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7/1/2015 Lab2:pH

Lab2:
pH

ReadingAssignment
Readchapter21inSimplifiedProceduresforWaterExamination.

Introduction
pHaffectsmostofthechemicalreactionswhichtakeplaceinwaterandwastewatertreatmentplants,soitisimportanttotest
pHofthesourceandtreatedwaterfrequently.ChangesinpHofthesourcewatermayrequiretheoperatortochangethefeed
rateofvariouschemicals.Incontrast,changesinpHofthetreatedwatermayindicatethatchemicalsarenotbeingfed
properly,perhapsduetoachemicalfeederrunningoutofchemicals.ThepHtestexplainedinthislabexercisegivesthe
knowledgeableoperatoroneofthebestindicatorsofthechemicalbalanceoftheplant'swater.

pHistypicallymeasuredusingapHmeter,sothisisoneofthesimplesttestsperformedinthewaterandwastewater
laboratory.Basically,measuringpHconsistsofcalibratingtheinstrument,placingtheelectrodesinawellmixedsample,and
thenreadingthepHdirectlyfromthepHmeter.

Despitetheutilityofthislabprocedure,youshouldbeawareofitsshortcomings.MeasuringthepHofasolutiondoesnottell
uswhichacidsandbasesarepresent,nordoesittellustheirconcentrations.Instead,pHismerelyanindicatoroftheoverall
balanceofhydrogenandhydroxideionsinthesolution.

YoushouldalsonotethattheprecisionandaccuracyofpHmeasurementdependsonthetypeandconditionoftheinstrument
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andonthecareusedincalibrationandoperation.Undernormalconditions,+0.1pHunitrepresentsthelimitofaccuracyofthe
pHmeter,soyoushouldreportpHvaluestothenearest0.1pHunit.

Electrode

Rinsingtheelectrode

TheelectrodeistheportionofthepHmeterwhichsensesthepH.Itisaverysensitiveandfragileinstrumentwhichis
susceptibletoscratches.Ifscratched,theelectrodewillresultinerroneouspHreadings,soalwaysblottheelectrodedry
carefullywhencleaningit.Lightandtemperaturecanalsoharmtheelectrode,soitshouldbestoredinabuffersolutionat10
25Candprotectedfromlight.

Theelectrodeisrelativelyfreefrominterferencesduetocolor,turbidity,colloidalmatter,oxidants,reductants,orhighsalinity,
exceptforasodiumerrorathighpH.ThiserroratapHabove10maybereducedbyusingspecial"lowsodiumerror"
electrodesifyourwaterishighinsodiumandyourpHisalsohigh.

WhileusingthepHmeter,youshouldwatchforerraticresultsarisingfromcrackedelectrodes,faultyconnections,orfoulingof
electrodeswithgreaseand/orsolidsresidue.Thetwopointcalibrationexplainedintheprocedurecanhelpdetectafaulty
electrode.Ifareasonablyaccuratevalueforthesecondbuffercannotbeobtainedafterthemeterhasbeenstandardizedagainst
thefirstbuffer,thenitislikelythatone,ifnotboth,oftheelectrodesisfaultyandmustbereplaced.

Reagents
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Theonlyreagentsyouwilluseinthislabarethebuffersolutionsusedtocalibrateandstorethemeter.Thelaboratoryyouvisit
willprobablyhavethesesolutionsonhandsincetheycanbestoredforatleastaweekandcanoftenbeboughtcommercially.
Ifcommercialsolutionsareavailable,thebestpracticeistouseafreshbeakerofbuffersolutionforeachcalibration.Ifthelab
doesnothavebuffersolutionsprepared,youcanpreparethemusingtheproceduresoutlinedinStandardMethods.

LabProcedure
1. TurnthepHmeteronandallowtheinstrumenttowarmup.

EverybrandofpHmeteroperatesslightlydifferently,sowewillnotexplainwhichbuttonstopushforeverystageofthe
procedure.Instead,youcanrefertotheinstrument'smanual,ifnecessary.

2. Compensateforthetemperature.

pHisslightlytemperaturedependent,soweusethefollowingstepstoensurethatchangesintemperaturedonotcauseerrors
inreadings.Youwillalsonoticethatwerecordthetemperatureofthesampleinalaterstepsothatwewillknowatwhat
temperaturethepHwastaken.
a. Bringallofthebuffersolutions,thesample,andthepHmetertothesametemperature.(Thesimplestmethodistobring
alltoroomtemperature.)

b. IfthepHmeterdoesnothaveautomatictemperaturecompensation,measurethetemperatureofthebuffersolutionsand
adjustthetemperaturecompensationdialasnecessary.

3. Usebufferstocalibratethemeter.
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TogetthemostaccuratepHreadingofoursample,wecalibratethemeterbeforeeachuse.Duringcalibration,weplacethe
electrodesinaseriesofbuffersolutionswithknownpHvaluesandsetthemetertothosevalues.Typically,wewilluseabuffer
solutionwithapHof7.0,abuffersolutionwithapHof4.0,andabuffersolutionwithapHof10.0forcalibration,thoughwe
canuseotherbuffersifnecessary.Inallcases,thesecondandthirdbuffersshouldhavepHvaluesatleasttwopHunitshigher
andlowerthanthefirstbuffersolution.Thefollowingprocedureisusedtocalibratethemetertoeachbuffersolution.
a. Removetheelectrode(s)fromstoragesolution,rinsethemwithdistilledwaterandcarefullyblottheelectrode(s)drywith
ahighqualitylaboratorytissue.

b. Placetheelectrode(s)inabuffersolutionandmeasurethepHofthebufferwhilegentlystirringthesolution.

c. AdjustthepHmeterreadingtotheknownpHvalueofthebuffersolution,ifnecessary.Thenplacetheinstrumentin
standbymode.

d. Repeatthisprocedurewiththenextbuffersolution.

4. Preparethesample.

InordertogetagoodpHreading,youshouldensurethatthesampleisnotcontaminatedandthatitiswellmixed.
Youcanmixthesampleusingeitheramagneticstirrerorastirbar.Ineithercase,thegoalofstirringistoensure
thatthesampleiswellmixedsothatthepHreadingisrepresentativeoftheentiresample.Donotstirtoo
vigorouslyorcarbondioxidewillenterthewater,formingcarbonicacidandloweringthepH.

a. RecordthesourceofyoursamplewaterintheDatasection.

b. Topreventcontamination,rinseoutasamplecupseveraltimeswithsamplewaterandfillitwiththesamplewater
tobetested.

c. Ifamagneticstirrerisavailable,placeacleanstirbarinthesamplewaterandturnonthestirrer.Ifnot,youwill
needtomixthesamplewithastirbaratintervals.


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5. MeasurethepHofthesample.

a. Determinethesample'stemperatureandrecordthetemperatureintheDatasection.Adjustthemeter'stemperature
compensationdialifnecessary.

b. Removetheelectrode(s)fromthestoragesolution,rinsethewithdistilledwaterandcarefullyblottheelectrode(s)
drywithahighqualitylaboratorytissue.

c. Placetheelectrode(s)inthesample.ContinuestirringthesampleasthepHismeasuredbythemeter.Recordthe
sample'spHintheDatasection.

d. Placetheinstrumentinstandbymodeandremovetheelectrode(s)fromthesample.Rinsetheelectrode(s)
thoroughlywithdistilledwaterandcarefullyblotdry.

6. Whenallsampleshavebeentested,placetheelectrode(s)intapwaterorpH7.0buffersolutionforstorageandshut
offthemeter.

Data

SourceofSample Temperature pH

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Source
AmericanPublicHealthAssociation,AmericanWaterWorksAssociation,andWaterEnvironmentFederation.1998.
StandardMethodsfortheExaminationofWaterandWastewater.AmericanPublicHealthAssociation,Washington,D.C.

Assignment
Theprocedureoutlinedabovecanalsobeviewedinthevirtuallab.Thereisanassignmentthatneedstobecompleted
concerningthevirtuallab,sopleaseprinttheassignmentfirstandthenanswerthequestionsasyouperformthelab.Onceyou
havetheassignmentcompleted,loginandcompletetheassignmentonlinetobeentereddirectlyintothedatabase.

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