What is EC? and How can you differentiate between EC and TDS?

tds and ec meter

What is EC? and How can you differentiate between EC and TDS?

Posted on the 11th of Jul 2023 by Westlab

Water is a universal solvent due to its potential to dissolve and absorb a number of molecules.And the number of dissolved substances in water is known as Total Dissolved Solid. The point to understand here is that the dissolved solids can be organic or inorganic. We can measure their electrical conductivity in the water with EC. Here the question arises - what is EC? 

What Is EC refer to?

The answer to ‘what is EC?’ is that it stands for "Electrical Conductivity” in laboratory terms. It is a measure of a material's ability to conduct an electric current.  

It is often used to assess the concentration of ions or dissolved substances in a solution or to evaluate the purity or quality of water. EC measurements are commonly conducted using a conductivity meter or probe to determine the electrical conductivity of a sample.

What is EC-Test?

This test, also known as an Electrical Conductivity test, is a measurement conducted to determine the ability of a solution to conduct an electric current. It is commonly used to assess the concentration of ions or dissolved substances in water or other liquids. 

The test involves using an EC meter or conductivity meter to measure the conductivity of the solution, which is then correlated to the concentration of conductive substances present. These tests are valuable in various fields, including agriculture, environmental science, and water quality assessment. You can visit West lab Canada to learn more about this test and get the equipment required for this test. 

What is an EC Meter?

TDS and EC meter both are important in checking water quality. An EC meter, also known as a conductivity meter, is a device used to measure the electrical conductivity of a solution. It quantifies the ability of the solution to conduct an electric current, which is influenced by the concentration of conductive ions present.

Conductivity is typically measured in microSiemens per centimeter (µS/cm), and typical readings range from 30 µS/cm to 2000 µS/cm. For instance, seawater has a conductivity reading of around 50,000 µS/cm. It is interesting to note that conductivity increases with higher water temperatures. Therefore, Electrical Conductivity (EC) is commonly recorded at a standardized temperature of 25°C, with temperature and EC measured simultaneously. Another unit of measurement for EC is milliSiemens per centimeter (mS/cm), where 1 mS/cm equals 1000 µS/cm. Higher levels of EC, such as 2000 µS/cm or more, are often displayed as mS/cm for convenience.

Characteristics of EC

There are numerous characteristics of Electrical Conductivity. However, few are mentioned here that make it different from TDS. 

Measure of Conductivity

EC measures the ability of a solution to conduct an electric current. It quantifies the conductivity of ions present in the solution.

Units of Measurement

EC is typically measured in units of Siemens per meter (S/m) or millisiemens per centimeter (mS/cm). These units represent the conductance of the solution.

Indication of Ionic Concentration

EC provides an indication of the concentration of conductive ions in the solution. Higher EC values indicate a higher concentration of ions, suggesting greater salinity or dissolved solids.

Temperature Sensitivity

EC is temperature-dependent, meaning its value can vary with temperature. Therefore, temperature compensation is often required for accurate measurements.

What is TDS (Total Dissolved Solids)? 

Another important question is what is TDS in your drinking water. Materials like salt, metals, minerals, and ions are dissolved in specific amounts of water, and this property is known as Total Dissolved Solids in water. Normally there are a number of solids that dissolve in water. These include calcium, magnesium, chloride, potassium, lead, iron and sulfates, etc. 

In addition, TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) is typically expressed in parts per million (ppm) but can also be measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L). Water of good quality typically has TDS levels ranging from 0 to 600 ppm, while readings exceeding 1200 ppm are generally deemed unsatisfactory.

TDS Meter

A TDS meter is a handheld device used to measure the total amount of dissolved solids in a liquid, typically water. It works by measuring the electrical conductivity of the water and then converting that measurement into an estimate of the total dissolved solids concentration. TDS meters are commonly used in applications such as water quality testing, aquarium maintenance, hydroponics, and beverage production to assess the overall mineral content or impurities in the water. In addition, you can also use water testing meters for checking the quality of water. 

Characteristics of TDS

Total Dissolved Solids have unique features as well. Here are a few of them. 

Measure of Total Dissolved Solids

TDS measures the total amount of dissolved solids in a solution, including organic and inorganic substances. It represents the overall concentration of dissolved solids.

Units of Measurement

TDS is typically measured in units of parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/L). These units reflect the mass of dissolved solids in the solution.

Estimation through Conductivity

TDS is estimated by measuring the electrical conductivity of the solution and converting it into TDS units using a calibration factor specific to the solution's composition.

Composition of Solids

TDS includes all dissolved substances, such as minerals, salts, metals, organic compounds, and other dissolved particles present in the solution.

Understanding these EC vs TDS characteristics helps in utilizing EC and TDS measurements appropriately for different applications, such as water quality analysis, agriculture, or industrial processes.

H2O Testing Meters

High-quality testing meters of water are essential not only for drinking purposes but also for various laboratory applications involving cleaning and chemical processes. It is important to ensure that water is pure, maintains the appropriate pH level, and is chemically balanced to achieve optimal results and ensure health and safety. 

Normally, labs offer a range of testing meters of water and equipment to verify and guarantee the suitability of the water you use. Rely on a comprehensive selection of lab supplies to meet all your testing, storage, and processing needs, ensuring the integrity of your water throughout its usage.

In lab work, all these instruments are equally important. In addition, it also saves time and gives accurate measurements. You can buy your desired equipment and its description via the website Canada. 

For instance, starting from what is ec to all testing meters, TDS, and ec meters, and their characteristics are mentioned on the official website of Westlab Canada


2023-07-11 12:57:00
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