In the chemistry laboratory, the importance of titration is unparalleled in many ways. Whenever struck with an analytical problem, titrimetric analysis is always a chemist’s go-to. In this article, we will learn about the plenty of uses and applications of titration in industry and in academia. But before that, here is a quick revision for you of what is titration i.e., its definition and working principle.
What is titration-Definition
Titration is a quantitative volumetric analysis method. It is used for determining the unknown concentration of an analyte solution using a standard solution of known concentration.
Working principle of titration
There are two main components of titration i.e., a titrant and a titrand. The titrand is the analyte solution which is usually taken in a conical titration flask. A small amount of indicator is also added. The titrant is the solution of known concentration which is taken in the burette. Dropwise addition of the titrand into the analyte solution leads to a chemical reaction.
The endpoint of the titration is marked as the indicator changes color with one drop of titrant from the burette. The equivalence point is determined. The volume of titrant consumed as the equivalence point is reached then helps determine the unknown analyte concentration as per stoichiometric principles.
There are many different types of titrations, each important for a specific application. Let’s see how.
The uses of titration in quantitative chemical analysis
- The titration practical is a must in the high-school chemistry laboratory. But other than that, titration is used in research and development at multiple levels.
- Redox titrations are frequently used in the chemical industry for the quantitative determination of an oxidizing and/or a reducing agent. Gases such as CO, SO2, NH3, and H2S are reducing agents. Their exact concentration in an environmental sample can be determined using oxidizing agents such as KMnO4 and K2Cr2O7. The oxidizing agent acts as a self-indicator in the redox titration.
- Similarly, redox titrations help determine the chemical oxygen demand (COD) in natural and wastewater.
- Iodometric titration is a back titration method used for evaluating the chlorination level in public water supplies.
Uses and applications of titration in the chemical industry
- In metallurgy, the exact concentration of metals such as iron (Fe), silver (Ag), and copper (Cu) in metal ores can be determined through complexometric titration.
- The degree of unsaturation present in fats, oils, and waxes is determined by using their iodine number. The iodine number or iodine value of a fat sample can be effectively determined via iodometry. The sample solution is reacted with an excess of Wijis solution (IBr + ICl + glacial acetic acid). Unreacted IBr and ICl are then reacted with KI which liberates iodine. The concentration of iodine liberated is then determined by back titration using a standard sodium thiosulfate (Na2S2O7 ) solution.
Uses and applications of titration in the pharmaceutical analysis
- Redox titrations help in pharmaceutical analysis to check the purity of newly synthesized therapeutic agents, medicinal drugs, and tablets.
- The right concentration of chemicals required to anesthetize animals used in laboratory research is often determined via titrimetry.
Uses and applications of titration in the food industry
- Titration help in quality control and quality assurance in the food industry.
- Chemists use precipitation titration to quantify the ingredients of a food sample such as salt and sugar.
- The vitamin content of food supplements can be determined via titrimetric analysis.
- The information provided on a nutritional label can be re-checked using titrimetry.
- Acid-base titration helps determine the concentration of weak acids such as acetic acid (CH3COOH) present in vinegar, mayonnaise, ketchup, salad dressings, etc.
- Beverage alkalinity can also be determined through acid-base titration.
- The exact concentration of food color and/or preservatives added to a food sample can be determined through titration.
Uses and applications of titration in everyday life
- The chemical composition of cosmetic products can be studied via titration.
- The exact concentration of chemicals can be determined in fertilizers, paints, detergents, sanitizers, and cleansing agents via potentiometry.
- Titration is also used for medical diagnosis. Glucose levels in a diabetic patient’s urine can be quantified via titration.
- The acidity of rainwater can be evaluated via acid-base titrations.
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