Refractive Index List of Common Household Liquids

Liquid Refractive Index
alcohol, ethyl 1.36
almond oil 1.45-1.47
anise oil 1.54-1.56
Canadian balsam 1.53-1.55
cassia oil 1.58-1.60
castor oil 1.47-1.48
cedar wood oil 1.51
cinnamon oil 1.59-1.62
clove oil 1.53
coconut oil 1.43-1.46
cod liver oil 1.46-1.48
corn oil 1.47-1.48
cottonseed oil 1.45-1.48
eucalyptus oil 1.46-1.47
glycerol (glycerin oil) 1.47
kerosene 1.45
lanolin 1.48
lemon oil 1.47-1.48
linseed oil 1.47-1.49
mineral oil 1.47-1.48
neatsfoot oil 1.47
olive oil 1.44-1.47
palm oil 1.44-1.46
peppermint oil 1.46-1.47
rape seed oil 1.47-1.48
safflower oil 1.47-1.48
sandalwood oil 1.50-1.51
sesame oil 1.47
soybean oil 1.47-1.48
tung oil 1.49-1.52
turpentine 1.47
water 1.33
wintergreen oil 1.54

Editor’s Note: This list was compiled from information provided by Donald Clark, CSM IMG, Dr. Gerald Wykoff, Dr. Clive Washington, Roy Kersey, and others.

Vegetable Oil Variations

Be aware that vegetable oils have variable properties. Even oils made from the same species of plant vary in chemical composition depending on things like plant varieties, where the plant grew, how much sun it got, etc. Nevertheless, most plant triglyceride oils (castor, corn, olive, soybean, for example) have fairly similar RIs. Tung oil is a little higher, but make sure it’s not adulterated. …