Baumé scale

The Baumé scale is a pair of hydrometer scales developed by French pharmacist Antoine Baumé in 1768 to measure density of various liquids. The unit of the Baumé scale has been notated variously as degrees Baumé, , Bé° and simply Baumé (the accent is not always present). One scale measures the density of liquids heavier than water and the other, liquids lighter than water. The Baumé of distilled water would be 0.



At 20 °C (68 °F), the relationship between specific gravity (s.g.) (relative density) and degrees Baumé is:

  • For liquids more dense than water: s.g. = 145 ÷ (145 - degrees Baumé);
  • For liquids less dense than water: s.g. = 140 ÷ (degrees Baumé + 130).

An older version of the scale for liquids heavier than water, at a reference temperature of 15.5 °C (59.9 °F), uses 144.32 rather than 145.


Baumé degrees (heavy) originally represented the percent by mass of sodium chloride in water at 60 °F (16 °C). Baumé degrees (light) was calibrated with 0°Bé (light) being the density of 10% NaCl in water by mass and 10°Bé (light) set to the density of water.

Other scales

Because of vague instructions or errors in translation a large margin of error was introduced when the scale was adopted. The API gravity scale is a result of adapting to the subsequent errors from the Baumé scale. The Baumé scale is related to the Balling, Brix, Plato and 'specific gravity times 1000' scales.


Before standardisation on specific gravity around the time of World War II the Baumé scale was generally used in industrial chemistry and pharmacology for the measurement of density of liquids. Today the Baumé scale is still used in various industries such as brewing, sugar beet processing, ophthalmics, starch industry, and winemaking.

See also


Further reading

  • Boulton, Roger; Vernon Singleton, Linda Bisson, Ralph Kunkee (1996). Principles and Practices of Winemaking. Chapman & Hall.  ISBN 0-412-06411-1

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Baume scale — Baumé scale n either of two hydrometer scales that indicate specific gravity in arbitrarily defined but constant degrees: a) one for liquids lighter than water on which specific gravity S at 60°F (15.6°C) is related to the Baumé reading n in… …   Medical dictionary

  • baumé scale — noun Usage: usually capitalized B Etymology: after Antoine Baumé : either of two arbitrary hydrometer scales, one for liquids lighter than water and the other for liquids heavier than water, that indicate specific gravity in degrees, the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Baume Scale — n. hydrometer scale invented by Antoine Baume, scale for measuring the specific gravity of liquids …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Baumé scale — a scale for use with a hydrometer, calibrated in such manner that the specific gravity of a given liquid may be easily computed. [named after A. Baumé (1728 1804), French chemist] * * * …   Universalium

  • Baumé scale — noun The original scale used on the Baumé type of densimeter to quantify the density of liquids …   Wiktionary

  • Baumé scale — /ˈboʊmeɪ ˌskeɪl/ (say bohmay .skayl) noun 1. one of two hydrometer scales for measuring the density of liquids, one for liquids lighter than water, the other for liquids heavier than water. 2. Winemaking a measurement of the sugar content in… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Baume — or Baumé may refer to:*Baume les Dames, a commune in the Doubs department, France *Baume les Messieurs, formerly Baume les Moines, a commune in the Jura department, France *Baume Abbey, near Baume les Messieurs, France* Baumé scale * Antoine… …   Wikipedia

  • Baumé — Antoine, French chemist and pharmacist, 1728–1804. See Baumé scale. * * * Bau·mé also Bau·me or Beau·mé bō mā, bō (.)mā adj being, measured according to, or calibrated in accordance with a Baumé scale <a Baumé hydrometer> Bau·mé bō mā… …   Medical dictionary

  • baumé gravity — abbr. Be Gravity expressed on the Baumé scale for liquids lighter or heavier than water. The API gravity scale is now used for liquids by the petroleum industry instead of the Baumé scale …   Petroleum refining glossary

  • Baumé — a scale in degrees named for Antoine Baumé, used for measuring density in liquids, e.g. in brines used for preserving fish, 22ºBé equals 100% saturation. For liquids heavier than water, to convert from °Bé to specific gravity at 60°Fahrenheit,… …   Dictionary of ichthyology

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