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Authored by: Pradyot Patnaik

Handbook of Environmental Analysis

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781498745611
eBook ISBN: 9781315151946
Adobe ISBN:


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Alkalinity of water is a measure of its acid-neutralizing ability. The titrable bases that contribute to the total alkalinity of a sample are generally the hydroxides, carbonates, and bicarbonates. However, other bases such as phosphates, borates, and silicates can also contribute to the total alkalinity. The alkalinity value depends on the pH end point designated in the titration. The two end points commonly fixed in the determination of alkalinity are the pH 8.3 and pH 4.5 (or between 4.3 and 4.9, depending on the test conditions). When the alkalinity is determined to pH 8.3, it is termed phenolphthalein alkalinity. In such alkalinity titration, phenolphthalein or metacresol purple may be used as an indicator. On the other hand, the total alkalinity is measured by titrating the sample to pH 4.5 using bromocresol green as the indicator. Alkalinity may also be determined by potentiometric titration to the preselected pH. An acid standard solution, usually 0.02 N H2SO4 or HCl, is used in all titrations.

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