Viscosity metrology

The viscosity of a liquid or gas says a good deal about its flow rate. As such, accurate measurements of viscosity are essential for the optimisation of production processes, for example. These are often complex measurements that require experience and expertise.



The viscosity, or ‘stickiness’, of liquids and gases is important in many respects. For example, paint should be neither too thick nor too thin, while lubricating oil has to function at the right temperature so as to prevent damage to the engine.And face cream needs to be spread easily without dripping. Viscosity is measured in many different manufacturing processes.

To optimise production processes and keep product rejection to a minimum, companies are increasingly performing continuous, real-time viscosity measurements on the production line. Combined with ever-increasing quality and safety demands, this makes for complex measurements.

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Sabine Snijder
Sales Engineer

VSL and viscosity

VSL provides viscosity reference materials and calibrations to clients including pharmaceutical, chemical, and manufacturing companies and accredited laboratories around the world.

The basis for all viscosity measurements is the internationally accepted viscosity of double-distilled water. VSL uses this water and increasingly viscous fluids to set the constants of its Ostwald viscometers, which it then uses to determine the viscosity of unknown fluids and reference materials. We perform these measurements in a thermostatic bath that can be set to different temperatures. VSL is the only Dutch institute that has ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation for viscosity from the Dutch Accreditation Council.


We support and advise manufacturers and end users with regard to questions, enabling them to improve measurement and inspection methods to optimise the quality of their processes and products.

Custom services

Custom viscocity metrology

Our in-depth knowledge of measurement and the interpretation of measurement data enables us to provide the following services:

    • Development and validation of measurement methods to measure specific components. This results in a report describing these methods and their validation methodology, including the determination of measurement uncertainty.
    • Advice for accreditations. To obtain an accreditation, a measurement system must meet various requirements. VSL verifies the measurement method and measurement data, optimises traceability and calculates the uncertainty budget.
    • Development and advice of measurement methods for enforcement of legislation by governments.

Every situation is unique. Do you need advice or would you like to know what we can do for you? Don’t hesitate to contact us.


Viscosity calibration services

Viscosity plays a major role in quality and process control in the food, paint, automotive, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and chemical industries. Viscosity meters are used to examine samples or perform trend analyses. To calibrate these meters, VSL uses reference materials. We are only the Dutch institute that has ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation for viscosity from the Dutch Accreditation Council.

Calibration of viscosity meters

Measuring equipment needs to be calibrated regularly to ensure correct measurements and continued product quality. VSL provides various certified reference materials (CRMs) for this calibration. Viscometers calibrated on the basis of these CRMs are directly traceable to the highest standards. We can also calibrate the viscosity and density of liquid samples.

Our areas of expertise