Mixing Oil and Solvent to make a finished Fragrance when your oil is measured by weight and your solvent by volume

What follows is my answer to a question received by email.

You want to mix by volume (ml, cc, liters, ounces, gallons, etc.) oil and a solvent to create a finished perfume. Since your intention is to mix only 1 liter of finished fragrance, the mixing will be done in a kitchen measuring cup, graduated by milliliter increments up to one liter.

The plan is to mix 20% oil with 80% solvent (alcohol or some carrier oil). To do this we need 200 ml of oil and 800 ml of the solvent.

The solvent—alcohol or a carrier oil—is generally purchased by volume—liters, gallons or whatever. But fragrance oils are typically quoted by weight. This will be also true if you have developed your own fragrance oil, mixing grams of this with grams of that. (This would be how I would develop a new fragrance myself.)

The problem now is to determine what weight of oil we need to get the 200 ml required for this project. To calculate the weight needed, we must know the weight of a benchmark volume, kilograms per liter for example.

Assuming for this project we do not yet have a weight/volume benchmark to guide us, we can pour a measured amount of our oil into a graduated measuring column and weigh it. For example, if we have enough oil currently available to fill a measuring column to the 10 ml mark, we would first weight the measuring column (to get the tare weight—the weight of the container itself), and then fill the column to the 10 ml mark and weight it. From this weight we deduct the tare weight (the weight of the measuring column) and we now know the weight, in grams for example, of 10 ml of oil.

Since out goal is to determine the weight of 200 ml of oil for this project—20 times our 10 ml sample—we now simply multiply the weight we have recorded for 10 ml by 20 to get the weight in grams of the required 200 ml.

If we are ordering the oil from a vendor, we now know how many grams of oil we need to order. If we are mixing the oil ourselves, we now know how many total grams to mix.

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Philip Goutell
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