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### Topic: What are titrations good for in real life ?  (Read 968 times)

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#### mblet

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##### What are titrations good for in real life ?
« on: December 04, 2019, 07:02:51 AM »
Hello,

I am wondering if titrations find use beyond teaching ? I am not doing research in this field - only teaching - and start questioning the interest of spending too much time on these aspects of solution chemistry if it is not really used in labs, be they for academic or industrial purposes. Would anyone have indications on what is the practical/real value of titrations studied in university ?

A good day to you all :-)

Marc

#### chenbeier

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##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2019, 07:16:21 AM »
Of course titrations and other analytical methods are needed. I a lot of industrial manufacturing processes the content of acids, bases, metal content, and many others have to be checked to get the same quality.

#### mblet

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##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ?
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2019, 08:36:08 AM »
Hi chenbeier,

Thanks a lot for your answer ! Actually, I was looking for concrete real life examples, as I really don't work in this field but would love to be able to provide some to my students and even possibly base exams on real example and not just funny ideas... if you have any I'd be really interested in it/them !

#### wildfyr

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##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ?
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2019, 10:26:06 AM »
My factory literally does a titration of our sulfuric acid anodizing baths with NaOH to determine the acid concentration. Is that a
"real life example"?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 11:10:00 AM by wildfyr »

#### Corribus

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##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ?
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2019, 10:30:50 AM »
Testing your water at home for impurities or pH (e.g., fish tanks).
What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?  - Richard P. Feynman

#### mblet

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##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2019, 01:22:11 PM »
My factory literally does a titration of our sulfuric acid anodizing baths with NaOH to determine the acid concentration. Is that a
"real life example"?

Most definitely !! Thanks a lot for your answer, wildfyr !! I guess there is target concentration that must be maintained ? As far as I remember, the first acidity is strong and the second has a very low pKa : do you titrate the total H+, then, or do you see both acidities somehow ?

Testing your water at home for impurities or pH (e.g., fish tanks).

Thanks Corribus ! I don't have a fish tank : is that usual practice ? Full titrations with NaOH or just pH measurement ? What kind of impurities ? How would you do that, then ?

#### Corribus

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##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2019, 10:40:17 AM »
First of all, titration is used frequently in basic research, no doubt about it.

Can't speak for industry but I imagine titration still finds use in industry as well.

As for home use - most people at home aren't chemists and therefore they would probably buy kits or devices (pH strips, e.g.) to do these kind of measurements rather than doing their own titrations from scratch. Many of the best home kits for chemical analysis still use titration, though. Probably a little harder to use than a simple strip or indicator, but almost certainly more sensitive and accurate. E.g.:

Determination of chlorine in pool water (https://www.poolcenter.com/p/taylor-fas-dpd-titration-test-kit)
Determination of pH in fish tank (https://www.amazon.com/API-250-Test-Freshwater-Aquarium-Water/dp/B000255NAK)
Determination of peroxides in cooking oils (https://www.hannainst.com/hi83730-20-peroxide-value-in-oils-reagents-kit-20-tests.html)
Determination of iodine or sulfites in drinking water (https://www.thomassci.com/Laboratory-Supplies/Water-Quality-Test-Kits/_/SULFITE-TEST-KIT?q=Sulfite%20Test%20Kit)
Determination of potency of antiseptic peroxide solution and foods (http://www.novatech-usa.com/Products/Single-Parameter-Test-Kits/K-1826.html)

You could also do it without a kit if you were so inclined. A lot of those can be done by iodometry using pretty basic reagents. All you need is a good way to measure volume.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodometry

What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?  - Richard P. Feynman

#### wildfyr

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##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2019, 12:04:15 AM »
We titrate through both pKas, but its not technically necessary.

Yes, we check the concentration a certain number of times per shift. We also use conductivity to control concentration minute to minute.

#### mblet

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##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ?
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2019, 07:44:28 AM »
Thanks a lot for these example, Corribus !! Most helpful ! I feel embarrassed to teach solution chemistry and not know that, but my background is materials science and I have very little culture in chemistry !

A great thank you, wildfyr ! examples from industry are particularly interesting to illustrate a class !

#### shchavel

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##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2019, 06:41:06 AM »
mblet , you are good teacher! It very important for studyents to know practicle use of things!

#### pcm81

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##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ?
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2019, 07:07:22 PM »
Hello,

I am wondering if titrations find use beyond teaching ? I am not doing research in this field - only teaching - and start questioning the interest of spending too much time on these aspects of solution chemistry if it is not really used in labs, be they for academic or industrial purposes. Would anyone have indications on what is the practical/real value of titrations studied in university ?

A good day to you all :-)

Marc

Based on your question and answers provided so far, i feel like it is important to add the following:
"Real life" is different for different people. For nerds frequenting these forums real life involves things like research or just tinkering with chemistry in their garage, but for an average Joe, which is what the 99.9% of population is, titrations based applications are far more alien.
For an average Joe example you can use is the act of monitoring your personal pools chemical levels. The test kits that anyone can buy for $50 or less determine the pH of the pool water, free chlorine content, total chlorine content, alkalinity, calcium hardness, CYA concentration. when using these kits you count the number of drops of reagent X to determine some value. These tests are also titrations. Simply, the test kit manufacturer has done all the chemistry for you, so that the end user can just look at a table and count drops. But never the less, the end user is still performing a titration. The range of applications of titration techniques is defined or limited by the specific need of the user. I titrate for iron content in my Mn Phosphate parkerizing bath, but an average Joe won't be interested in doing that. Pool water example i gave above is as complicated as an average Joe has a need for or as close as an average Joe has a reason to get to the methods of titration. What you should relay to the students about titrations is the following: Titrations are used to determine concentration of some chemical X using a known standard solution of chemical Y. Volume is relatively easy to measure quantity. Since titrations usually use 2 liquid reagents we can use the easily available methods of measuring volumes of the liquids to determine the ratios of the liquids that yield some known end point; which in turn tells us something about the liquid being tested through the ratio to a known standard. I hope this helps. EDIT: Just wanted to add that many people are confused about titrations and think that they are really simple or really complex. The reason for such divergence of opinions is that there are actually 2 separate steps in any titration: 1. Designing the titration - this is where you need a chemist. Someone who knows what reagents interact with what substances and in what way and under what conditions. This is the complicated part. 2. Actually performing the titration - This part can be done my a technician or an average Joe if the chemist in step 1 made the instructions in a very clear step-by-step way. This is the step you are left to do when you buy a test kit. « Last Edit: December 23, 2019, 07:18:53 PM by pcm81 » #### mblet • New Member • Posts: 7 • Mole Snacks: +0/-2 ##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ? « Reply #11 on: December 29, 2019, 01:13:42 PM » mblet , you are good teacher! It very important for studyents to know practicle use of things! Thanks a lot for your kind comment !! :-) #### mblet • New Member • Posts: 7 • Mole Snacks: +0/-2 ##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ? « Reply #12 on: December 29, 2019, 01:18:01 PM » Hello, I am wondering if titrations find use beyond teaching ? I am not doing research in this field - only teaching - and start questioning the interest of spending too much time on these aspects of solution chemistry if it is not really used in labs, be they for academic or industrial purposes. Would anyone have indications on what is the practical/real value of titrations studied in university ? A good day to you all :-) Marc Based on your question and answers provided so far, i feel like it is important to add the following: "Real life" is different for different people. For nerds frequenting these forums real life involves things like research or just tinkering with chemistry in their garage, but for an average Joe, which is what the 99.9% of population is, titrations based applications are far more alien. For an average Joe example you can use is the act of monitoring your personal pools chemical levels. The test kits that anyone can buy for$50 or less determine the pH of the pool water, free chlorine content, total chlorine content, alkalinity, calcium hardness, CYA concentration. when using these kits you count the number of drops of reagent X to determine some value. These tests are also titrations. Simply, the test kit manufacturer has done all the chemistry for you, so that the end user can just look at a table and count drops. But never the less, the end user is still performing a titration.

The range of applications of titration techniques is defined or limited by the specific need of the user. I titrate for iron content in my Mn Phosphate parkerizing bath, but an average Joe won't be interested in doing that. Pool water example i gave above is as complicated as an average Joe has a need for or as close as an average Joe has a reason to get to the methods of titration.

What you should relay to the students about titrations is the following:
Titrations are used to determine concentration of some chemical X using a known standard solution of chemical Y. Volume is relatively easy to measure quantity. Since titrations usually use 2 liquid reagents we can use the easily available methods of measuring volumes of the liquids to determine the ratios of the liquids that yield some known end point; which in turn tells us something about the liquid being tested through the ratio to a known standard.

I hope this helps.

EDIT:
Just wanted to add that many people are confused about titrations and think that they are really simple or really complex. The reason for such divergence of opinions is that there are actually 2 separate steps in any titration:
1. Designing the titration - this is where you need a chemist. Someone who knows what reagents interact with what substances and in what way and under what conditions. This is the complicated part.
2. Actually performing the titration - This part can be done my a technician or an average Joe if the chemist in step 1 made the instructions in a very clear step-by-step way. This is the step you are left to do when you buy a test kit.

Thanks a lot for your answer !! This is definitely among the things I had in mind ! I would also be interested in more industrial or even scientific applications - if any. But that is clearly something I will bring to my classroom !!

#### pcm81

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##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2020, 10:17:52 PM »
Hello,

I am wondering if titrations find use beyond teaching ? I am not doing research in this field - only teaching - and start questioning the interest of spending too much time on these aspects of solution chemistry if it is not really used in labs, be they for academic or industrial purposes. Would anyone have indications on what is the practical/real value of titrations studied in university ?

A good day to you all :-)

Marc

Based on your question and answers provided so far, i feel like it is important to add the following:
"Real life" is different for different people. For nerds frequenting these forums real life involves things like research or just tinkering with chemistry in their garage, but for an average Joe, which is what the 99.9% of population is, titrations based applications are far more alien.
For an average Joe example you can use is the act of monitoring your personal pools chemical levels. The test kits that anyone can buy for \$50 or less determine the pH of the pool water, free chlorine content, total chlorine content, alkalinity, calcium hardness, CYA concentration. when using these kits you count the number of drops of reagent X to determine some value. These tests are also titrations. Simply, the test kit manufacturer has done all the chemistry for you, so that the end user can just look at a table and count drops. But never the less, the end user is still performing a titration.

The range of applications of titration techniques is defined or limited by the specific need of the user. I titrate for iron content in my Mn Phosphate parkerizing bath, but an average Joe won't be interested in doing that. Pool water example i gave above is as complicated as an average Joe has a need for or as close as an average Joe has a reason to get to the methods of titration.

What you should relay to the students about titrations is the following:
Titrations are used to determine concentration of some chemical X using a known standard solution of chemical Y. Volume is relatively easy to measure quantity. Since titrations usually use 2 liquid reagents we can use the easily available methods of measuring volumes of the liquids to determine the ratios of the liquids that yield some known end point; which in turn tells us something about the liquid being tested through the ratio to a known standard.

I hope this helps.

EDIT:
Just wanted to add that many people are confused about titrations and think that they are really simple or really complex. The reason for such divergence of opinions is that there are actually 2 separate steps in any titration:
1. Designing the titration - this is where you need a chemist. Someone who knows what reagents interact with what substances and in what way and under what conditions. This is the complicated part.
2. Actually performing the titration - This part can be done my a technician or an average Joe if the chemist in step 1 made the instructions in a very clear step-by-step way. This is the step you are left to do when you buy a test kit.

Thanks a lot for your answer !! This is definitely among the things I had in mind ! I would also be interested in more industrial or even scientific applications - if any. But that is clearly something I will bring to my classroom !!

In many industries there are chemical processes that use baths of chemical solutions the composition of which needs to be monitored and adjusted. In that case a sample of the bath is taken and chemical composition is determined by titrations for deficiencies or excesses. A manganese phosphate plating bah is an example where iron content, total acid content and free acid content are measured by titrations. Also for quality assurance the actual product can be tested. For example the nicotine concentrates or actual ejuice containing nicotine can have their nicotine concentration measured by titration. Although you may not want to talk about ejuice and nicotine in the classroom unless you are allowed to do a lecture warning about negative effect of nicotine on the developing brain of a young adult... it's a sensitive subject for public schools due to rampant addictions by kids...
The example i gave earlier of pool test kits to determine concentrations in the pool water. The solutions in these kits usually get manufactured in large quantities and can be "calibrated" via titration before being packaged into the test kit.

Here is how the full chain of calibrations work:
1. Several substances are known as primary standards. These substances nut be possible to manufacture in pure form, they must not react with chemicals found in air, like carbon dioxide. These substances must not absorb water from the air, in other words they would exist and X-hydtide or not become a hydride at all. This is to make sure the molar mass does not change from storage. KHP Potassium hydrogen phthalate s one of such substances. It is manufactured in very pure form and serves as a primary standard. You can measure out an exact quantity using analytical balance and then run the titration of Sodium Hydroxide solution against it.
2.Once you know NaOH solution molarity you can calibrate other acids against it. Sodium hydroxide solution will change its concentration with time, because it reacts with CO2 in the air, hence NaOH solution cannot be a primary standard itself, but once it is calibrated vs KHP you can use it to calibrate any acid solution against it. For example, i use KHP to calibrate NaOH solution, then I use NaOH solution to calibrate Oxalic acid solution, which i then use to calibrate KMnO4 solution, which i then use to measure iron concentration in my parkerizing bath (Mn-phosphate coating bath).

#### mblet

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##### Re: What are titrations good for in real life ?
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2020, 06:22:10 AM »
In many industries there are chemical processes that use baths of chemical solutions the composition of which needs to be monitored and adjusted. In that case a sample of the bath is taken and chemical composition is determined by titrations for deficiencies or excesses. A manganese phosphate plating bah is an example where iron content, total acid content and free acid content are measured by titrations. Also for quality assurance the actual product can be tested. For example the nicotine concentrates or actual ejuice containing nicotine can have their nicotine concentration measured by titration. Although you may not want to talk about ejuice and nicotine in the classroom unless you are allowed to do a lecture warning about negative effect of nicotine on the developing brain of a young adult... it's a sensitive subject for public schools due to rampant addictions by kids...
The example i gave earlier of pool test kits to determine concentrations in the pool water. The solutions in these kits usually get manufactured in large quantities and can be "calibrated" via titration before being packaged into the test kit.

Here is how the full chain of calibrations work:
1. Several substances are known as primary standards. These substances nut be possible to manufacture in pure form, they must not react with chemicals found in air, like carbon dioxide. These substances must not absorb water from the air, in other words they would exist and X-hydtide or not become a hydride at all. This is to make sure the molar mass does not change from storage. KHP Potassium hydrogen phthalate s one of such substances. It is manufactured in very pure form and serves as a primary standard. You can measure out an exact quantity using analytical balance and then run the titration of Sodium Hydroxide solution against it.
2.Once you know NaOH solution molarity you can calibrate other acids against it. Sodium hydroxide solution will change its concentration with time, because it reacts with CO2 in the air, hence NaOH solution cannot be a primary standard itself, but once it is calibrated vs KHP you can use it to calibrate any acid solution against it. For example, i use KHP to calibrate NaOH solution, then I use NaOH solution to calibrate Oxalic acid solution, which i then use to calibrate KMnO4 solution, which i then use to measure iron concentration in my parkerizing bath (Mn-phosphate coating bath).

Thank you so much pcm81 !! That was most helpful !! And I did not know the clear definition of primary standard, which is all the more valuable to me !!!