Colorimeter is a term that is formed with the noun colour (the sensation that light rays produce when impressing the organs of vision) and the suffix -subway (which refers to a measurement or a device used to measure).

Is named colorimeter yet Measuring instrument that is used in the field of colorimetry. The notion of colorimetry, meanwhile, refers to chemical analysis based on the measurement of intensity one color.

Color measurement

The colorimeter is a device that allows the measurement of color.

What is a colorimeter

Colorimeters are tools that make possible the identification of a color and a hue. What they do is develop an accurate and objective measurement.

To fulfill their function, colorimeters usually analyze three variables, known as tristimulus values ​​or coordinates. They have filters (blue, green and red) that are responsible for simulating the sensitivity of the eyes of the persons before the light rays.

The importance of absorbance

The operation of the colorimeter is based on the absorbance. This concept refers to how radiation is attenuated when passing through a substance.

The absorbance is expressed as a logarithm that reflects the link between the outgoing intensity and the incoming intensity. It is important to mention that the absorbance is proportional to the concentration of a substance.

The colorimeter, in this framework, is responsible for measuring the absorbance of a solution at a specific light frequency. For this, it has sensors that record how much light went through the solution and compares the incoming amount with the absorbed amount.

Colorimeter measurements offer numerical values. Thus, the errors that may occur if you work with the perception of the human eye.


Colorimeters are based on absorbance.

Uses of the colorimeter

The most common use of the colorimeter is to measure a certain color and make comparisons with others samples. From this work, multiple possibilities open up.

When you need to generate products that are identical, colorimeters are vital so that there are no color differences. These equipments also allow the production of parts that replace or combine with others that are the same.

The standardization of the formulas tinctures and the color control of plastics, printed materials, ceramics, tiles and other products are also functions that colorimeters fulfill.

Another use of the colorimeter is associated with the evaluation of the treatments of the Water. Many times these devices make it possible to know if the treated water complies with current regulations.

Differences with the spectrophotometer

As stated above, colorimeters analyze tristimulus coordinates. At this point it is interesting to point out the existence of measurement more exact, called spectrophotometers.

The spectrophotometer is used in the spectrophotometry, which is the procedure carried out to measure the level of light that a substance absorbs with respect to a certain wavelength. In other words, the spectrophotometer measures color across the entire spectrum, calculating the total reflectance of each length visible wave.

It can be said that the spectrophotometer is more versatile and accurate than the colorimeter. Therefore, if a analysis complex or deep color, the spectrophotometer is usually favored over the colorimeter.