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What Would The World Be Without Titration?

May 22, 2008
Titration is a laboratory method concerned with chemical analysis, it is also know as a method used in medicine of reducing a patient's dose until healing has occurred. In chemistry it is fundamentally used to find the concentration of reactants in solutions. As titration is heavily reliant on the measurement of volume it has also been termed volumetric analysis.

The process involves adding an agent of known concentration called the titrant and using it to react with a solution in which there is a substance unknown to the analyser. By using this method it is possible to determine the exact concentration of the analyte (the name given to the agent of unknown quantity). This is not known however until the endpoint of the reaction is reached, this is typically a point in which the reactant liquid returns to a neutral pH; at this point it is usually the case that the solution will change colour thanks to a chemical indicator, although there are a number of different indicators and titration methods used in the chemical and medical industries.

Titration often results with a change in colour at the time the reaction has reached its endpoint. In some acid base titrations a pH indication system is used to determine when the solution has reached a certain pH level. Not all titration experiments require an indicator to determine when the reaction is over. In many cases the reactants will change colour or in effect turn colourless once the titrant is reduced sufficiently.

For titration to take place both the titrant and analyte must be in a liquid state. If either of the samples are not already in this state they must be dissolved into a solution, it is important to remember in chemical analysis roles that this sample may need to be diluted should the concentration be too high. As the process of titration in both medical and chemical fields requires a level of mathematical accuracy it is of vital importance to understand exactly what concentration the titrant is being added to the solution. This is due to the fact that the end result will be multiplied by this dilution factor.

Normally a lab worker will start the process with a beaker which contains an exact amount of the reactant as well as a small amount of the indicator. The titrant or reagent is then added from an exact measuring cylinder called a burette from above. The burette allows a precise measurement of how much reagent is being added before the indicator changes colour. If the indicator has been chosen correctly, the point at which the solution changes colour will give an exact measurement of the quantities needed in order for the reactant and reagent to neutralise each other.

The result is often displayed in a curve; this curve is a uniform that should be met in order for the experiment to be deemed a success. normally they have a steady accent until the time that sufficient reagent has been added, after this point the graph climbs at almost the vertical and plateaus again, giving information whether the titration process has been a success or not.

Titration is used for a number of reasons in chemical experiments and medical trials. The process is used in the development of drugs and other chemicals that we use around the home. Without it, it is almost definite that the solutions and drugs we use on a day to day basis would not be as effective.
About the Author
Medical and chemical expert Thomas Pretty looks into the titration process and how it has helped developed the drugs and chemicals we use today.
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