Biodiesel Titrating methods: some including non-chemicals

I have posted articles before about performing titrations for Biodiesel productions. This article supports pervious hubs and provides an alternative titration method using turmeric. Similar titrations can be done using red cabbage too.

MATERIALS NEEDED

1- bottle of isopropyl alcohol.

In the USA, Iso-HEET® Premium Fuel System Dryer & Antifreeze, 12 fl. oz. in the red bottle is available at all fine auto shops and is about 100% isopropyl alcohol. $2.00.

Also, in the USA rubbing alcohol is Isopropyl alcohol so get some that is at least 70% isopropyl

OR

1- bottle of Ethanol.

In Australia and many other countries, "methylated spirits", commonly called "Metho" is 95% ethanol and only about $2 a litre. Works great.

1- bottle of Phenol Red Normally used to check the pH of swimming pools and is easily available from all fine pool shops.

OR

1 container of Ground Tumeric Tumeric is a spice and is readily obtainable from all Fine grocery stores.

1 Box Flat Wooden Tooth Picks

1-litre of "Titrating Fluid"

"Titrating Fluid" is made by disolving 1g NaOH into 1 litre of distilled or Rain Water. In a pinch, tap water will work too.

As you might not have particularly accurate scales, one way of achieving this is to measure out 10g NaOH and dissolve this into 1 litre of distilled or rain water.

Now take 100ml of this water and mix with 900ml distilled or rain water.

You now have pretty close to the 1g NaOH in 1 litre of distilled or rain water.

Or, go to your local pharmacist or High School Science Dept and ask them to do the measuring for you.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

1- 50ml medicine measure with ml graduations marked on the side. The tapered ones are best.

2- glass 1 ml eyedroppers with graduations marked on the side.

1- plastic chopstick

Total equipment cost should be under $10 and is good for hundreds of titrations.

No fair counting the cost of a meal at your favourite Chinese shop to steal a chopstick.

THE PROCEDURE USING PHENOL RED

1. Pour about 10ml of room temp alcohol (Isopropyl or Ethanol} into the 50 ml medicine measure.

2. Add 3 to 5 drops of phenol red to the alcohol.

3 Fill one of the eyedroppers with "Titrating Fluid" and while using the chopstick to vigorously stir, slowly, drop by drop, add "Titrating Fluid" to the alcohol until the alcohol just starts to turn colour and then STOP.

You have just performed the "Blank Titration" The "Blank Titration" neutralizes any acid that may be in the alcohol.

You are now ready to titrate the oil in question.

4 Using the other eyedropper, add exactly 1ml of the oil to be titrated to the alcohol.

5. Place into microwave oven and microwave until the First Bubble appears (5 or 10 seconds)STOP Note: This step is not absolutely necessary.

6. Now, always filling the first eyedropper with exactly 1ml of Titrating Fluid, start dropping the Titrating fluid into the medicine measure while stirring vigorously with the chopstick.

I find an up and down motion which breaks the oil up against the bottom of the medicine glass works best.

Do not stop stirring

7.Keep track of how many ml of "Titrating Fluid" is needed for the liquid to turn and remain its deepest, darkest purple/ red for at least 30 seconds.

This is your titration number which you then add to 5 to find out how many grams of NaOH is needed per litre of WVO.

It takes longer to read it than to do it.

THE PROCEDURE USING TUMERIC

1. Pour about 10ml of room temp alcohol (Isopropyl or Ethanol} into the 50 ml medicine measure.

2. Scoop out a tiny amount of Ground Tumeric on the wide end of a toothpick.

2a Put the tumeric into the alcohol and use the Chopstick to stir it well into the Alcohol

The Alcohol should now be a nice yellow colour.

3 Fill one of the eyedroppers with "Titrating Fluid" and while using the chopstick to vigorously stir, slowly, drop by drop, add "Titrating Fluid" to the alcohol until the alcohol just starts to turn colour and then STOP.

You have just performed the "Blank Titration" The "Blank Titration" neutralizes any acid that may be in the alcohol.

You are now ready to titrate the oil in question.

4 Using the other eyedropper, add exactly 1ml of the oil to be titrated to the alcohol.

5. Place into microwave oven and microwave until the First Bubble appears (5 or 10 seconds)STOP Note: This step is not absolutely necessary.

6. Now, always filling the first eyedropper with exactly 1ml of "Titrating Fluid", start dropping the "Titrating Fluid" into the medicine measure while stirring vigorously with the chopstick.

I find an up and down motion which breaks the oil up against the bottom of the medicine glass works best.

Do not stop stirring

7.Keep track of how many ml of "Titrating Fluid" is needed for the liquid to turn and remain a light pink for about 20 seconds before the colour fades..

This is your titration number which you then add to 5 to find out how many grams of NaOH is needed per litre of WVO.

It takes longer to read it than to do it.

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