Chem Club Hosts First Titration Tournament• October 29, 2010
Chemistry Professor Lon Porter - The Titration “Sudden Death” Tournament is a new annual event hosted by the Chemistry Club each fall. It puts a uniquely competitive, Wabash spin on one of the central analytical techniques explored by students in their chemistry laboratory classes.
This technique is known as the acid-base titration. While titration analysis was first performed in 18th century France, it was not until the mid- to late-1800’s (when atomic weights and stoichiometry were more firmly understood) that titration became a standard method of chemical analysis. Titration still plays a very prominent role in modern analytical chemistry and is one of the more memorable Wabash chemistry lab traditions.
In Thursday's exciting event, students were nominated by each campus living unit to compete in titration duels, where accuracy under pressure is put to the test. Two students face off in each round and are given samples of acidic compounds dissolved in water, however the concentration of these substances is not revealed to the contestants. When the duel begins, students use a buret (a long, graduated glass tube with a precision tap for liquid delivery) to carefully add an alkaline solution of known concentration until they observe a very faint color change (colorless to faint pink) due to the presence of an acid/base indicator. This color change typically indicates that the added base has neutralized the acid in their sample.
In photos: Upper right, Porter working with students. Lower left, Champion Birch