Maintenance Tip: Titrators
To keep fluctuations in your titrator’s performance to a minimum, make sure the electrode is stored in the correct solution and calibrated properly. Special care should be taken to avoid scratching or even slightly blocking the electrode’s measuring membrane and the reference diaphragm. In addition, ensure that your dosing burettes are properly vented to the molecular sieve or ascarite to help protect the titrant concentration from degrading.
What effect does non-routine analysis have on the type of titrator that should be used?
For laboratories running a wide variety of analyses on samples—such as is in the food and beverage or environmental industries—the configuration or type of titrator required may need to be more flexible. Typical systems such as Karl Fischer (water content), potentiometric (voltage), acid/base, stat, and single element titration can be combined into a multi-parameter system. This allows greater flexibility when more than one test is required, or if the analysis is not routine.
Is it important to know if the analyte(s) of interest are trace level?
In the instance of some forms of titration—such as Karl Fischer for moisture determination—there are alternative options where lower detection limits are required. In volumetric titration, the titrant is added directly to the sample via burette, where the moisture content is determined from the titration volume. This works for high levels of moisture, but does not give as low a detection limit. Coulometric, on the other hand, has the titrant generated electrochemically in a titration cell, giving the ability to see much lower levels of moisture.
How will the volume of sample throughput affect the titrator’s installation?
For laboratories with high sample volumes and an increased need for faster turnaround times, automating the titration process is an important consideration. Many vendors offer a variety of automated solutions including the more common sample-changing robotics, all the way to fully automated systems that can weigh, change, and titrate automatically. In doing so, technicians and researchers can work on other processes, greatly increasing efficiency and turnaround times.
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