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Determination of Acetic Acid in Vinegar

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Determination of Acetic Acid in Vinegar

Introduction:

Vinegar is a dilute solution of acetic acid. Since vinegar is an acid it can be titrated with a base. Titration is the process of adding a known amount of a solution of known concentration to a known amount of solution of unknown concentration. The more accurately the concentration of the solution of known concentration is known, the more accurately the concentration of the unknown solution can be determined. Some chemicals can be purchased in a pure form and remain pure over a long period or time. Other chemicals are easily contaminated by the absorption of carbon dioxide or water from the air. Sodium hydroxide absorbs moisture from the air and often appears wet. Thus if a solution of sodium hydroxide is prepared by weighing the sodium hydroxide, the concentration of the solution may not be precisely the intended concentration. Potassium hydrogen phthalate on the other hand, has a lesser tendency to absorb water from the air and when dried will remain dry for a reasonable period of time. Potassium hydrogen phthalate may be purchased in pure form at reasonable cost. Potassium hydrogen phthalate is a primary standard. This means that carefully prepared solutions of known concentration of potassium hydrogen phthalate may be used to determine, by titration, the concentration of another solution such as sodium hydroxide. The equation for the reaction of potassium hydrogen phthalate with sodium hydroxide is:

KCO2C6H4CO2H + NaOH ( KCO2C6H4CO2Na + H2O

The equivalence point of a titration occurs when chemically equivalent amounts of acid and base are present. At this point the pH changes rapidly with a small addition of acid or base. If a pH meter is used in the titration and the pH plotted vs the volume of base added, the equivalence point is the middle of the vertical part of the curve.…...

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