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[ MEASURMENT OF ALKALINITY]

Alkalinity:
The capacity of water for neutralizing an acid solution.
Alkalinity is
the
name
given
to
the
quantitative
capacity
of
an aqueous solution to neutralize an acid. It is reported in milli-equivalents
per liter.
The capacity of a water to accept protons, i.e., hydrogen ions. It is usually
expressed as milli-equivalents per liter.
Alkalinity consists of the sum of titratable carbonate and non-carbonate
chemical species in a filtered water sample."
Types of Alkalinity:
There are basically three types of Alkalinity;
1. Caustic Alkalinity:
It is defined as the amount of strong acid required to lower a pH of sample to
about 10.
It is mainly due to the presence of OH- group.
OH- + H2SO4

H2O + SO4-

2. Total Alkalinity:
It is defined as the alkalinity of sample which require the amount of strong
acid to lower its pH to about 4.3.
2HCO3- + H2SO4

2H2CO3- + SO4-

Carbonate Alkalinity:
It is defined as the alkalinity of sample which require the amount of strong
acid to lower its pH to about 8.3.
It is also known as phenolphthalein alkalinity. In this alkalinity CO 2 s absent.
In this titration the color of solution changes from pink to clear.
2CO3- + H2SO4

H2O + SO4-

Significance or Importance of Alkalinity:


The property of alkalinity to neutralize acid makes it so important. A sample
having high alkalinity will have a more resistance to changes in pH.
Some important points are given below:

Department of Environmental Engineering, UET TAXILA

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[ MEASURMENT OF ALKALINITY]

Alkalinity is used to monitor water for drinking, surface, and saline


waters, domestic and industrial waste water treatment facilities,
swimming pools, heating and cooling, food and beverage cleaning
systems, soil and environmental testing, and agriculture.
Low alkalinity can result in an unstable pH value, which can cause a
number of issues. For example, pipes and plumbing exposed to water
with a low alkalinity can suffer from corrosion.
Alkalinity is key in the treatment of potable and wastewater as it
influences treatments process like anaerobic digestion.
Living organisms, especially aquatic life, function best in a pH range of
6.0 to 9.0. Higher alkalinity levels in surface waters will buffer acid rain
and other acid wastes and prevent pH changes that are harmful to
aquatic life.
We all have a delicate pH and our bodies prefer a slightly alkaline
environment. When the foods we consume push our pH toward acidity,
our bodies find alkaline minerals stored internally to cure the
imbalance. When a diet contains more acidic foods than alkaline, a
condition called acidosis may occur.

Causes of Alkalinity:
Alkalinity in a solution means the solution is capable of buffering acidic
solutions with higher concentrations of hydrogen ions. Alkalinity in water
comes from a high concentration of carbon-based mineral molecules
suspended in the solution. Water with high alkalinity is said to be "hard." The
most prevalent mineral compound causing alkalinity is calcium carbonate,
which can come from rocks such as limestone or can be leached from
dolomite and calcite in the soil. Water treatment plants can be treated to a
higher alkalinity.

Apparatus:

Titration Assembly

Reagents:

Standard H2SO4 (0.02 N).


Indicator used Methyl Orange (for Methyl Orange alkalinity or total
alkalinity) and phenolphthalein.

Department of Environmental Engineering, UET TAXILA

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[ MEASURMENT OF ALKALINITY]

Procedure:
For phenolphthalein alkalinity:

Take 50 ml of sample in a titration flask.


Add 1 drop of phenolphthalein indicator.
The color of solution becomes pink if carbonates are present.
Titrate it against standard solution of H2SO4.
When solution becomes colorless stop the titration.
Also check the pH of sample with pH meter.
Note down the reading at this point.
Repeat the procedure three times to minimize the error.

For total alkalinity:

Take the same sample.


Add 2 drops of methyl orange its color becomes orange yellow.
Titrate it against standard soliton of H2SO4.
When solution becomes pink stop titration.
Also check the pH of sample with pH meter.
Note down the readings at this point.

Results:
For Phenolphthalein alkalinity;
Volume of acid used = 0 ml
Phenolphthalein
alkalinity
vol . of acid used eq . weight of CaCO 3 Normality of acid used 1000
vol . of sample
=

vol . of acid used 50 0.02 1000


50
= vol. of acid used
=0

20

20

= 0 mg/L as CaCO3

Department of Environmental Engineering, UET TAXILA

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[ MEASURMENT OF ALKALINITY]
For total alkalinity:
Sample no.
1.
2.

Initial
burette Final
burette Volume of acid
reading
reading
in (ml)
0
21.5
21.5
21.5
45.7
24.2

Mean volume of acid used =

21.5+ 24.2
3

= 22.85 ml
Total
alkalinity
vol . of acid used eq . weight of CaCO 3 Normality of acid used 1000
vol . of sample
=

vol . of acid used 50 0.02 1000


50

= vol. of acid used


= 22.5

20

20

= 457 mg/L as CaCO3

Precaution:

Use appropriate indicator for each alkalinity.


Note the color and pH change of solution carefully.
If residual Cl2 is present add 0.1 N Na2SO3 to remove interference.

Comments:

Above result shows that there is no Phenolphthalein alkalinity is


present because when we add the phenolphthalein indicator there is
no color change.
But methyl- orange alkalinity is present because when we add the
methyl-orange indicator there changes in color.

Department of Environmental Engineering, UET TAXILA

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