for distilled and drinking water, the results obtained
are also logical and acceptable. Calcium carbonate gave an error implying
that the sample has a very high turbidity that cannot be measured using the
Nephelometer .To find the turbidity of this sample we should dilute it by a
known ratio, measure the turbidity of the diluted sample and deduce the
originals turbidity.On the other hand, the cold coffee sample gave a turbidity
of 78NTU which is larger than that of water . When Coffee cools, its
solubility decreases and the coffee precipitates out to become a suspension,
and then cause that turbidity we found.
From our experiment we conclude that absorption and scattering and thus
turbidity are influenced by both size and surface characteristics of the
suspended material, and that turbidity is not a direct quantitative
measurement of suspended solids .For example a small pebble in a glass of

water would produce virtually no turbidity .If this pebble were crushed into a
thousand particles of colloidal size,a measurable turbidity would result even
though the mass of solids is still the same.

1.decribed above
2.Suspended solids absorb light and scatter it leading to a decrease in light
intensity and thus the turbidity reading is deacreased.Secondly, Turbidity is
not color related, but relates rather to the loss of transparency due to the
effect of suspended particulate, colloidal material, or both. A lack of turbidity
results in clarity or clearness because it is, in part, the effect of these
various suspended materials on light passing through a liquid.The presence
of bubbles on the other hand will affect turbidity by scattering light.
3.all three devices rely on the principle of Tyndall or light scattering by
colloidal and suspended particles .However these devices differ greatly in
their accuracy, where the Jackson turbidity meter is less accurate than the
nephelometer because it relies on naked eye sight and no measurable data.

This experiment is prone to many errors of which we list:

-Existence of fingerprints and other microorganisms on the external vial
walls leading to a fluctuation in the turbidity values.
-Air bubbles inside the sample that can be only extracted through de-airing.
-The coffee and sugar samples are cold thus solubility is reduced and some
particles will settle leading to increased turbidity.

-Environmental engineering Peavey Row