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Main Idea: Titrations are an application

of acid-base neutralization reactions
that require the use of an indicator.

• Titration is a method for determining the
concentration of a solution by reacting a known
volume of that solution with a solution of known
• If you wish to find the concentration of an acid
solution, you would titrate the acid solution with
a solution of a base of known concentration.
• You could also titrate a base of unknown
concentration with an acid of known
In the titration of an acid by a base, the pH meter
measures the pH of the acid solution in the beaker as a
solution of a base with a known concentration is added
from the buret.


How is an acid-base titration
• The figure on the previous slide illustrates one
type of setup for the titration procedure
outlined on the next slide.
• In the procedure pictured on Slide 4, a pH
meter is used to monitor the change in pH as
the titration progresses.

Titration Procedure
1) A measured volume of an acidic or basic solution of
unknown concentration is placed in a beaker. The
electrodes of a pH meter are immersed in this solution,
and the initial pH of the solution is read and recorded.
2) A buret is filled with the titrating solution of known
concentration. This is called the standard solution, or
3) Measured volumes of the standard solution are added
slowly and mixed into the solution in the beaker. The pH is
read and recorded after each addition. This process
continues until the reaction reaches the equivalence
point, which is the point at which moles of H+ ion from the
acid equal moles of OH- ion from the base.

In the titration of a strong acid by a strong base, a steep rise in
the pH of the acid solution indicates that all of the H+ ions from
the acid have been neutralized by the OH- ions of the base. The
point at which the curve flexes is the equivalence point of the
titration. Bromthymol blue is an indicator that
changes color at this
equivalence point.
Notice that
phenolphthalein and
methyl red don’t
match the exact
equivalence point,
but the slope is so
steep that it doesn’t
Strong-Strong Titration
• The previous slide shows how the pH of the solution
changes during the titration of 50.0 mL of 0.100 M HCl,
a strong acid with 0.100 M NaOH, a strong base.
• The inital pH of the 0.100 M HCl is 1.00.
– As NaOH is added, the acid is neutralized and the
solution’s pH increases gradually.
– When nearly all of the H+ ions from the acid have been
used up, the pH increases dramatically with the addition of
an exceedingly small volume of NaOH.
– This abrupt change in pH occurs at the equivalence point
of the titration.
– Beyond the equivalence point, the addition of more NaOH
again results in the gradual increase in pH.

The equivalence point here is not at a pH of 7.
Phenolphthalein is an indicator that changes color at
this equivalence point. Notice that the starting pH is
different and the region of change is smaller.

Strong-Weak Titrations
• You might think that all titrations must have an equivalence
point at pH 7 because that is the point at which
concentrations of hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions are equal
and the solution is neutral.
• This is not the case – some titrations have equivalence points
at pH values less than 7, and some have equivalence points at
pH values greater than 7.
• These differences occur because of reactions between the
newly formed salts and water – salt hydrolysis.
– Some salts are basic (weak acid, strong base) and some
salts are acidic (strong acid, weak base).
• The previous slide shows that the equivalence point for the
titration of HPr (a weak acid) with NaOH (a strong base) lies at
pH 8.80. 9
Acid-Base Indicators
• Chemists often use a chemical dye rather than a pH meter
to detect the equivalence point of an acid-base titration.
• Chemical dyes whose colors are affected by acidic and basic
solutions are called acid-base indicators.
• Many natural substances act as indicators.
– If you use lemon juice in your tea, you might have noticed that
the brown color of tea gets lighter when lemon juice is added.
– Tea contains compounds called polyphenols that have slightly
ionizable hydrogen atoms and therefore are weak acids.
– Adding acid in the form of lemon juice to a cup of tea lessens
the degree of ionization, and the color of the un-ionized
polyphenols becomes more apparent.
• Chemists have several choices in selecting indicators.
– Bromthymol blue is a good choice for the titration of a strong
acid with a strong base, and phenolphthalein changes color at
the equivalence point of a titration of a weak acid with a strong
Indicators and Titration End Point
• Many indicators used for titrations are weak acids.
– Each has its own particular pH or pH ranges over which it
changes color.
• The point at which the indicator used in a titration changes
color is called the end point of the titration.
– It is important to choose an indicator for a titration that will
change color at the equivalence point of the titration.
– Remember that the role of the indicator is to indicate to you, by
means of a color change, that just enough of the titrating
solution has been added to neutralize the unknown solution.
• Equivalence point ≠ End point!
– BUT for strong-strong titrations, the pH change is so steep and
so large, that the are approximately equal.

Titration with an Indicator

What’s the Point of a Titration Again?
• To find the unknown concentration of an acid
or a base.
• So you perform the actual titration noting the
volume you started with and how much
volume of the titrant you added and then...
• Math! (Oh no! Not math! Anything but math!)

Titration Calculations: An Example
The balanced equation of a titration reaction is the key
calculating the unknown molarity. For example, sulfuric
acid is titrated with sodium hydroxide according to this
H2SO4 (aq) + 2 NaOH (aq)  Na2SO4 (aq) + 2 H2O (l)
1) Calculate the moles of NaOH in the standard from the
titration data: molarity of the base (MB) and the volume of the
base (VB). In other words, MB VB = (mol/L)(L) = mol NaOH in
2) From the equation, you know that the mole ratio of NaOH to
H2SO4 is 2:1. Two moles of NaOH are required to neutralize 1
mol of H2SO4. mol H2SO4 titrated = mol NaOH in standard x (1
mol H2SO4 / 2 mol NaOH)
3) MA represents the molarity of the acid and VA represents the
volume of the acid in liters. MA = mol H2SO4 titrated/VA

In Short Form...
MAVA = MBVB (mol acid/mol base)
This is the mole ratio

Does this make sense? Let’s find out using the

definition of molarity (mol/L) and dimensional
MAVA = MBVB (mol acid/mol base)
(mol acid/L acid)(L acid) = (mol base/L base)(L base) (mol acid/mol base)
mol acid = mol base (mol acid/mol base)
mol acid = mol acid

1) What is the purpose of a titration? How is it
performed (in general)?
2) What is the difference between the equivalence
point and the end point of a titration?
3) Describe the differences in the titration curve of
a strong-strong titration vs. a strong-weak
4) When is the equivalence point of a titration not
at pH 7? Why does this occur?
5) What is the molarity of a nitric acid solution if
43.33 mL of 0.1000 M KOH solution is needed
to neutralize 20.00 mL of the acid solution?
6) What is the concentration of a household
ammonia cleaning solution if 49.90 mL of
0.5900 M HCl is required to neutralize 25.00
mL of the solution?
7) How many milliliters of 0.500 M NaOH would
neutralize 25.00 mL of 0.100 M H2SO4?