As a result of rather poor communications in the late 18th century several specific gravity scales were developed by different scientific communities. One such was produced in 1768 by Antoine Baumé, a French chemist.
The Baumé or Degrees Baumé (°Bé) scale was traditionally used by manufacturers of glucose syrups to describe the density or specific gravity of syrup and thus indirectly to describe the syrup’s solids content. It is determined using a hydrometer and as with refractive index, Baume changes with DE and method of syrup manufacture at the same solids content.
Baumé = 145 – [145/(true SG 60°F/60°F)]
where 145 represents the ratio of the total volume of water displaced by the hydrometer to the volume of water displaced by the unit scale length of the hydrometer stem. The results obtained using this relationship are often subtitled ‘Modulus 145’. SG60°F/60°F = the specific gravity of glucose syrup at 60°F/specific gravity of water at 60°F.
Within the glucose industry Commercial Baumé is often used:
Commercial Baumé = Observed Baumé at 140°F/60°F + 1
The higher temperature of measurement reduces the viscosity of the syrup and allows the hydrometer to float more freely leading to a more rapid determination.