Methods of Geometric Dilution

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Mixing powder is the most common form of geometric dilution.
Mixing powder is the most common form of geometric dilution. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Geometric dilution is the process of diluting something based on its measured size. Most often, scientists and doctors employ this method when combining fine powders of unequal amounts to ensure equal distribution. Bakers sometimes use geometric dilution to equally combine the dry ingredients in a mixture. The process involves slowly combining the products in a small portion at a time.

Standard, Two Powders

The two-powder method requires a mortar and pestle. Take the powder of the smaller amount and place it in the pestle. Then add the other powder but only of equal amount to the lesser powder, leaving the rest outside the mixture for now. You fully triturate, or finely grind, the powder with the mortar so that it is completely mixed. Add an amount of the remaining powder equal to that in the pestle. Repeat the triturating process. Continue until all of the powder has been combined. In baking, the addition method is the same but you do not grind the powders; just mix them.

Powder in Ointment

The same method used for two powders can be utilized when mixing a powder into an ointment. During the initial step you mix in the same amount of ointment as there is of the powder. Use the mortar to fully grind the powder into the ointment, ensuring uniformity. Add ointment of equal amount to the mixed ointment until you have fully combined the ointment with powder.

Liquid Aliquot Method

The liquid aliquot method is similar to trituration but works with fluids instead. The theory is that the liquids need to be combined equally, but you might need to mix more together than you actually need. You calculate the total volume of the drug you wish to give and your end amount of fluid. Then given the measurement of how the drug is available you mix it with the appropriate amount of solution. You then draw up in a syringe the amount of mixed fluid you need to give to the patient.

Radar Geometric Dilution

An entirely different type of geometric dilution is that of radar or radio waves. This process requires you use geometry to cross cut the radar waves making them less effective. Developed as a way to interfere with foreign signals, this form of dilution tends to be used most by the military. The dilution angles can be calculated to protect your radar from being discovered or to “jam” the enemy’s radar. Jamming the other radar can help keep you safe or eliminate communications aiding in a sneak attack.

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