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Soap-Making Manual by E. G. Thomssen

Methyl orange indicator added and titrated with normal acid


weigh the caustic soda or potash place about five grams on a watch glass on a balance and weigh as rapidly as possible. Wash into a 500 cubic centimeter volumetric flask and bring to the mark with distilled water. Pipette off 50 cubic centimeters into a 200 cubic centimeter beaker, dilute slightly with distilled water, add a few drops of methyl orange indicator and titrate with normal acid. For the carbonates about 1 gram may be weighed, washed into a 400 cubic centimeter beaker, diluted with distilled water, methyl orange indicator added and titrated with normal acid. It is advisable to use methyl orange indicator in these titrations as phenolphthalein is affected by the carbon dioxide generated when an acid reacts with a carbonate and does not give the proper end point, unless the solution is boiled to expel the carbon dioxide. Litmus may also be used as the indicator, but here again it is necessary to boil as carbon dioxide also affects this substance. As an aid to the action of these common indicators the following table may be helpful:

_Color in _Color in _Indicator._ Acid Alkaline _Action of Solution._ Solution._ CO_{2}._

Methyl orange Red Yellow Very slightly acid Phenolphthalein Colorless Red Acid Litmus Red Blue Acid


may be further stated that methyl orange at the neutral point is orange in color.

To calculate the percentage of effective alkali from the above titrations, it must be first pointed out that in the case of caustic potash or soda aliquot portions are taken. This is done to reduce the error necessarily involved by weighing, as the absorption of water is decided. Thus we had, say, exactly 5 grams which weighed 5.05 grams by the time it was balanced. This was dissolved in 500 cubic centimeters of water and 50 cubic centimeters or one tenth of the amount of the solution was taken, or in each 50 cubic centimeters there were 0.505 grams of the sample. We thus reduced the error of weighing by one tenth provided other conditions introduce no error. In the case of the carbonates the weight is taken directly.

One cubic centimeter of a normal acid solution is the equivalent of:

Grams. Sodium Carbonate, Na_{2}CO_{3} 0.05305 Sodium Hydroxide, NaOH 0.04006 Sodium Oxide, Na_{2}O 0.02905 Carbonate K_{2}CO_{3} 0.06908 Potassium Hydroxide, KOH 0.05616 Potassium Oxide, K_{2}O 0.04715

Hence to arrive at the alkalinity we multiply the number of cubic centimeters, read on the burette, by the factor opposite the terms in which we desire to express the alkalinity, divide the weight in grams thus obtained by the original weight taken, and multiply the result by 100, which gives the percentage of alkali in the proper terms. For example, say, we took the 0.505 grams of caustic potash as explained above and required 8.7 cubic centimeter normal acid to neutralize the solution, then

8.7 x .05616 = .4886 grams KOH in sample

.4886 ----- x 100 = 96.73% KOH in sample. .505

Caustic potash often contains some caustic soda, and while it is possible to express the results in terms of KOH, regardless of any trouble that may be caused by this mixture in soap making, an error is introduced in the results, not all the alkali being caustic potash. In such cases it is advisable to consult a book on analysis as the analysis is far more complicated than those given we will not consider it. The presence of carbonates, as already stated, also causes an error. To overcome this the alkali is titrated in absolute alcohol, filtering off the insoluble carbonate. The soluble portion is caustic hydrate and may be titrated as such. The carbonate remaining on the filter paper is dissolved in water and titrated as carbonate.

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