Titrations in Industry

Titration definition: A measured amount of solution of unknown concentration is added to a known volume of a second solution until the reaction between them is complete; the concentration of the unknown solution (the titre) can then be calculated. Acid based titration: determination of the concentration of an unknown acid or base by neutralizing the acid or base with an acid or base of a known substance. Redox titration: type of titration based on a redox reaction between the analyte and titrant which involves the use of a redox indicator and/or a potentiometer.

Titrations are a common laboratory method – and factorial method – of chemical analysis that is widely used to determine unknown concentrations of a reactant. Many methods have been developed and adapted to indicate the end point of a reaction, to make it more and more reliable using primarily visual indictors. The titration technique is a simple process and can be experimented using such basic standardised tools within science in a child’s science lab to more developed braches of chemistry within a working industry.

The versatility of the titration method means that industries can use these various techniques to develop, learn and understand more about key chemical compounds. Titrations are required in almost all factors of life; wineries, dairy farms, food courts, cleaning material factories, juice makers, cosmetic industry, paint makers etc. as all these made by products rely on a pH that is calculated via a titration. Titrations are used and are dependant by us for safety purposes as it makes sure that the pH of a product being released is suitable for human use/consumption.

All’s well for humans, titrations also ensure cleaning products, containing harmful chemicals have the right acidity to work. Examples of titrations used in specific industries: Medical: The constant development of medication is such a precise scientific procedure and nothing can go wrong. Titration is therefore an important part of the pharmaceutical industry to ensure quality control and that the right levels of concentration are within medication produced.

Often specialised equipment more advanced than the simplistic titrations are used on large batches of medication to make the process more efficient. Wineries: The delicate and differentiated taste of every type of fine wine is often affected by its level of acidity. This level contributes to how the wine responds with age therefore it can be measured using titration. In regards to the results of the test, manufacturers can suggest (from the results) whether additional ingredients are necessary to maintain its future quality over an extensive period of time.

Juicing/nutritional needs: the compounds in which make up food products help to determine nutritional imperfections, for example what can be added to oranges to enhance the acidity and this can be determined by a standard titration process. Manufacturers can use this technique to flavour foods/juices to a specific taste quality to satisfy purchasing customers with those of special nutritional needs. Titration used in industrial research labs is dominated by two types: potentiometric and Karl Fischer titrations.

Potentiometric titration involves the use of an instrument to measure changes in electrode potential of a solution, which is used specifically for titrations based on redox reactions – between an oxidising and reducing agent – a procedure which is similar to more widely used basic acid-base titrations (81% off all) whilst the Karl Fischer method dating back to 1935 is a process that uses colourmetric or volumetric titration to determine trace amounts of water in a sample.

This is specifically important to the food and fuel industries for example in biodiesel the presence of water reduces the calorific value and increases the corrosion rate of burning fuel therefore by titrating the product first can ensure a more stable and economic fuel. Many different indicators/probes are used, as mentioned before the potentiometric method measures the charge whilst an acid based titration uses the level of pH and so on.

Many non-acid based titrations require a constant pH through the duration of the reaction therefore a buffer solution can be added as another form of indicator to maintain the pH. In general, acid-base titrations entirely depend on the neutralization between the acid and tested base when mixed within a solution as discussed previously. The acid based indicator e. g. starch indicates the endpoint of the titration by the changing colour and range of pH.

The end and start point differ because the start is determined by the stoichiometry of the reaction whilst the end point is the colour change just from the indicator. Therefore industries are required to careful select their indicator as a misuse can increase the reliability and/or error of the titration. There are many advantages/disadvantages of titrations. Without them it would be very hard to maintain the safety and chemical reactions of everyday living resources.

To actually conduct a titration means it’s a fast, highly accurate, established and precise technique to be used in laboratories worldwide. Further benefits include the way for sure simpler titrations can be operated by low-skilled/low-trained operators meaning in a sense can be cost effective, there is no real need for highly specialised chemical knowledge as it’s the measure of an acid or base that needs to be known. Titrations give a known result and therefore offer good results in comparison to more sophisticated and developed techniques as a variety of reagents can be used.

On the other hand however, an appropriate judgement needs to be made on what indicator/test to use on each titre, making it in some cases very fiddly. Also, although a fast technique via machinery titration, it can be a very time consuming process if done manually in large quantities. Another disadvantage of titration in industry is that each activity of the elements to be titrated should be well researched as it could affect the way the chemical is titrated with its reactant and the final results. Overall titrations are vital in industry as there is a lot of development into species, chemicals, foods, drinks etc. that can be made and progressed into life changing information for us about what each chemical is catered for and its ability to retain the pH.


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