Osmometers measure the osmotic strength of a sample. There are a variety of osmometers, including vapor pressure depression osmometers, membrane osmometers, and freezing point depression osmometers. Used in a variety of settings, clinical osmometers measure these levels by deploying one of two methods: vapor pressure depression (VPD) and colloid membranes. The osmolarity of blood and urine are important hallmarks of salt-to-water balance and renal function. A VPD osmometer detects concentrations of osmotically active substances of varying and typically low molecular weight in sample volumes ranging from 10-60 micro-liters. Osmometers conduct measurements in 90 seconds, with linearity approaching 1% under certain calibration conditions. Colloid membrane types are specifically used to measure colloid osmotic pressure (COP) of blood plasma and urine produced by molecules greater than 30,000 daltons. This is accomplished in 3-7 minutes, with sample volumes of up to 350 micro-liters; precision is ± 0.3%.
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