Wood Ash Titration Lab at Gordon College
Written by Paige Frasier
On Friday, Mrs. Pinho’s Chemistry class took a trip to Gordon College to perform an experiment in one of their labs. Our class loves doing this because we get to do experiments in a real scientific lab. We also get to work with Professor Levy (who is the head of the Chemistry department) and some of the students attending Gordon. For this particular experiment we performed the titration of water mixed with wood ashes, and KHP, an acid. A titration is the process of reacting a base with an acid (or vice versa) while using an indicator, in order to determine the unknown concentration of one of the reactants. An indicator is a substance that turns one color when exposed to an acid and another color when exposed to a base. Enough base has to be added to the acid in order for all of the acid to be reacted. This will then cause the liquid to change color, because of the presence of the indicator.
When we went to Gordon, we were able to apply what we had learned in class with Mrs. Pinho by performing a titration in the lab. We titrated the acid KHP with the base of wood ash. We did this by filtering wood ash into water; we also dissolved the KHP in water so that it would be possible to react the wood ash and the KHP together. We slowly added the wood ash to the KHP until the KHP turned a faint pink color. We did this twice with different batches of KHP, to know when the endpoint of the titration occurred. We are so fortunate to be able to work in the lab at Gordon and experience what the performance of experiments is actually like for chemists.