What Is Spherometer?

Are you curious to know what is spherometer? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about spherometer in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is spherometer?

In the world of scientific instruments, there are tools that are hidden gems, quietly performing intricate tasks that contribute to our understanding of the universe. One such tool is the spherometer. While its name might not be as familiar as a microscope or a telescope, the spherometer plays a crucial role in precision measurement, particularly in the realms of optics and engineering. Let’s delve into what a spherometer is, how it works, and why it’s an essential tool for various fields.

What Is Spherometer?

A spherometer is a measuring instrument designed to determine the curvature or radius of curvature of curved surfaces, particularly those that are spherical or cylindrical in shape. Its primary application is in the field of optics, where it’s used to measure the curvature of lenses and mirrors, ensuring their accuracy and quality. However, its utility extends beyond optics; it’s also employed in fields like metrology, engineering, and even archaeology.

Components And Design:

A typical spherometer consists of the following components:

  1. Base: The base is a flat, sturdy platform on which the spherometer rests. It provides stability during measurements.
  2. Three Legs: Extending from the base are three adjustable legs, often equipped with screw mechanisms. These legs serve as supports and help level the spherometer on the surface being measured.
  3. Central Stem or Screw: Rising from the center of the base is a central stem or screw. This screw is used to apply pressure to the object being measured.
  4. Micrometer Screw: Attached to the central stem is a micrometer screw, which is used to measure the height difference between the object’s center and its periphery.

Working Principle:

The spherometer operates on a relatively simple principle. To measure the curvature of a surface, the following steps are typically followed:

  1. Leveling: The spherometer is placed on the surface being measured, and the three legs are adjusted to ensure that the instrument is level.
  2. Contact: The central stem is gently lowered until the measuring tip of the micrometer screw touches the central point of the surface.
  3. Pressure Application: Gradually, pressure is applied by turning the central stem. As the pressure increases, the micrometer screw moves downwards, and the measurement is recorded.
  4. Measurement: The micrometer screw’s measurement indicates the height difference between the center of the surface and its periphery. This value is used to calculate the radius of curvature or the curvature itself, depending on the specific formula used for the type of surface being measured.


The applications of the spherometer are diverse and significant:

  1. Optics: In the field of optics, the spherometer is used to assess the quality of lenses and mirrors by measuring their curvatures. Accurate curvature is essential for focusing light and producing clear images.
  2. Engineering: Spherometers play a role in engineering, where they help measure the curvature of various components and surfaces, ensuring proper fit and function.
  3. Archaeology: In archaeology, spherometers are used to measure the curvature of pottery fragments and other artifacts, aiding in the study of ancient craftsmanship techniques.
  4. Metrology: Spherometers are crucial in metrology (the science of measurement) for calibrating and checking the accuracy of other measuring instruments.


While the spherometer might not be as widely recognized as some other scientific instruments, its impact on precision measurement cannot be understated. From shaping the quality of lenses to aiding in the restoration of ancient artifacts, this unassuming tool plays a vital role across various domains. The spherometer serves as a testament to the ingenuity of scientific instrument design, demonstrating how a seemingly straightforward concept can be harnessed to unravel the mysteries of shape and curvature in our intricate world.


Why Is Spherometer So Called?

A spherometer is so-called because it is used for measuring the radii of curvature of spherical surfaces.

What Is Spherometer Class 11?

A spherometer is a measuring device which has a metallic triangular frame supported on three legs. The tips of the three legs form an equilateral triangle and lie on the radius. There is a central leg which can be moved in a perpendicular direction.

What Is One Use Of Spherometer?

A Spherometer is defined as an instrument for measuring the curvature of a surface. The Spherometer is a device use in measuring the radius of curvature of a spherical surface. For an example, it can be used to measure the thickness of a microscope slide or the depth of depression in a slide.

What Are The Properties Of Spherometer?

Parts of the spherometer

  • It has a base circle with three outer legs. Moreover, it has a ring whose radius is known.
  • It consists of a central leg, which can be adjusted as per the need.
  • It has a device for reading that will measure the amount of distance the central leg will move.

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