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Do you struggle to measure the solids in your gelatin glues accurately? One of the most efficient and accurate methods in manufacturing for checking brix solids in gelatin glue is to use a refractometer.

A refractometer is a simple handheld tool used to measure the percentage of solids. This device is beneficial for those that use protein, gelatin-based glues.

Why is Measuring the Solids in Gelatin Glue Important?


Measuring the solids of your glue will ensure that you have the correct glue to water ratio. Having the proper balance of glue to water is extremely important for using your glue efficiently for two significant reasons.


The glue mixture in the pot must always be consistent, so those working the equipment have the same outcome each time they run the line. 

Imagine if a new equipment operator accidentally added more glue than is called for. Not only would this run through your glue more quickly, but it can cause consistency issues in the final glued products. 

Using a refractometer will also help make sure your automatic viscometer remains in calibration.

Many machines have viscosity read-outs which are very helpful until they are no longer reliable due to age and use. The refractometer reading will let you know the relationship between your viscometer read-out and the actual solids.


Maybe your equipment is running dirty (pictured). Have you checked the glue solids yet?


Running the glue with too much or too little water can have a huge impact on how it runs on your equipment. Cleaning messy equipment can bring your manufacturing lines to a standstill - that's never a good thing. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that if your solids aren't right, the glue could begin to lose tack.

Having a refractometer on hand will help your manufacturing team keep your glue running as clean and efficiently as possible

How to Use a Refractometer

To use the refractometer, carefully collect a glue sample from the glue pot and apply the sample to the "screen" on the tool. Hold the refractometer into the light, and look into it—similar to a kaleidoscope.

The screen within the tool will show you the refracted brix solids of the glue. The recommended glue solids may change depending on the manufacturer. For most LD Davis Emmeci glue formulas, the recommended glue solids are around 50-52%. 

Having Issues Using Your Refractometer?

If your solid reading seems off, you are unsure about the proper ratio of your glue formulation, or you have questions about using a refractometer, we have additional resources available. We understand how important it is to ensure your glue production runs smoothly. If you have any questions, our team is here to help.

Download Calculator to Win a Refractometer!

To help you with your measurements, LD Davis has created a glue dilution calculator that produces the theoretical yield based on pounds, production brix, and sell price. 

Download the calculator before May 16th to be entered to win a free refractometer!

Download Now

Topics: Adhesive Tips & Tricks, protein adhesive, protein glue, protein glue tips