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Do ketones affect moisture readings in Karl Fischer Titration?

By Hank Levi on Mon, Nov 13, 2023 @ 03:40 PM

Yes, ketones can potentially affect moisture readings in Karl Fischer titration. This is because ketones can react with the methanol in common Karl Fischer reagents, forming acetals, which also react with the reagent and produce water. This additional water is then titrated and can cause the moisture reading to be too high. In order to avoid this, it is important to ensure that the titration cell is cleaned thoroughly after each analysis to remove any traces of ketones that may be present. If traces of ketones are left in the cell, it can cause erroneous readings and affect the overall accuracy of the moisture measurement.  Additionally, there are some specialty reagents, Coulomat AK and Coulomat CGK,  that can be used to help limit this side reaction....and also you have the option of using a Volumetric Karl Fischer Titrator to get around this problem.


                                               Learn more about Karl Fischer Titration

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The Importance of Validating Burettes on an Automatic Titrator

By Mark Levi on Mon, Jun 26, 2023 @ 03:38 PM

This might sound a bit technical but has significant importance in the world of chemistry: validating burettes on an automatic titrator.

For those who are not familiar with burettes, they are glass tubes used in laboratories to measure the volume of liquid dispensed. They are essential in titration, a process of chemical analysis used to determine the concentration of an unknown solution by reacting it with a known solution.

An automatic titrator, on the other hand, is a device used to automate the titration process. It reduces human error, increases precision, and saves time. However, to ensure accurate results, it is crucial to validate the burettes used in the titrator.IMG-0807-1

Now, let me get personal and share a story. I once worked in a lab where we had a faulty burette that was not calibrated correctly. We did not realize it until we compared our results with another lab, and they were different. We had to redo all our tests, causing a significant delay in our research. It taught me the importance of validating instruments before conducting any experiments.

To validate a burette, we need to check its accuracy by measuring the volume of liquid it dispenses. We can use a standard solution of a known concentration to verify the accuracy and precision of the burette. This process ensures that the titration results are reliable and trustworthy.

Here's a random fact related to the topic. Did you know that the burette was invented by a French chemist named Francois Antoine Henri Descroizilles in 1824?

To sum this all up,  validating burettes on an automatic titrator is crucial to ensure accurate results in chemical analysis. It may seem like a small step, but it can make a significant difference in research and experiments. So, let's not overlook the importance of this process and always validate our instruments before conducting any tests.

P.S, Check out our Burette Validation & Repair Service. 

To Subscribe, and keep up with these excursions through the sometimes mystical world of test equipment simply post your email at the upper right corner of this piece.

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Benefits of Using Karl Fischer Moisture Titration vs. Other Methods

By Hank Levi on Thu, Jun 22, 2023 @ 04:33 PM

Accurate measurement of moisture content is essential to ensure the quality and consistency of your products. There are several methods available for measuring moisture content, but one of the most reliable and accurate methods is Karl Fischer moisture titration.

Karl Fischer moisture titration is a widely used method for measuring moisture content in a variety of materials, including solids, liquids, and gases. This method is based on the reaction between water and a Karl Fischer reagent, which produces a measurable electrical signal. The amount of water present in the sample can be calculated from the electrical signal, providing a precise measurement of moisture content.

One of the main benefits of using Karl Fischer moisture titration is its high accuracy. This method can detect moisture levels as low as 0.001%, making it ideal for applications where even small amounts of moisture can have a significant impact on product quality. In addition, Karl Fischer moisture titration is highly selective, meaning that it only reacts with water and not other substances in the sample. This makes it an excellent choice for measuring moisture content in complex mixtures.

Another advantage of Karl Fischer moisture titration is its versatility. This method can be used to measure moisture content in a wide range of materials, including pharmaceuticals, food products, and industrial chemicals. It can also be used to measure moisture content in gases, making it an essential tool for applications such as natural gas processing and semiconductor manufacturing.

Compared to other methods for measuring moisture content, Karl Fischer moisture titration is also relatively fast and easy to perform. The titration process can be automated, reducing the risk of human error and increasing efficiency. This makes it an excellent choice for high-throughput applications where speed and accuracy are essential.

Share this with associates who may find  an analysis of Karl Fischer titration useful.

Learn More or request a quote

Get more Karl Fischer Info (technical)

Request a quote for a Karl Fischer Titrator

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Total Base Number (TBN), ASTMD2896-21, ASTMD4739-17 - WEBINAR SERIES

By Hank Levi on Fri, Apr 28, 2023 @ 02:56 PM

If you want to know more about Total Base Number (TBN) then this is for you.  In this webinar we cover both of the popular ASTM methods, ASTM D2896-21 and ASTM D4739-17.  This is a great training webinar for those who are just learning about it and for those seasoned pros who need a little refresher training.

We will do our best to answer:

  • What is TBN (Total Base Number)?
  • Why do we test for TBN (Total Base Number)?
  • How do we test for TBN (Total Base Number)?
  • How to setup the titration application on an automatic titrator
  • Common problems to avoid
  • Best practices you should follow

This is an on-demand webinar where you will be able to download information as well as the presentation.  You can communicate with us in real time via email while you watch the webinar.  The webinar is about 45 minutes long and even has a short quiz at the end.


Screenshot 2023-04-10 at 3.14.17 PM


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Webinar Series: TAN (total acid number) ASTM D664

By Hank Levi on Tue, Feb 07, 2023 @ 02:46 PM

In this short 30 minute webinar we dive into understanding the common titration application known as TAN or "total acid number", also known as,  ASTM D664.  As part of our titration webinar series we have a fun and uncomplicated talk about this titration application known as "total acid number".  

In this short but informative webinar we explore:

  • What is TAN, total acid number, ASTM D664?
  • Why do we test for it?
  • How do we test for it?
  • How do you set up the titration application?
  • What are common problems you need to avoid?
  • Best practices you should know about and try to follow

It only takes a few seconds to register for this highly interactive webinar (recorded).  You will be able to watch, send us emails with questions, download various application resources including the application notes, electrode prep tips, and more.

This is a valuable tool for seasoned experts and first timers.


                               WATCH THE TOTAL ACID NUMBER (TAN) (ASTM D664) WEBINAR NOW


Screenshot 2023-02-07 at 1.47.20 PM


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How to measure salt in potato chips using an automatic titrator

By Hank Levi on Fri, Nov 25, 2022 @ 12:06 PM

There are still many who test salt content by hand and so the thought of using an automatic titrator might sound intimidating.  It's not. Really.  So we thought it would help if we made some videos to explain some of the basic steps involved and show for those who have never seen one what a titrator looks like.  To be sure there are many capable titrators that can do the job so don't get completely caught up in which one is best but think more about the benefits of automating a test that is repeated many times daily.  

In the following videos we provide a step by step look at how a sample (potato chips) would be prepared and tested using an automatic titrator with the help of a 6 position sample changer.  

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION:  Testing Salt in Potato Chips with Titrator


1. Silver Nitrate; 1.0 or 0.1 normal strength (This is the titrant that you will use)

2. Combined silver electrode (it's a silver and pH electrode combined)


1.  How do you currently prep your sample.  This process should not really change.  Sample prep is important though and should be considered.

2. Know the ingredients of your sample.  You should have a pretty good idea about the types of chlorides and sodium that may be found in your sample.

Get More Information on Salt Testing Equipment.  Click here

Salt Testing  


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Salt Titration; How much does it cost per test?

By Hank Levi on Thu, Aug 26, 2021 @ 03:49 PM

We get this question a lot.  So, we decided to try and figure it out the best we can.  In this analysis, we are only going to examine and include the per-unit cost of the titrator (automatic) and the reagents (silver nitrate - AgNO3).  It seems we could include other factors including human resources and electrical power requirements but these can vary greatly so we will leave them out of this analysis.  Additional ancillary costs can always be added later.

Let's start off by assuming we purchase a basic automatic titrator for $8,500.00  

Next, let's examine our most required consumable.  Silver Nitrate- AgNO3.

Food LableTo do this we need to assume a sample with a given amount of sodium.  Sodium is generally expressed in mg on food labels. 


We performed a salt titration on this food product (soy sauce).  On the label, we can see that the amount of sodium is 590mg of sodium per serving.  For this titration (see below), you can see we used 15.8ml of silver nitrate @ (0.1N mol).   

Salt Titration Results

Salt Titration Curve

Note that silver nitrate can come in different strengths so there is a little math we need to consider when deciding on which strength of silver nitrate we should use.

Let's consider using a different strength silver nitrate.  Let's look at using 0.5N mol instead of the 0.1N mol we used in our test.  Initially, we used 0.1N for our titration.  So dividing 15.8mL by 5 helps us see that using a bit stronger silver nitrate will reduce our consumption of silver nitrate.  In this case,  around 3mL per test.   But it's not that simple.  Conversely, we can change the strength of the silver nitrate and make it stronger as long as you don't have other samples that have a lot less sodium.  Otherwise, it would be too strong for the other samples with less sodium and it would not be ideal in those situations (You probably would not find the endpoint).  Bottom line, if you are working with only one burette (doses the silver nitrate), then you are going to need to pick a silver nitrate strength that can be used for all of your samples.  The only alternative would be to refill the burette each time with different strength silver nitrate, or, have a swappable burette on hand.  Having a swappable burette means you can have preloaded burettes with different strength silver nitrate and you can then easily swap them on and off the titrator when needed.  Even better, some titrators can be configured to have two or more onboard burettes which would alleviate the need for manually swapping burettes. 

Let's ignore this for the moment and continue to focus on our cost analysis assuming a single burette.

To give you an idea about pricing for silver nitrate. 

  •  We recently purchased some 0.1N mol Silver Nitrate (strength).  A 1 Liter bottle cost approximately $75.00.  Divide $75.00 by 1,000 and the per mL cost is $0.075 per mL of 0.1N mol silver nitrate.   Assume 15.8mL of 0.1N mol silver nitrate per test => 15.8x$0.075=$1.19 per test.
  • Assume 0.5N mol Silver Nitrate (strength). => 15.8mL divided by 5 = 3.2mL of silver nitrate per test. (e.g. you will use less with stronger).  Some recent pricing for 0.5N mol; $170.00 / 500mL => $0.34 per mL, or Bulk pricing if you buy a larger bottle $1,000.00 / 4L (4,000mL) => $0.25 per mL ~ 3.2mL per test x $0.34 per mL = $1.09 per test or 3.2mL x $.25 per mL = $0.80 per test.

So if you can purchase silver nitrate in bulk you can drive down your per test cost.

When you decide to test for salt (NaCl) using a titrator you are going to have that initial outlay to pay for the titrator.  After that, it's really a question of what strength of silver nitrate you are using and the amount you are using.   Hopefully, from this example, you can see how the price per test can range from about $0.80 per test to almost $1.20 per test.  So if we do some estimating you could say on average it costs about $1.00 per test.  If you are testing 200 samples per day your daily cost for silver nitrate will cost you about $200.00.

Now let's assume depreciation of the titrator using the straight-line method with the useful life of the titrator equal to 5 years (I think this is what a tax accountant would assume for tax purposes).  $8,500 / 5 = $1,700.00 per year.  Let's assume 251 working days per year ==> $1,700 / 251 = $6.73 per working day in depreciation expense.  In this case, divide that by 200 tests today, and that = $0.03 per test.  

I think these numbers (for the most part) provide a good working basis for determining daily operating costs.  They're probably not perfect but they show you how to go about figuring this out. As always we hope you find this information helpful!


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How-To set up and run acid & salt titrations

By Hank Levi on Tue, Jun 08, 2021 @ 02:51 PM

This article is not intended to explain a manual titration process but rather how you can configure an automatic titration system to run both acid and salt titrations independently and or as a combined method.

Performing acid and salt titrations is a popular requirement in the food industry.  Some foods like tomatoes for example tend to have naturally occurring acidic properties but also take on a salt component when processed into other intermediary products like pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce.  

Although sodium (Na) is an important element to measure and report on food labels, salt (NaCl) content is also important in measuring to ensure the taste is good and repeatable during the production process.

Performing titrations whether manually or with the use of an automatic titrator involves a burette where specific amounts of titrant are delivered to evaluate the potential and or content of what is being measured. Results are usually reported in % for both acidity and salt content.

Here is an example of how you might set up a titration for testing both acidity and salt.  Below we have 2 scenarios.  The first scenario is configured so that the titration for both acidity and salt can be performed using a single sample.  To accomplish this you will need 3 burettes.  We will first perform the acidity titration using burette #1 with NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide) as our titrant.  In our example, during the acidity titration, the pH will rise to about 8.2.  At the end of the acidity titration, the pH level will be too high for us to run the salt titration so we will need to lower the pH.  We accomplish this task by dosing HNO3 (Nitric Acid) into the sample using the burette on the Automatic Piston Burette (APB ~ we will call this burette #3).  We will dose HNO3 to reduce the pH down to about 4.1.  Once the pH level is reduced the salt titration can begin.  The second burette (burette #2) located on the titrator then performs the salt titration using silver nitrate (AgNO3) as the titrant.  It is worth noting that silver nitrate comes in various strengths and so depending on your sample and the amount of "salt" you expect to find, you may need to adjust the strength (1.0N vs. 0.5N vs 0.1N, etc).

What the setup will look like

Salt and Acid drawing.jpg

Electrodes we will use:

  • pH glass electrode (noted as H171 in the diagram)
  • combined silver electrode (noted as C373 in the diagram)

When running the titration using only one sample to obtain both the acidity % and the salt %, we will use both electrodes as the combined silver electrode will act as a reference electrode for the pH electrode. 

When running a single titration on two different samples in two different beakers, leave both electrodes and nozzles in the samples ensuring to clean the nozzles and electrodes between tests of each sample.  In this scenario, the combined silver electrode (C373) will also work as a reference electrode for the pH electrode (H171) while running the acidity titration.

Summary of key consumable:
  • Silver Nitrate (AgNO3) titrant for salt titrations
  • Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) titrant for acidity titrations
  • Nitric Acid (HNO3) buffer if combining methods
  • Combined Silver Electrode (C373) for salt titrations
  • pH glass electrode (H171) for acidity titrations

In the video below we show the titration setup described above.



We hope you find this information useful!

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Introducing our technical Web Helpers!

By Hank Levi on Mon, Nov 23, 2020 @ 01:58 PM

Hello!  Please meet our new Web Helpers!  Moisture Elle, Karl Fischer, Shaker Sam, Terri Tenso, and Vivian Visco!  Each of our helpers will provide technical information ranging from general topics to more in-depth discussion pertaining to; Moisture testing, Karl Fischer Titration, Particle Size Analysis, Surface Tension, and Viscosity.



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DA-130N Portable Density Meter Review

By Hank Levi on Tue, Sep 24, 2019 @ 04:17 PM

Watch this video to learn more about the very capable DA-130N Portable Density Meter.

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How an oil evaporator works with a Karl Fischer Titrator

By Hank Levi on Mon, Aug 26, 2019 @ 11:13 AM

Evaporators configured for use with Karl Fischer moisture testers can provide added benefit when testing for moisture in samples that are not easily solubilized in the titration cell.  In some cases even if it's possible to solubilize the sample in the titration cell you may find that it is better to use an evaporator to improve repeat testing by keeping the cell clean.  While traditonal Karl Fischer moistutre testing is performed using a direct injection method where a syringe and needle is used to introduce the liquid sample into the titration cell, the use of evaporators follow a different approach. 

Within the evaporator family there are SOLIDS EVAPORATORS that can range from 0 to 300 degree C as well as high heat solids evaporators that can range from 0 to 1,000 degree C. 

A typical OIL EVAPORATOR will have a range from 0 to 300 degree C. 

Solids evaporators will typically be used to measure moisture in these types of samples:

  • plastic pellets (pte, etc)
  • plastic parts (you can cut into smaller pieces with a pair of scissors)
  • paper material (transformers)
  • thick grease samples
  • thick petroleum based samples like heavy paints, etc
  • and the list goes on

Oil evaporators will generally be used when working with heavy crude oil samples with high turnover testing (keeping the cell clean).

In this video we will discuss and show how the oil evaporator works with a Karl Fischer Titrator.


Talking points include:

  • Karl Fischer Titrator
  • Oil Evaporator
  • Base Oil
  • Bubbler Tube
  • Nitrogen Gas Source
  • Regulator
  • Thermocouple
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The DA-130N portable density meter has twelve measurement modes and includes density of alcohol

By Hank Levi on Mon, Aug 20, 2018 @ 09:20 AM

Hand held density meters are very useful tools.  You can take them with you and perform any of these 12 tasks.

1) Density 5) API 9) Baume
2) Comp. Density 6) Brix 10) Plato
3) SG(t/t) 7) Alcohol 11) Proof
4) SG 8) H2SO4 12) Conc.


(1) Measurement of density

(2) Measurement of temperature compensated density

(3) Measurement of specific gravityMeasurement of true specific gravity at displayed measurement temperature

(4) Measurement of specific gravity temperature compensatedMeasurement of true specific gravity at preset temperature

(5) Measurement of API degreeMeasurement of density or API degree compensated in temperature to 15 degree C or 60 degree F for the product group A, B or D.

Selection of temperature, 15 degree C or 60 degree F, will be automatically made when setting the temperature unit. Product group A: Crude oil

[Measurement of density: API A (Density) Product group B: Fuel, Petroleum products

[Measurement of density: API B (Density) Product group D: Lubricant

[Measurement of density: API D (Density)

(6) Measurement of Brix concentration

Measurement of API degree: API A (Degree)] Measurement of API degree: API B (Degree)] Measurement of API degree: API D (Degree)]

Measurement of Brix concentration (sucrose concentration expressed in weight %) based on density at 20 degree C

Get more DA-130N Portable Density Meter Information

(7) Measurement of Alcohol concentration

Measurement of alcohol concentration of Ethanol/Water mixed system in wt % or vol % at 15 degree C or 20 degree C calculated from the density at the measurement temperature. When setting of temperature unit is Fahrenheit

Measurement of alcohol concentration of Ethanol/Water mixed system in wt % or vol % at 60 degree F calculated from the density at the measurement temperature.

(8) Measurement of sulfuric acid concentration

Measurement of sulfuric acid concentration in weight % from density measured at 20 degree C

(9) Measurement of Baume degree

Measurement of Baume degree at converted temperature from density value measured at the measurement temperature

(10) Measurement of Plato degree

Measurement of Plato degree at 20 degree C from density obtained at measurement temperature

(11) Measurement of Proof degree

Measurement of Proof degree at 60 degree F from density obtained at measurement temperature Proof degree is one of the units for alcohol content, and there is US Proof and British Proof

Proof (US) : Measure in US Proof unit (100v/v%=200 US Proof)
Proof (IP) : Measure in UK Proof unit (100v/v%=175 British Proof)

(12) Concentration measurement by setting desired concentration conversion formula


Learn more about instruments that measure liquid density


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DA-130N portable density meter General Maintenance Guidelines

By Hank Levi on Tue, Jul 31, 2018 @ 03:18 PM

This is a quick guide to getting started and running your first test.  We thought it would be helpful for those getting started and checking their first calibration before running tests with actual samples.  We will also continue to explore and share more information about calibration options, general maintenance, and data export methods using the DA-130N portable density meter.

O.K.  Let's install three 'AAA' batteries to get started.installing the batteries.png

And then attach the sampling nozzle.  attaching the sample nozzle.png

A few words about precautions when taking test measurements.

measurement precautions.png

When measuring a sample make sure to hold the instrument so that the sampling nozzle is vertical to the ground.  When laying down the instrument between or after measurements make sure to drain the remaining sample from the built-in syring (the built-in syringe is located inside the meter right above the sampling nozzle).


Now let's run a preliminary test using water.  

Leave the temperature unit (Celsius), measurement unit (g/cm3) and mode (Field) as initial values. Sample pure water using the built-in syringe.  After the measurement cell is filled with sample liquid make sure there are no air bubbles in the cell.  If no air bubbles are visible then let's proceed.
Example procedure for running first test.
screen view at current temp before stablized.png
The display changes as above and after confirming it is in the automatic stability sense mode. Press [Meas.] key.  When the displayed density is stabalized the value will automatically change reversed as below.  Read the data at this point as well as the temperature degree.
screen changes reverse when stabalized.png
Look up to the pure water density table (appendix 1 in the manual).  If the results agree within +-0.001g/cm3, you can proceed to making your sample measurements!
Note: If the results are not within the acceptable range then the measuring cell requires calibration.

Calibration of the measuring cell using pure water


Set calibration mode to OFF.  Press the [esc] key 2 times to return to the main menu.  Sample pure water making sure no air bubbles are visible.  The measuring cell with pure water can be calibrated automatically with the key entries as follows:  Press [cal.] key for more than 2 seconds to show CALIB(Water) (inversed colo on the display) showing calibration with pure water in progress.

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 1.17.26 PM.png

After calibration is over the deviation from the theoretical value will be shown so that you can check if the calibration has been successfully completed.

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 1.17.33 PM.png

Note: if after attempting re-calibration of the measuring cell and results are still not within specifications it is possible the measuring cell itself is contaminated.  In this case ensure to carefully clean the measuring cell and then re-calibrate again.

Note 1: You can also calibrate with a standard liquid that has a known density.  Sometimes calibrating with a liquid that has a similar density to your test samples will help improve precision.

Note 2: You can also calibrate with air.

General maintenance - How to clean and dry the measuring cell and replace the built-in syringe

Step 1: Clean the measuring cell

You can thoroughly clean the measuring cell with just pure water.  You can also improve the cleaning of the measuring cell by using Ethyl Alcohol.  Ethyl Alcohol gets rid of dirt that cannot be removed with pure water and also reduces the amount of time to dry the measuring cell.

  • Estimate 5 to 10 minutes for the measuring cell to dry after cleaning with pure water
  • Estimate 3 to 5 minutes for the measuring cell to dry after cleaning with Ethyl Alcoho

Step 2: Purge air to dry the cell thoroughly and completely 

option using an air pump:

commercial pump to dry the cell.png


OR use the optional manual pump to dry the cell:

optional manual pump to dry the cell.png

When using the optional manual pump to dry the cell make sure to clean the cell first and then press the sample discharging lever all the way down, and push the sample intake lever upward to lock it.  With the adapter for the syringe attached connect the kit as illustrated above and feed air forcefully using the manual bulb.

How to replace the built-in syringe.Maitenance how to replace the built-in syringe.png

  • Press down the sample discharging lever all the way and remove the syringe cover by pulling it toward you as illustrated.
  • Turn the syringe 45degrees counter clockwise to release it from the o-ring.
  • Slightly pull the sample drain-out lever toward you to pull out the syringe from the o-ring.
  • Remove the syringe from the drain rack and replace it with a new one.
  • Pull down the drain rack and insert the o-ring  and turn it back clockwise until it stops.
  • Place the syringe cover back on the unit.


Data Processing and Storage

The maximum number of data which can be stored in the DA-130N memory is 1,100 samples.  Data can be set to be saved automatically or manually after each test.  You can recall stored measurement data on the DA-130N display again or output the data to a printer or PC.

Exporting data to a PC via Infrared:

Data export via infrared to PC.png

Exporting data to a PC via RS-232

Data export using RS-232 to PC.png

Sending data to a printer:

Exporting data to a printer via RS-232.png

Example printout of data:

Printout Sample for the DA-130N.png

We hope this information about this particula density meter is helpful.  If you need other capabilities beyond a traditional portable density meters refer to other bench top density meter models for increased accuracy. 

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Q&A: AT-710 Burette piston won't move

By Hank Levi on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 @ 03:36 PM

Sometimes pressing a button and hearing a beep just drives you crazy.  We know.  Below we received some video of a problem where the operator could not move the piston burette up or down on their automatic titrator.  We decided to replicate the problem and then show how to take corrective action.  We hope you find the video informative even though it is raw footage.  Send us your questions too.  Video, audio, pictures, etc.  We can use any format.


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What happened to Hydranal Karl Fischer Reagents?

By Hank Levi on Sun, Nov 05, 2017 @ 08:12 PM

There has been some confusion in the market place when it comes to purchasing Karl Fischer reagents and water standards.  Some of you who have traditionally ordered the Hydranal brand from Sigma Aldrich (and it's channel partners and dealers) are discovering now that the Karl Fischer reagents and waters standards are slightly different - If you order them from Sigma Aldrich.  The names on the bottles are kind of the same, but not exactly.


Some background - what happened to Sigma Aldrich

As many people know Sigma Aldrich for many years handled the Hydranal line of Karl Fischer Reagents and water standards.  Recently (within the past year and a half or so), a company called EMD who controls the other Karl Fisher reagent line called Aquastar purchased Sigma Aldrich.  As a result of this transaction Sigma Aldrich is now part of another company and is referred to as MilliporeSigma.The Sigma Alrdrich you used to know no longer provides the Hydranal brand but intstead now offers the Aquastar line of Karl Fischer Reagents and water standards.

What happened to the Hydranal brand of Karl Fischer reagents?

honeywelllogo.jpgA well-known company called Honeywell purchased and now controls the Hydranal line of Karl Fischer Reagents.  You can still order Hydranal brand coulometric Karl Fischer reagents and volumetric Karl Fischer reagents via Honeywell and it's channel partners and distributors.

What does this mean to you and how might this effect you?

As you can imagine this has triggered a lot of phone calls with questions from end-users to purchasing agents with questions like:

  • Are these reagents the same?
  • Can I use these reagents interchangeably?
  • What are the differences?
  • Hydranal vs. Aquastar?

Here's what we know

As a manufacturer and distributor of coulometric Karl Fischer titrators and volumetric Karl Fischer titrators for many years, we have worked with both the Aquastar and Hydranal brands extensively.  We are not here to tell you one is better than the other.  We can tell you that different model Karl Fischer titrators seem to work differently depending on the brand of Karl Fischer reagent used.  It might simply be an operators familiarity with working with one brand vs. the other or it might be because a specific application just works better with a certain Karl Fischer reagent.  

-While the design is that either of these brands should work we find subtle differences in chemistry-  

Are there any real key chemical differences between Hydranal and Aquastar?

To be fair we have not reached out to Aquastar for their perspective yet (we will - and update this post).  From the Hydranal technical center we have obtained some information about what they see as strengths in the Hydranal brand and some differences with the Aquastar brand.  Here are a few notable points:

1. Different performance.  Yes they do perform differently.

2. Different solvents are used.  Example:  Aquastar Combititrant is a copy of the old version of Hydranal Composite 5 where there was no 2-Methylimidazole.  Without 2-Methylimidazole, you can have reagent crystalization and stability issues.

3. Co-solvents are optimized in Hydranal.  Too much Chloroform can mess up the stoichiometry

4. Hydranal coulometric reagents are more unique

  • Hydranal has more buffering capacity
  • Larger volume of samples than Aquastar

5. Hydranal is very precise, convenient and consistent

As mentioned above we hope to get some additional information on the Aquastar line so we can share with you their strengths and differences.  In the meantime we hope this information has been helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to compare the reagents you currently use with the "other" brand just let us know.  We can provide a cross reference for all of the Karl Fischer reagents by brand and product.

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As always, we hope this information is helpful.










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Using the DA-130N portable density meter for the first time

By Hank Levi on Mon, May 15, 2017 @ 03:29 PM

This is a quick guide to getting started and running your first test.  We thought it would be helpful for those getting started and checking their first calibration before running tests with actual samples.  We will also continue to explore and share more information about calibration options, general maintenance, and data export methods using the DA-130N portable density meter in future posts.

First, lets review and identify the parts of the DA-130N Portable Density Meter:

Front view of the DA-130N.png


Side view of the DA-130N.png


Rear view of the DA-130N.png

Display Window.png


O.K.  Now let's get started and install three 'AAA' batteries...installing the batteries.png

...And then attach the sampling nozzle.  attaching the sample nozzle.png

A few words about precautions when taking test measurements.

measurement precautions.png

When measuring a sample make sure to hold the instrument so that the sampling nozzle is vertical to the ground.  When laying down the instrument between or after measurements make sure to drain the remaining sample from the built-in syring (the built-in syringe is located inside the meter right above the sampling nozzle).

 builtinsryring2.pngMaintenance - replacing the built-in syringe.png

Now let's run a preliminary test using water.  

Leave the temperature unit (Celsius), measurement unit (g/cm3) and mode (Field) as initial values. Sample pure water using the built-in syringe.  when using the built-in syringe to introduce the sample.png
  1. Make sure the sample discharging lever is pushed down to the bottom.
  2. If not, slowly push it down with your thumb.
  3. Dip the sampling nozzle in the sample liquid.
  4. Slowly pull the sampling lever with the forefinger. When the cell is filled with sample, release your finger.
After the measurement cell is filled with sample liquid make sure there are no air bubbles in the cell.  If no air bubbles are visible then let's proceed.
Example procedure for running first test.
screen view at current temp before stablized.png
The display changes as above and after confirming it is in the automatic stability sense mode. Press [Meas.] key.  When the displayed density is stabalized the value will automatically change reversed as below.  Read the data at this point as well as the temperature degree.
screen changes reverse when stabalized.png
Look up to the pure water density table (appendix 1 in the manual).  If the results agree within +-0.001g/cm3, you can proceed to making your sample measurements!
Note: If the results are not within the acceptable range then the measuring cell requires calibration.

Calibration of the measuring cell using pure water


Set calibration mode to OFF.  Press the [esc] key 2 times to return to the main menu.  Sample pure water making sure no air bubbles are visible.  The measuring cell with pure water can be calibrated automatically with the key entries as follows:  Press [cal.] key for more than 2 seconds to show CALIB(Water) (inversed colo on the display) showing calibration with pure water in progress.

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 1.17.26 PM.png

After calibration is over the deviation from the theoretical value will be shown so that you can check if the calibration has been successfully completed.

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 1.17.33 PM.png

Note: if after attempting re-calibration of the measuring cell and results are still not within specifications it is possible the measuring cell itself is contaminated.  In this case ensure to carefully clean the measuring cell and then re-calibrate again.

Note 1: You can also calibrate with a standard liquid that has a known density.  Sometimes calibrating with a liquid that has a similar density to your test samples will help improve precision.

Note 2: You can also calibrate with air.

Some other useful things to know when working with different types of samples:

For more viscous samples over 2,000mPa.s it's a good idea to use the optional syringe adapter set. Almost any commerciall available syringe (plastic works great) will work.  You just need to order the female adapter to make it work (Adapter part number is 12-04428-02)

Sample introduction via Syringe Option.png

When working with samples under 2,000mPa.s of viscosity but where samples contain particles or grains that may crystallize when dry we suggest you use the supplied bellows pump (swap out the built-in syringe for this). 

Maitenance how to replace the built-in syringe.png


We hope this information has been helpful!

Get more DA-130N Portable Density Meter Information

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Regular Bostwick Consistometer vs. Long Bostwick Consistometer

By Hank Levi on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 @ 01:22 PM

Many of us have used the CSC Bostwick Bostwick Consistometer.pngConsistometer and are familiar with it's operation.  Pressing down the gate and loading the trigger is step one.  Pouring in your sample and scraping off the top to a clean and even surface is important to getting repeatable results.  With a stopwatch in one hand, "popping" the trigger and letting the sample flow out and down the trough comes next.  Some tests are designed to see how far a sample will flow in say, 10 seconds.  Another testing approach might be to time the movement of the sample until it reaches a pre-determined point (bostwick).  If you have ever noticed in the bottom of the tray there are lines with numbers ranging from 0 to 24 (you really can't see a number 24 because the tray stops exactly at what would be 24).  Over the years these lines with numbers have affectionatly become to be known as "bostwicks". 

Most recently we have had requests to extend the length of the Bostwick Consistometer to accommodate samples that require more time and distance.  Not every sample flows the same way so this seemed like a good idea.  So to meet these needs we have now just started to offer a longer version of the Bostwick Consistometer!  Don't worry we still have the regular length Bostwick Consistometer available.

Bostwick Consistometers.jpg

  • The long version of the Bostwick Consistometer (part# 24925-000L) now extends from 0 to 32.  
  • The regular length Bostwick Consistometer (part#  24925-000) has a range of 0 to 24.  





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What is water activity?

By Hank Levi on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 @ 03:16 PM

There is sometimes confusion about water activity and how it relates to water content.  Water content is how much.  Water activity (aw) tells us about the energy of the water.  Both are measurable.  

Water Content

We know a lot about water content and how to measure it using various popular methods including loss on drying, Karl Fischer titration, capacitance and more.  Water content is typically expressed in % or Parts Per Million (PPM).

Water Activity

Water Activity is the amount of unbound water in a sample.  Water that is not bound to the ingredients themselves can be used by unwanted microorganisms which could lead to one of the contributing factors for food spoilage.  Water activity is a vaporpressure.pngthermodynamic measure of water expressed as the vapor pressure of water in a sample divided by vapor pressure of pure water at a given temperature.  

Water Activity is based on a scale from 0.0 to 1.0 


The more unbound water we have the more likelihood we have for microbial spoilage. Water Activity (aw) Meters measure the unbound water vapor pressures to determine microbial spoilage, chemical and physical stability. 


Well documented and scientifically established guidelines that are also supported by FDA regulations outline these thresholds of microbial limits using a water activity (aw) range or scale.  This water activity (aw) range provides the lowest rating for inhibition of microorganism and other degradative chemical and physical reactions that effect shelf life in foods (see chart below).  

                                     Get more Water Activity information

Water Activity & Growth of Microorganisms in Food

Range of aw Microorganisms generally inhibited by lowest aw in the range Foods generally with this range
1.00-0.95 Pseudomonas,Escherichia,Proteus,Shigella,Klebsiella,Bacillus,Clostridium perfringens, some yeasts Highly perishable foods and canned fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, milk, and beverages
0.95-0.91 Salmonella, Salmonella, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, C. botulinum, Serratia, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, some molds, yeasts (Rhodotorula, Pichia) Some cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss,Muenster, Provolone), cured meat (ham), bread, tortillas
0.91-0.87 Many yeasts (Candida, Torulopsis, Hansenula), Micrococcus Fermented sausage (salami),
sponge cakes, dry cheeses,
0.87-0.80 Most molds (mycotoxigenic penicillia), Staphyloccocus aureus, most Saccharomyces (bailii) spp., Debaryomyces Most fruit juice concentrates,
sweetened condensed milk,
syrups, jams, jellies, soft pet food
0.80-0.75 Most halophilic bacteria, mycotoxigenic aspergilli Marmalade, marzipan, glacé fruits, beef jerky
0.75-0.65 Xerophilic molds (Aspergillus chevalieri, A. candidus, Wallemia sebi), Saccharomyces bisporus Molasses, raw cane sugar, some dried fruits, nuts, snack bars, snack cakes
0.65-0.60 Osmophilic yeasts (Saccharomyces rouxii), few molds (Aspergillus echinulatus, Monascus bisporus) Dried fruits containing 15-20% moisture; some toffees and caramels; honey, candies
0.60-0.50 No microbial proliferation Dry pasta, spices, rice, confections, wheat
0.50-0.40 No microbial proliferation Whole egg powder, chewing
gum, flour, dry beans
0.40-0.30 No microbial proliferation  Cookies, crackers, bread crusts, breakfast cereals, dry pet food, peanut butter
 0.30-0.20  No microbial proliferation  Whole milk powder, dried
vegetables, freeze dried corn

*Adapted from L.R. Beuchat, Cereal Foods World, 26:345 (1981) 

Pure water that is unencumbered has more energy and therefore can be available and used to do bad things by microorganisms.  As water comes in contact with a material substance the water's energy and water activity (aw) decrease. Water reacts differently with different material substances and can have a higher or lower water activity rating* (aw).  A water activity (aw) number closer to the top of the chart closer to 1.00 has a higher water activity while those lower have less.

Understanding and documenting how water activity is effected by different material substances provides valuable information.   Using this information provides a way for us to take proactive measures to lower water activity as we seek to improve microbial, chemical and structure stability of foods, pharmaceuticals, and other materials. 


Packaging to improve shelf life






Equilibrium of ingredients to make foods last longer


Explore multi-ingredient products where water activity in each ingredient will seek to equilibrate and change the overall water activity (aw) result of the product.  This can trick people who only look at water content of each ingredient and or even the water activity individually.

      CONTACT US ABOUT------>   Water Activity (aw) 

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How to find Bromine number and index with a Karl Fischer Titrator

By Hank Levi on Sun, Apr 10, 2016 @ 08:47 AM


The degree of unsaturated hydrogen carbide (Hydrocarbon) in oil and petroleum products is indicated by Bromine number or index. Hydrocarbons containing between 6 and 10 carbon molecules are the primary components of most fuels where the process of burning them produces energy. Saturated hydrocarbons are defined by molecular structure and are defined as Alkanes.  Alkanes are the basis for petroleum fuels.  Unsaturated hydrocarbons are also defined by their molecular structure and produce less energy when burned than do saturated hydrocarbons.  Mathematically it therefore requires a greater quantity of unsaturated hydrocarbons to be burned to equal the same amount of energy produced by burning the same amount of saturated hydrocarbons.  An un-friendly environmental side effect of burning hydrocarbons is the creation of carbon dioxide.  So from an environmental standpoint you could say we prefer the lesser of two evils and prefer to burn saturated hydrocarbons vs. unsaturated hydrocarbons. For these reasons alone it would make sense that we would want to measure and quantify these hydrocarbons. 



Methane Fuel in electrical generation
Ethane Chemical applications
Propane Heating and cooking
Butane lighters and aerosol
Pentane Lab & production of polystyrene
Hexane Glue
Heptane & Octane Major contributor to gasoline

Diesel fuel


Jet fuel, gasoline and diesel


Although the test method ASTM2710 describes the use of an automatic potentiometric titrator the coulometric Karl Fischer method is easier to perform (see ASTMD1492-08e1).  


Bromine number :The amount of bromine (unit: g/100) consumed in 100g sample.

Bromine index :The amount of bromine (unit: mg/100) consumed in 100g sample.



The unsaturated hydrogen carbon reacts with bromine as follows: R-CH=CH-R+Br2R-CHBr-CHBr-R- (Eq. #1)

In coulometric titration, bromine is generated by electrolysis of anolyte containing bromine ion:  2Br-Br2+2e- (Eq. #2)


When generated bromine is consumed according to Eq. (#1), the electrode detects bromine consumption, and continues generating bromine according to Eq. (#2).

Such bromine is generated in proportion to the electricity determined by Faraday’s Law. From Eq. (#1), Bromine reacts with coupled C=C evenly (1:1). ==>Thus, one mol of bromine(159.8g) is equivalent to 2 96500 coulomb, which means 1.2 coulomb/1mgBr2.

Based on the above principle, the electricity consumed in electrolysis is converted to the exiting bromine.


Special notes to obtain correct measurement results:

  1. Replace anolyte and catholyte reagent often (daily).
  2. When anolyte turns to white color replace it with new anolyte.
  3. Over use of anolyte and catholyte and not replacing it can cause results to be higher than expected.
  4. Do not share Bromine titration cell with a moisture titration cell

 Download a copy of this method

Step 1: Preparation of Reagents

Prepare the reagents and samples for measurement of bromine number and bromine index.

Use the following reagent for measurement of bromine number or index:

Anolyte Reagent: Mixture of Acetic acid (high grade) 600mL; Methanol (high grade) 260mL; 1M-Potassium bromide solution 140mL. Blend it well and use 100mL each time.

Catholyte Reagent: 0.2M-Potassium chloride solution. Use 5mL each time.

Check Solution:  0.05Wt-Cyclohexene toluene mixture (Approx. 93 ~ 102mgBr2/100g). Theoretical value is calculated by the below formula:



Step 2: Prepare Reagent for testing

Refer to the below chart for sample size:

Bromine index (mg/100g)  Sample Size (g) 

 Below 10

10 ~ 50

50 ~100

100 ~ 200

More than 200

 10 ~ 15

5 ~ 10

3 ~ 5

1 ~ 3

~ 1

For bromine number, a sample is diluted with toluene to Bromine number 0.2 (g/100g), and approximately 1g is used for measurement. Calculate the toluene to be used for diluting to Bromine number 0.2 (g/100g) with the following equation:


Obtain the dilution coefficient in advance according to the following equation:



Step 3: Measurement Procedure

Measure Bromine Number and Bromine Index

  1. Discharge 20 100μL check solution into the electrolysis cell, and press [Pre-titr.*] key.

  2. After pre-titration is finished, press [Sample*] key to enter sample name, its ID and size, and enter the dilution coefficient (D) .
    Press [MENU/HOME*] to Main display.

  3. Press [Start] key, and discharge the sample into the cell. Again press [Start*] key for titration to start.

  4. After titration is over, the measurement results appear on display with printout when a printer is connected.

*Note that different Karl Fischer Titrator Models will have different button commands.  The MKC-710 series coulometric Karl Fischer titrators come standard with pre-programmed setup for running Bromine and follow the above button commands.

We hope this information helps you get started.  If you have any questions or would like some help please contact us by clicking on the button below.

Download a copy of this method 



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How to Clean Karl Fischer Titrator Electrodes

By Hank Levi on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 @ 03:31 PM

How to Clean Karl Fischer Electrodes:

A Karl Fischer Titrator uses two electrodes.  The Inner burette (aka Generator Electrode) and the Detector Electrode.  We hope this infromation is helpful in giving some guidance on cleaing and caring for these Karl Fischer Titrator electrodes.


Twin platinum reference "Karl Fischer Detector Electrode" K103-M713/ K103-M714 or any other model

If the electrode is heavily stained and the potential is unstable and measurement reading fluctuates clean with nitric acid. After cleaning use methanol and wipe off with clean gauze.


Single or Dual Inner burette K443-0006/ K103-0002 or any other model (aka Generator Electrode)

Periodic cleaning of the inner burette is recommended if the inner burette is stained and the electrolysis reaction will not run smoothly.  A faulty Inner Burette may cause a longer length of time in the measuring process with measurement results being recorded at higher than theoretical values.


Cleaning with alcohol: general method

  1. Turn off all power
  2. Disconnect the electrodes from their ports.
  3. Take out both anolyte and catholyte.
  4. Wipe off grease around sliding area with methanol.
  5. Rinse the inner burette with methanol, and fill it with approximately 10mL of methanol and then put it in a beaker. Fill the beaker with methanol up to the level of methanol inside the inner burette, and leave it for about 30 minutes.
  6. After the above 5), dry the inner burette.


Cleaning with nitric acid (boiling): If the color of inner burette or diaphragm does not disappear

When there is a deposition of iodine on the diaphragm or the electrode surface, clean with 1mol nitric acid (boiling):

  1. Immerse the diaphragm or the electrode surface in nitric acid, and boil with a hot stirrer.
  2. Drain out the chromate inside the cell, and rinse it with pure water for 2 to 3 times until yellowish color disappears.
  3. Clean the inner burette with methanol or with alcohol.
  4. Repeat the above steps several times when dirt does not come off.



Cleaning with chromic acid mixture : When dirt does not come off

If foreign objects are observed on diaphragm and platinum surface, use chromic acid mixture instead of methanol for cleaning.

Chromic acid mixture:  1.5g approx. potassium dichromate dissolved in 100mL of concentrated sulfuric acid






  1. Follow the same steps as above for methanol.
  2. Drain out the chromate inside the cell, and rinse it with pure water for 5 to 6 times until yellowish color disappears.
  3. Clean the inner burette with methanol or with alcohol.



How to dry the inner burette and diaphragm

Dry it in a decompression dryer for more than 2 hours.  Below sketch shows an example of commercially sold drying under reduced pressure.



NOTE:  Dry the inner burette itself only after removed from the titration cell in order to avoid possible breakage of inside ceramic diaphragm.

SUGGESTION: Use a hair dryer if a compression dryer is not available. With a hair dryer, dry the inner burette well enough as long as for more than 10 minutes, especially dry the diaphragm until it is really dried. Any residue of moisture will cause high drift level.

CAUTION: Set the temperature of the constant temperature drying oven at 65°C or below.  When drying with a hair dryer, make sure not to overheat its cable and connector. Overheating may result in malfunction.


Find more Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator information

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Electrode Shower Cleaning for Auto Titrator Sample Changers

By Hank Levi on Thu, Feb 25, 2016 @ 12:04 PM


Sample changers that are connected with automatic titrators generally are there for a reason.  Efficiency. From an operators point of view getting multiple tests done quickly while being able to take on other tasks in the lab is a key productivity booster.  Sample changers offer various sizes ranging from as few as 6 positions for samples up to some of the largest exceeding 50 sample positions.  Sample changers either have rotating carousels or an arm that moves electrodes and nozzles from sample to sample.  Each time a sample test is completed the electrode must be cleaned before moving on to the next test.  Many sample changers offer as standard a dip rinse between sample testing and as the name suggests it's really nothing more then dipping the electrode in clean water or solution.  For some samples this process is sufficent but for others it is not enough to effectively clean the electrode before the next test.  Luckily most manufacturers of sample changers offer additional cleaning power with the use of a shower rinse system.   Below is a video showing how a shower rinse process works.   Water is stored in a container and then is flushd and rinsed in one of the sample positions designated as the cleaning station.  Water is evacuated via tubes to a drain or sink.  



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Automatic Tensiometer vs. Manual Tensiometer

By Hank Levi on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 @ 11:56 AM

Ever wonder what a tensiometer looked like?   

There are MANUAL TENSIOMETERS that look like this:



  • >Great for hands-on learning
  • >Can use virtually anywhere (does not require electricity)
  • >Easy to learn how to use
  • >Less expensive


  • >It's manual.  You have to twist the dials by hand
  • >There is a technique to getting repeatable results
  • >Human error potential is higher
  • >Need to record results by hand




There are AUTOMATIC TENSIOMETERS that look like this.



  • >Easy to operate.  Press a button and walk away
  • >Run more tests quickly with high repeatability
  • >Ability to record and report data results (store historical data too)
  • >Dynamic testing features including time tests and Lamella length and more
  • >Most handle both DuNouy Ring and Wilhelmy Plate


  • >More Expensive
  • >Some models require a computer (some don't)



To help prospective users evaluate and compare the different types of models available in the market we have prepared a reference document we call the: 

                    "Tensiometer Selection Matrix"

This matrix is not necessarily brand specific as it was designed to help those seeking to compare capabilities and prices among popular manual Tensiometer models vs. popular Automatic or "digital" Tensiometer models. 

We hope you find the Tensiometer Selection Matrix helpful in your search and evaluation of Tensiometers.


                        Created on 09/22/11 at 12:43:16

Click here to go to the platinum page


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How to test for moisture in Jet Fuel Oil using a Karl Fischer titrator

By Hank Levi on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 @ 03:15 PM

From start to finish watch this short video to see how a sample of Jet Fuel Oil is tested for water content using a karl Fischer Titrator. For this training video we use:

  1. The Aquapal III coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator (setup as a dual reagent configuration)
  2. Reagents; Anolyte is coulomat AG and the catholyte is coulomat CG
  3. A 4-place analytical balance SA-210
  4. And a disposable syringe and disposable needle

In this video you will see the steps for running a test successfully including how to:

  1. Extract your sample into the syringe
  2. How to weigh your sample and tare the balance
  3. How to inject a sample properly
  4. How to input the sample weight and obtain a final result


Find out more about the Aquapal III

We hope you found the video helpful and informative!  If you think a colleague could benefit from this please share it with them!  Click on the twitter button to automatically share this video!

Tweet: How to test for moisture in Jet Fuel Oil using a Karl Fischer Titrator http://bit.ly/1NJ8If4"How to test for moisture in Jet Fuel Oil using a Karl Fischer titrator"


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Karl Fischer Glassware and reagents 101

By Hank Levi on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 @ 01:53 PM

Many people use coulometric Karl Fischer Titrators to measure low level moisture at the part per million (PPM) level.  When it's time to start testing it's critical to have an understanding of how to:

  1. Properly identify the glassware components
  2. Assemble the glassware
  3. Identify the reagents  (anolytes and catholytes)
  4. Introduce the reagents required by the instrument and the sample being tested 

Once you have these concepts down you will have a strong working knowledge of how a Karl Fischer Titrator works and how to trouble shoot future problems.  Watch this short training video to learn more.

Find out more about the Aquapal III

If you found this information helpful please share this with your colleagues!  Just click on the tweet this button.

 Tweet: Karl Fischer glassware & reagents 101: properly identify glassware components, assemble glassware & identify reagents http://bit.ly/1Qvwv1v "Karl Fischer Glassware and reagents 101: Properly identify the glassware components, Assemble the glassware and Identify the reagents"

We hope you find the training video helpful!
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Karl Fischer Glassware and Reagents 101: How to setup.

By Hank Levi on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 @ 10:53 PM

Karl Fischer Glassware and Reagents 101:  How to setup.


It seems sometimes we overlook the obvious and forget to explain some of the most basic concepts.  Sorry about that.  So we thought it might be a good idea to show how Karl Fischer Glassware is setup and how we introduce or "charge" the vessel with reagents.  We hope you enjoy this short video tutorial!


 Find out more about the Aquapal III

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Review of KEM's new titration line

By Hank Levi on Tue, Jun 09, 2015 @ 04:11 PM

Review of KEM's new titration line 

AT-710S_M Automatic Titrator

I don't know about you but I have to admit that I enjoy learning about new technology.  Whether it's smart phones, cars, or kitchen appliances I think it's fun to find out about how a product has changed (hopefully for the better). For the most part a lot of consumer products see a change or upgrade about once every year. This is not really the case for titrators where maybe it's only every 6 to 8 years before we see a new generation unveiled.  I guess that's why I thought maybe it would be a good idea to take a look at this new 710 series that came out in February 2015.  I haven't actually ever written a "review" before so I decided to start by comparing what I know about some of the current titrator models and identify the things that pop out with the new titration line.   Here are my observations and comments.


1. There are now three model levels; entry, mid-level, and flagship within each category (volumetric Karl Fischer, coulometric Karl Fischer, and automatic potentiometric titrator) 

Find more Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator information

My comment: I like the scale of the models as it can be helpful for those with varied budgets and needs.  I like the concept that you can start with getting only the basic model at first and then later bring in the flagship model and tie them all together into one system.  It will be interesting to see how people approach these options and whether the ability to expand a system is desirable or not.

2. All of the automatic titrators now can accommodate two burette drives

 AT-710 AutomaticTitrator information

My comment: The automatic titrators come with one burette drive but being able to add a second burette drive allows an operator to run two separate titrations (titrants) without having to use an automatic piston burette.  Historically most titrator manufacturers offered only a single burette drive but it seems like this is changing.  It's kind of a big deal for those who run two different titrations and don't want to purchase an automatic piston burette.  I like this new capability.

3.  A new burette design for the automatic titrators and volumetric Karl Fischer titrators.


My comment: The burettes appear they will be easier to store and swap as the titrant bottle, burette and nozzles all go together as one smaller unit.   The burettes are now "smart" burettes and can store all of the reagent information within the head of the burette.  I like this.

Learn more about Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration

4.  More Input/Output options for operators to move  and store data.  I/O options include LAN connectivity/URL, USB hubs, USB thumb drive ports, .CSV file format, .PDF file format, barcode readers, foot switches, and keyboards.710seriesUSB

My comment:  More technology is built into these units. I think it was overdue so I am glad to see it finally arrive.


5.  Automatic Titrators now come with a propeller stirrer by default but can swap for a magnetic stirrer instead.

My comment: I like the option to do both but I think maybe the magnetic stirrer should have been the default and the propeller as the option.


6.  A new Wireless/ Wired 8.4 inch color touch panel controller (MCU).


My comment: This only comes with the mid-range and the flagship models.  The controller can sit next to the titrator or be carried around like a clipboard.  Operators can control the titrator through protective glass if necessary.  I'm not sure how many people will elect to use the wireless vs. the wired connection but it's nice to have the added capability.  Nice.

7.  Multi-titrator integration.  The wireless/wired MCU can control up to 4 different titrators simultaneously (any combination of Karl Fischer or automatic titrator) 

MCU_controller for 710 series titrators

My comment: This feature is reserved for the flagship model.  I can see this being useful for those needing to run both moisture and acid for example.  Unfortunately the mid-level model MCU cannot be upgraded to the MCU flagship model so if you think you might expand later don't go with the S model.  Your better off getting the basic "B" model and then later tying them all together from the flagship model.


8.  Free method making software.

My comment:  All of the titrators now come with a CD that allows you to create methods on your PC and then transfer methods to the titrator.  You can also pull methods off of the titrator and edit it in the PC.  The software also comes with various popular methods pre-loaded to help get methods setup quicker.  I'm not so sure how robust this software is but free is nice.



Well I hope this was helpful in finding out quickly what the updates are for the new 710 series.  At this point since it's so new we will have to wait to evaluate how customers feel about their user experience and get their feedback on what they liked most and what they liked least.  If you have any questions or comments you can email me at info@scientificgear.com


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5 ways we use liquid density information

By Hank Levi on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 @ 09:18 AM

5 ways we use liquid density information


Some background:

Simply put density is a physical property of matter. Density is expressed as a ratio of
mass to a given volume mathematically as Density = Mass / Volume. For our industrial
purposes and earth’s known gravitational pull we will define Mass as weight.  For liquids, temperature is an important factor that can affect a liquids density.  Therefore we generally will always describe density at a given temperature for comparison purposes. In general, as liquid temperature increases, density decreases.
Knowing the density of a liquid serves numerous purposes and can provide valuable information for making decisions. Understanding what density is, what affects density, and how density affects other physical properties is important in using and translating this information into an everyday useful tool.  We can use either a hand-held density meter or benchtop density meter to evaluate a liquids density or specific gravity.

1. We live in a physical world


We live in a physical world and so it would make sense that we would want to be able
to define these physical properties around us. Having a way to define these physical
properties is helpful to those who need to use the information.
  • >How much space does it take up?
  • >How heavy is it?
  • >How much of this can we put into that?
  • >What is it?
  • >Many everyday products are packaged by volume but sold by weight.
  • >Predictive correlations can be made if you know the density.
  • >If we change some of the ingredients that make up the fluid property will it change the weight?

The neat thing about understanding liquid density is that it can answer not only the three basic questions;

  • beverage>What is the mass of the liquid?,
  • >what is the volume of the liquid?
  • >What is the density of the liquid?

But also, What is the liquid?

2. You can use a liquids density to predict 

Fluid properties are probably even more telling where predictive
correlations can be made with density measurement information. Liquid
density changes as ingredients change. A soft-drink containing more sugar for example will have a different (higher) density than a diet soft-drink. Yes,
sugar not only increases a liquid’s density but can also be inversely measured
by knowing the liquids density in a given liquid solution. Understanding these
correlations provides useful information in the production of many beverages.

3. Density helps us better understand how to transport fluids

Moving fluids from point A to point B. Knowing the volume and the density
helps determine the best way of transporting those fluids. The answer might
be a bigger tanker truck, or for a pipeline it may be a larger transfer pump.

4. Density helps set petroleum prices

gaspumpPetroleum is used mostly by volume for the production of fuel, gasoline and
other energy sources. Density is used in petroleum production to give an
estimation of the gasoline or kerosene present thereby helping to determine
the price of the gasoline, for example.
In the oil industry quantities of crude oil are measured in metric tons.
Understanding the density allows one to calculate using API gravity the
number of barrels per metric ton –a common term of measure in the industry.
 Learn more about instruments that measure liquid density

5. Density as it relates to gravitygravity

To further explore and expand the usefulness of density measurement we focus our attention on two types of gravity.

Specific gravity

Specific gravity is another way of saying density relative to a given reference material.
In this case we usually mean relative density with respect to water. Water has a
density of 1,000 kg/m cubed at 4 degrees C. We say that water therefore has a specific
gravity of 1 (1,000/1,000). Specific gravity is the heaviness of a substance compared
to that of water. Have you ever noticed how common everyday automotive oil floats
on top of water? Automotive oil has an average density of 905 kg/m cubed at 15
degrees C. We can calculate the specific gravity of the automotive oil by dividing 905
by 1,000 = 0.905. You can see that the number 0.905 is less than 1.0 and therefore is 
lighter than water and is why this oil floats.
Looking at specific gravity another way, for those working in the production of wine, the density of
wine increases as you add sugar but falls as the yeast eats the sugar- finished wine should
have a specific gravity somewhere between .99 and 1.01.  Who knew?

API gravity

The American Petroleum Institute (API) came up with their own gravity term referred
to as API gravity. API gravity is simply a measure of how heavy or light a petroleum
liquid is compared to water. By definition, if the petroleum’s API gravity is greater
than 10 then it is lighter than water and will float on water. If the API gravity is less
than 10 then it is heavier than water and will sink. The API gravity scale does not
have a unit of measure per say but is referred to in “degrees” with a scale from 10 to
70. This API gravity scale allows relative densities of petroleum liquids to be
compared. Why is this important? Why do we want to be able to compare petroleum
liquids? Well, the answer has to do with classifying the petroleum by quality. In the
oil industry crude oil is classified as either light, medium or heavy, according to it’s
measured API gravity! The measured API gravity will determine the class of oil and
therefore determine the value of the product.
Light crude oil has an API gravity higher than 31.1 degrees API
Medium oil has an API gravity between 22.3 degrees API and 31.1 degrees API
Heavy oil has an API gravity below 22.3 degree API
Extra Heavy oil has an API gravity less than 10 degree API



It is not always easy to understand how density may apply to a given circumstance but
you can hopefully see from this brief introduction that it plays a very important role in
many or our industrial and production processes.

Learn more about instruments that measure liquid density
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What are the best ways to measure salt and sodium in food?

By Hank Levi on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 @ 03:00 PM


What are the best ways to measure salt and sodium in food?

We have written other articles about salt testing including the Top 3 methods for measuring salt in food products and How to test for salt during food production.  But we felt this blog post was necessary to further explain how the popular methods differ during testing and why you might use one method instead of another. We also thought it was important to further explain the difference between Salt (NaCl) and Sodium (Na) and how it can impact your test results.

First thing you should know is "what are you trying to measure?"

  1. Salt (NaCl)
  2. Sodium (Na)
  3. Chloride (Cl)

The second thing is knowing your samples ingredients.

Knowing the component ingredients that make up a given food sample is very important!  If we randomly chose a method to test for salt for example without knowing the component ingredients we may discover we are way off with our answer.  Why?  Because without a clear understanding of the types of sodium and or chlorides that may be present in a sample it is possible to calculate an incorrect value either because the method of testing is incomplete for a given sample, or simple interference from other ingredients is occurring.  

Each method has it's own way of finding an answer.  Some methods look for chlorides in food, others look for sodium in food, while others measure indirectly the change in conductivity of a liquid as chlorides dissolve.  Each method has it's place and can be used effectively as long as the user knows it's capabilities and it's drawbacks. 

Understand your test objectives and choose an appropriate test method

We put together a presentation that goes into more detail on this and hope you watch it.

Watch the Full Presentation

Topics: Salt Testing
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Top 3 methods for measuring salt in food products

By Hank Levi on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 @ 04:41 PM

You may be saying to yourself, "Wait a minute! Last time you wrote about salt testing you said there were really only 2 popular methods being used.  What's going on and what is this 3rd method all about?"

Well, you are right.  Historically we have written about and discussed 2 popular methods where operators used either conductivity meters and, or, titration for testing salt in food products.  But recently we have seen a new development for testing salt levels in food products and thought it should be shared with you.  Before we do, let's review.

A quick overview on Salt:salt

When we talk about salt we need to agree on the terminology. 

Table salt or "salt" that we think about in our foods is known as sodium chloride (NaCl).  Although you cannot find NaCl on the periodic table of elements shown below, you can see both sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl).   What's the deal with chlorine you say?  Well, chlorine under standard conditions is actually a yellow-green gas but when chlorine atoms gain one electron they become a chloride ion (Cl-).  Since an ion cannot remain in a free state all by itself it must combine with another element(s) to form a compound.  Chloride (Cl-) is therefore a by-product of the reaction between chlorine (Cl) and an electrolyte such as sodium (Na).  Hence, sodium chloride (NaCl) is known as an Ionic Compound.  There are other "related" chlorides (Ionic Compounds) but not as common and they are; calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and potassium chloride (we will save a discussion about these chlorides for another blog post).

Sodium chloride (NaCl) is naturally occurring in much of the earth's crust and can be found in places like the Great Salt Lake Basin in Utah.  A gift to this earth, nature, and our bodies!  You see, the human body needs both sodium and chloride to function properly although it's worth mentioning that there is still debate about the effects of chloride levels in the body as comparedNa with the more well known negative effects we associate with sodium (Na) and high blood pressure. 

So, when we talk about measuring and monitoring salt levels we generally are saying that we want to know how much sodium (Na) is present.  Since table salt is Na+Cl- (NaCl) then, we approach our testing for NaCl accordingly based on the ratios of each elements atomic weight and mass percent:

[NaCl = 39.3372% Na + 60.6628% Cl]

These numbers are significant because if we look for (Cl) then we can determine (Na) and or (NaCl) by doing simple math, e.g. if you can find (Cl) then you can back into (NaCl) or determine (Na).







So that's it for the salt review, lets move on to the testing methods.


Method #1 - A review of the Conductivity Method:

"Conductivity meters" are based on the conductivity of water and is a measure of the waters ability to pass an electrical current.  Water with more ions present will conduct more electrical current.  Seawater has more ions and is more conductive than fresh water.  In our example for testing salt (NaCl) the chloride (Cl) readily dissolves in water.  The fact that chloride (Cl) dissolves in water is key.  The more chlorides (Cl) that dissolve, the greater the number of conductive ions that will be present and therefore increase the conductivity of the water, and vice versa for lesser amounts.  The conductivity levels measured then are compared with known standards and tables like seawater.  These numbers can then be reported in micro Siemens per centimeter or other conversion scales.

The conductivity method is an indirect measurement but it is easy and fast (several seconds).  It tends to be less accurate than other methods and has some limitations with the range of measurement.


Method #2 - A review of the popular titration method (mohr's method):

Titration can be performed manually or by using an automatic titrator.  This popular titration method determines the chloride ion concentration.  Silver nitrate is used as the indicator and is added until all of the chloride ions are precipitated.  So, this method also measures the amount of chloride (Cl) and uses the mass percent weights to determine sodium chloride (NaCl) and or sodium (Na).

This method for measuring salt is more involved, takes a little more time (3 to 6 minutes usually), but is very accurate to the parts per million (PPM) level.  The titration method does require the use of a silver electrode/ph electrode (or combined silver electrode), silver nitrate, and someone who understands how to run the method (manual or via automatic titrator).


Method #3 - A new method?  Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR):

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)?  Huh?  Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) has been around since 1938 and has benefited the field of chemistry and medicine in important ways, helping researchers and chemist to identify and measure certain elements found on the periodic table.


The Periodic Table


It's only now that technology has allowed for the miniaturization of the components (magnets, etc) necessary for making a benchtop NMR device.  This greater access and ease of use with NMR technology has the potential not only for researchers and chemist but for main-stream industry to find new and useful applications for testing materials with NMR. 

So, if you can see where this is going then, YES, you guessed it.  NMR can identify and measure sodium (Na) directly with part per million (PPM) accuracy.  I will say it again, this method measures total sodium (Na) directly with part per million (PPM) accuracy.  (NaCl) and (Cl) can be determined also as we know the mass percentages for these elements.  

Although it's a new concept for the food industry this new approach for measuring sodium could prove promising because it is easy, accurate to the part per million (PPM) level, and quick too (about 30 seconds per test).  


                      Learn more about salt testing using (NMR)

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How to use Karl Fischer Grease

By Hank Levi on Sun, Jan 19, 2014 @ 01:57 PM

Karl Fischer GreaseCertain types of Karl Fischer vessels require the use of Karl Fischer grease. Vessels with smooth port openings need a thin layer of the grease applied to plugs, electrodes, dessicant tubes, bubbler tubes and injection port plugs to help form a snug fit.  Decreasing or limiting "ambient moisture" from getting into the vessel - otherwise known as "drift" - is the key benefit of using Karl Fischer grease.  Another benefit of Karl Fischer grease is that it also helps prevent chipping of glass on glass fittings.  Watch this short video to see how Karl Fischer Grease should be applied.

Learn more about Karl Fischer Titration
If you find this information helpful please consider subscribing to our blog.  Once you subscribe you will get notified when we post a new article.

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How do Ketones & Aldehydes affect Karl Fischer moisture testing?

By Hank Levi on Mon, Sep 23, 2013 @ 04:32 PM

Measuring moisture using a karl Fischer Titrator is a common and popular choice among operators.  Karl Fischer titration provides excellent accuracy at the part-per-million (PPM) level and is widely accepted and trusted as a reliable method for measuring moisture.  Ketones and Aldehydes however are two organic compounds that can cause problems and lead to errors with measured results if they are present in a sample during testing.  The presence of these organic compounds can create an unwanted side-effect inside the titration vessel.

 ketoneWhat are the side-effects?   aldehyde

The effects are side-reactions that can either falsley increase your moisture results or falsley reduce your moisture results.  Depending on whether your dealing with ketones or aldehydes or both you will want to know how to deal with them.  

How do you solve the problem?

Once you have identified the problem you need to take stock in your equipment and the chemical reagents you are using.  The equipment setup and reagent choices you make can help you to suppress these side reactions and obtain accurate results.

Watch this short 3 minute video to learn about the preferred equipment setup and your chemical reagent choices.


 On a sidenote who knew that Ketones have an impact on the human body? Check out this cool review

Just thought it was interesting and wanted to share.

                           Still need help? Click here.


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How many dynes per centimeter can a tensiometer measure?

By Hank Levi on Mon, May 06, 2013 @ 11:57 AM

If your reading this post you probably already have an understanding of a few basic concepts.  For those who missed it here they are for review.

Basic Concepts

  • A dyne per centimeter is a unit of force
  • A dyne is defined as the force required to accelerate a mass of one gram at a rate of one centimeter per second squared
  • A dyne per centimeter is the unit traditionally used to measure surface tension and interfacial tension
  • Surface tension is a measurement taken on a liquid and Interfacial tension is a measurement taken between/among liquids.
  • Surface tension and Interfacial tension are both measured using an instrument called a tensiometer

I suppose it's worth mentioning why we decided to write this particular post about tensiometers and their surface tension and interfacial tension measuring limitations.   The simple explanation being that people have continued to ask us the question!  In fact, one time we had someone ask if we could recommend a tensiometer that could measure up to and above 500 dynes per centimeter! ...and we simply said "why?" and scratched our heads.

I guess you could say we finally received enough inquiries about this to force us into action and write about it.

Tensiometer readout design

If you have ever looked at a manual tensiometer guage like this one you will notice the dial only goes to 90 (90 dynes per centimeter).  

manual tensiometer

Compare this to some of the automatic tensiometers that use sensitive electronic balances and software and you will notice they have for the most part (various models) a range up to around 100 (100 dynes per centimeter).  See the red arrows below;


Why not make them with larger ranges?

Up to this point you have seen a couple of examples of the range capabilities for a manual and an automatic tensiometer. The truth of the matter is that the dial on the manual tensiometer could be re-etched to include additional numbers going up much higher than 90.  And the automatic tensiometers using the electronic balances could be configured and the software re-written to go as high as 1,000! 

So why haven't the engineers who make these tensiometers made the range on their tensiometers as big as they can?  Wouldn't that make the tensiometer that much more appealing?  A bigger range would mean you could measure more samples right? 

Well maybe...but not on this planet or in this universe. 

Liquids and fluidic metals?

You see, the answer is not really about the tensiometer.  In general, except for fluidic metals there are no known liquids that will indicate a surface or interfacial tension above 90/100 dynes per centimeter.  Surface tension of Mercury for example is generally reported around 480 dynes per centimeter but it does not wet to either the Wilhelmy Plate or Du Nouy Ring and cannot be measured by a traditional tensiometer.  Other fluidic metals need high temperatures and special atmoshperic conditions and are also unsuitable for traditional tensiometers.  With the exception of fluidic metals just mentioned solutions including metal ions but excluding surfactants (e.g. plating solutions) indicate comparatively high surface tension readings of 80 to 90 dynes per centimeter at most.  One of the highest surface tension liquids except Mercury is Sodium Chloride 6.0mol/20°C at 82.55 dynes per centimeter (mN/m).

In summary then, we can conclude that all of the liquids we will encounter while measuring surface tension or interfacial tension with a traditional tenstiometer will fall in the range not to exceed 100 dynes per centimeter.  Therefore restating the obvious you don't need a tensiometer that can measure surface tension above 100 dynes per centimeter.

Make sense?



 Click here to go to the platinum page


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Tensiometer Ring used for ASTM D971, ASTM D1331, ASTM D1590

By Hank Levi on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 @ 11:15 AM

There are many ASTM methods companies follow.  Here are a few of the more popular ASTM methods relating to surface and interfacial tension:

  • ASTM D971; Interfacial tension of oil against water: This standard is used to evaluate hydrocarbon fluids and possible contamination levels.  Evaluating hydrocarbon fluid contamination levels is important in numerous industries including transformer oil testing and most Fuels.  Our heavy use of petroleum products and the effects of hydrocarbon fluid contamination makes for an almost limitless list of applications that require testing.
  • ASTM D1331; Solutions of surface-active agents:  This standard applies to detergents and soaps but also includes emulsifiers and surfactants.  The test method determines the surface tension of popular substances including diswasher detergents and laundrey soap mixtures in water.
    ASTM D1331 is broken into two separate sections based on the liquid mixture being tested. ASTM D1331 method A applies to aqueous solutions containing surface-active agents. It includes water with two or more surfactants added. ASTM D1331 states that it "is also applicable to nonaqueous solutions and mixed solvent solutions." This includes electrolytes. ASTM D1331 applies to two-phase mixtures. Two-phase mixtures include a water and surfactant mixture containing air in the form of foam or bubbles. Two-phase mixtures include solid particles with the aqueous mixture. ASTM D1331 states "more than one solute component may be present, including solute components that are not in themselves surface-active." This allows for the surface tension testing of soaps when it includes artificial colorings, scents or skin conditioners. Surface tension testing methods do not change when multiple surfactants are included in the mixture.

    Read more: ASTM D1331 Methods | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_8694874_astm-d1331-methods.html#ixzz2DivCVGeX
     This method applies to both aqueous and non-aqueous solutions
    ASTM D1331 is broken into two separate sections based on the liquid mixture being tested. ASTM D1331 method A applies to aqueous solutions containing surface-active agents. It includes water with two or more surfactants added. ASTM D1331 states that it "is also applicable to nonaqueous solutions and mixed solvent solutions." This includes electrolytes. ASTM D1331 applies to two-phase mixtures. Two-phase mixtures include a water and surfactant mixture containing air in the form of foam or bubbles. Two-phase mixtures include solid particles with the aqueous mixture. ASTM D1331 states "more than one solute component may be present, including solute components that are not in themselves surface-active." This allows for the surface tension testing of soaps when it includes artificial colorings, scents or skin conditioners. Surface tension testing methods do not change when multiple surfactants are included in the mixture.

    Read more: ASTM D1331 Methods | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_8694874_astm-d1331-methods.html#ixzz2DivCVGeX
  • ASTM D1590; Surface tension of industrial water and Industrial waste water


The popularity of these ASTM methods require users to perform many of these tests day-to-day and in the process find themselves in situations where they either need to have their tensiometer ring repaired or replaced.  These platinum wire accessories while possessing a very high and durable melt-point can be damaged easily due to mishandling.  Damaged tensiometer rings can effect results so examine the rings routinely and handle with care at all times.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you need a quick repair for your Du Nouy Ring or need to find a replacement let us know.

   Tensiometer RingsDu Nouy RingTensiometer Ring






                          Request Tensiometer Ring Help


 Click here to go to the platinum page



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Automatic Titrator with Mini Sample Changer Video

By Hank Levi on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 @ 11:11 AM

AT-700 Automatic Titrator

The AT-700 automatic titrator provides operators a variety of choices including the use of an Mini Sample Changer CHA-700integrated mini sample changer.  The mini sample changer can hold up to 6 samples.  The design utilizes a rotating arm that holds the electrode(s), dispensing nozzle(s), and propeller stirrer above each sample and maneuvers from sample to sample.  The compact design allows a small footprint on the bench because the titrator sits on top of the sample changer.  Watch the short demo video to learn more about this titration system.


        Get more information here 


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Automatic Titrator AT-700

By Hank Levi on Mon, Nov 05, 2012 @ 02:31 PM

Automatic Titrator AT-700

The AT-700 automatic titrator is a new compact potentiometric titrator.  The unit is ideal for conducting basic end-point titrations all the way up to more complex configurations that can include a sample changer, an additional permanent burette, to a chain of 8 automatic piston burettes (APBs).  The titrator can work stand alone or pair with advanced computer controlled software. 

Watch the video to learn and see more: https://youtu.be/CymMenF1fqA



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About Scientificgear

By Hank Levi on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 @ 10:20 AM

describe the image

Scientificgear LLC provides several targeted areas of service including:

  • Karl Fischer Moisture Titration
  • Titration
  • Surface Tension (Tensiometers and Du Nouy Rings)
  • Contact Angle Analyzers for surface analysis
  • Thermal instruments (WBGT, Conductivity, Heat Flow)
  • Liquid Density Instruments (Benchtop and handheld)
  • Refractometers, Brix Meters

We support companies and organizations in select industries by providing:

  • Technical Support
  • Sales of Instruments
  • In-house and field repair service on select instruments
  • Calibration Service
  • Training and Installation
  • Some in-house testing
  • Manufacture and repair of Du Nouy Rings

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Titration: Bromine number vs. Bromine Index

By Hank Levi on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 @ 12:09 PM

BROMINE TITLEDon’t know whether you need to run a Bromine Number or Bromine Index?  Not sure what the difference is between Electrometric or Coulometric?  And just how many approved ASTM methods are there, anyway? 

Well, a good place to start is to check out the comparison table below and evaluate your sample(s) with respect to the scope & limits of products listed for each method.

If you’re trying to decide which of the last two Bromine Index methods to use, remember that the D1492 Coulometric method is most often employed for materials having very low expected values ( > ~20).

Be careful about converting back and forth between the two using that factor of 1000.  You can safely convert a Bromine Index to a Bromine Number by dividing it by 1000, but it’s not OK to derive a Bromine Index from a Bromine Number by multiplying the Number by 1000.

                                         DOWNLOAD A COPY

Need to run Bromine Number or Bromine Index with an AUTOMATIC TITRATOR?


Interested in getting more detailed information on how to do Bromine using your KARL FISCHER TITRATOR

              Get the complete Karl Fischer method here

Find more Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator information  Bromine Chart

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WBGT practice policy for heat and humidity

By Hank Levi on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 @ 02:39 PM

WBGT MeterMost of us know about the Heat Index (HI) and might have even seen a sling psychrometer used by a coach or trainer.   How heat measurements were taken before tended to limit the amount of measurements taken due to the separate actions required to determine humidity levels and related temperature readings along with other factors. A confusing process.  In many cases measurements were done before and after a practice session - and that was it.

Trying to determine how hot it is and how dangerous the environmental factors are has been a concern for a long time. As with most things we find improved ways of accomplishing tasks that were previosuly cumbersome or difficult.  What we are seeing now is the emerging use of a different method.  The WBGT or Wet Bulb Globe Temperature.  This method while not new has some benefits. 

The WBGT meter can be deployed continuously measuring the environmental conditions non-stop, during a practice for example.  If conditions become dangerous during practice actions can be taken.  In particular, the WBGT Meter HD32 is a reliable hand-held wbgt meter that uses replaceable sensors.This is a very nice feature because in the past most people had to send in their entire instrument if they wanted it calibrated.  A costly and timely process.  We believe the removable sensors will  change the way calibrations are viewed.  Users will now be able to replace just the sensors and even have back ups available for use. 

You can watch the video below that shows the WBGT Meter HD32 and how it is unpacked and assembled.  The video also describes and shows some of the other features of the WBGT HD32.

This video demonstrates how to unpack and assemble the WBGT HD32.2. It also discusses some of the key features of this hand-held WBGT Meter.

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Karl Fischer Over Titration and 7 things you should know about it

By Hank Levi on Wed, May 02, 2012 @ 06:30 PM

We have all seen it.  We’re running a test to see how much moisture is in our sample when inexplicably the liquid inside the Karl Fischer vessel starts to turn from a normal light-yellow color to a dark burnt-red looking color.  Sometimes the titrator screen will inform us of the problem with a digital readout stating the dreaded


kfbeforestart resized 600describe the imagedescribe the imagedescribe the image


Sometimes the digital readout says nothing at all.  In either case the operator knows something has gone wrong because the Karl Fischer Titrator is no longer giving moisture results.  A panic to figure out the problem and get testing underway again becomes the immediate priority. 

But where do you start?  

As it turns out “over-titration” is probably one of the top 2 or 3 complaints or issues we hear about from operators.    So what is causing this problem to occur?  How can we determine the source of this problem, fix it, and more importantly how can we avoid it?

This is a critical question for operators and managers working in a production or QC environment who are concerned with keeping their Karl Fischer Titrator 100% “in-service”, day-in and day-out.   Having the ability to identify the problem correctly so appropriate measures can be taken quickly is very important.

So how do we approach the problem of “over-titration”?   By knowing the facts.  Having a clear understanding of the process can help operators correct the problem faster when time is of the essence.  

Important facts you should know about over-titration:  
  1. Over-titration is a state where there is more iodine present in the vessel than water (general definition).
  2. When over-titration occurs the vessel will become very dark as a result of the abundance of iodine present inside the vessel.
  3. The reagent inside the vessel should normally have a light-yellow color absent a very dark sample such as oil.
  4. The Karl Fischer Titrator always attempts to maintain an equilibrium where only enough iodine is introduced to counter and neutralize the water present inside the vessel.
  5. During a single titration test there should only be enough iodine introduced to counter and neutralize the amount of water present inside the titration vessel during that test – no more, no less.
  6. Any incident that interferes with the final amount of iodine introduced during the titration test can lead to dis-equilibrium and result in more iodine being introduced than necessary.
    Important facts you should know about Karl Fischer Titrator Glassware:  
  1. The Karl Fischer Vessel and Glassware is composed of the following
    1. Vessel (coulometric and volumetric)
    2. Generator Electrode (coulometric only) - The Generator Electrode is a precision electrode designed to deliver an electrical current inside the vessel to the reagent – causing the reagent to produce iodine
    3. Titration nozzle (volumetric only) - The titration nozzle delivers precise amounts of iodine (composite or titrant) via a burette driven mechanism using a piston
    4. Detector Electrode (coulometric and volumetric) - The detector electrode has a sole purpose and probably the most important role in continuously monitoring and determining the conductivity levels within the titration vessel.
  So what are the causes that can lead to over-titration? 

✓ A damaged Detector Electrode

✓ A "Tricked" or "Fooled" Detector Electrode (no joke)

Since coulometric and volumetric Karl Fischer Titrators handle the delivery of iodine differently it’s worth describing the two methods separately.  

A Word About Coulometric Karl Fischer Titration:

In a coulometric system the reagent is a complete system where it is designed to release iodine when the generator electrode delivers an electrical current to it.  So what causes the generator electrode to deliver too much current causing the over production of iodine?  Another way to say it is, “who or what” is telling the generator electrode to continue to generate a current when it’s not needed?  

The detector electrode!  So why would the detector electrode do this?   describe the image
Without getting into too much of the electronics the detector electrode is designed to “detect” conductivity in the vessel.  Depending on the amount of conductivity detected the detector electrode will send a message to the titrator telling it to continue producing a current - enough to release the appropriate amount of iodine to counter and neutralize the water present in the vessel.  As long as this process is working during a titration an eventual endpoint will be found and a result will be produced.  

So it’s really a problem of misinformation. If the Karl Fischer Titrator is not getting the right information from the detector electrode then over-titration is possible. 

The problems we see that can effect the proper functioning of the detector electrode include:  
  1. The electrode cable.  If the cable becomes cracked or breaks it can cause a situation where the message to the titrator is to continue producing a current – continually.  In this case the vessel will become very dark and in most cases the titrator will not even know it is in an over-titration state.  The generator electrode will simply continue to produce a current, turning the vessel very dark.  There will be no other warning or notice from the titrator for the operator to see.
  2. Cracked electrode.  Sometimes mishandling or even a stirrer bar bouncing around inside the vessel can cause a tiny crack near the bottom of the detector electrode that cannot be seen with the naked eye.  These cracks can allow small amounts of reagent inside the electrode enough where errors in detection will begin to occur.  What ensues is an unstable drift that jumps around giving the titrator a misreading. The jumping around and unstable drift may be picked up by the titrator and an error stating “OVER TITRATION” may be seen on the screen of the titrator.
  3. Cable connectors.  Sometimes the connectors on the titrator itself can become dirty, wet and corroded.  Also, some electrodes use multi-plug designs that can also become dirty, wet and corroded.   These connectors if not clean and dry can lead to a similar misreading similar to a cracked electrode where the drift begins to jump around and become unstable.  The titrator may also state that there is “OVER TITRATION” when this occurs.

Find more Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator information 

A "Tricked" or "Fooled" Detector Electrode you say?describe the image

If it’s determined that the problem is not the detector electrode then we need to look at the stirring action inside the vessel.  If the iodine being released is not mixing well because the stirrer is off or set too low, then the detector electrode will not realize there is iodine already released inside the vessel.  This will cause the detector electrode to continue telling the titrator to produce more current via the generator electrode up to the point where the detector electrode senses a reduction in the conductivity level inside the vessel.  Conductivity only reduces as the iodine interacts with the water.  So it is important for the detector electrode to sense the true and most accurate “mix or state” of iodine and water during the titration process.  If it does not know the true state of the mix it will be fooled into telling the titrator to keep going – causing OVER TITRATION.        

A Word About Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration:

describe the imageIn a volumetric system the reagent setup is different where a composite or titrant is introduced via a burette piston through a titration nozzle.  The amount of composite or titrant delivered is based upon the commands of the titrator.  The command from the titrator to the burette and piston that push out the “iodine” through the titration nozzle is, yes, given by the detector electrode.  For the purposes of this discussion the difference between the coulometric and volumetric setup is that the delivery of iodine is different.   But the same problem can occur where the iodine does not mix well and therefore trick the detector electrode in to thinking there is not enough iodine present inside the vessel to counter and neutralize the water.  Since both coulometric and volumetric Karl Fischer Titrators use detector electrodes the problems mentioned earlier about the detector electrode will hold true with volumetric titrators also.  

Learn more about Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration 


 7 Thoughts (DOs and DON'Ts) on Problem Solving and Prevention:  

1.  Don’t abuse the detector electrode!  Be very careful with the detector electrode and do not handle it unnecessarily.  Small bumps (clanks) here and there can lead to a crack.   Do you really need to remove the detector thinking dragonelectrode from the vessel all the time?
2.  Don’t turn up the titrator’s stirrer speed to high.  This will only cause the stirrer bar to bounce around uncontrollably and possibly hit and damage the detector electrode (crack).
3.  Do inspect all connections and connectors on the detector electrode cable and Karl Fischer Titrator to ensure they are dry and clean.
4.  Do be careful with the detector electrode cable.  Try not to bend it unnecessarily.
5.  Do make sure there is enough stirring action inside the vessel to mix the iodine around effectively.  A small vortex should be visible.  But not too fast to cause the stir bar to bounce around.
6.  Do introduce some moisture - Sometimes when you are in an over-titration situation and the vessel is already very dark you can introduce a little moisture to bring the vessel back to equilibrium.  This sometimes works and immediately the vessel turns from a dark burnt-red color to a light-yellow.
7.  Do have a spare detector electrode on hand.  This little electrode seems to get over looked but plays a huge role inside the Karl Fischer Titrator vessel.

Created on 05/02/12 at 18:10:44

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Du Nouy Ring Repair Service

By Hank Levi on Fri, Apr 06, 2012 @ 03:46 PM

Hi, this is Hank Levi, and I wanted to take a minute to tell you about what we're doing to provide repair service and replacement of new Du Nouy Rings.  We have been supporting operators working with popular manual and automatic tensiometers for about 10 years.  It may have been a result of the day-in and day-out working with these tensiometers that led us to where we are today...but it all started about 3 1/2 years ago when we started repairing Du Nouy Rings as part of our service.  About a year later we began providing New replacement Du Nouy Rings also.

Since then we have found customers who have needed help with Du Nouy Rings from other tensiometer manufacturers as well.  Last year Fisher Scientific stopped selling and servicing their tensiometers and with it their ability to provide Du Nouy Ring service.  We also discovered that customers of other manufacturers including Kruss, KSV, Kyowa, CSC, SEO and a few others might have a need for our du Nouy Ring service support too.

Well, the good news is that we are in the Du Nouy Ring business.  We can repair or provide replacement rings for any brand of Du Nouy Ring on the market.  This includes Du Nouy Rings for the popular Fischer Scientific Tensiomat, CSC Scientific, Kruss, KSV, Kyowa, SEO and more.

Do you have a need to have a ring repaired?  Or maybe you just need a new one.  Or maybe both.  Well we can help.  Just submit your contact information so we have a way to reach you and tell us what type rings you have.   We'll have someone contact you to review the details and if needed arrange to have your damaged rings sent in for service.
If you know of another person or organization that could benefit from our service please don't hesitate to forward this information to them.

Du Nouy Ring Repair ServiceCreated on 04/06/12 at 16:50:49

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Surface Tension Measurement with the 70545000 Tensiometer

By Hank Levi on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 @ 06:27 PM

Have you ever wondered about how surface tension is measured?  Without getting into the details relating to things like, "What's a dyne per centimeter?", "Du Nouy Ring vs. Wilhelmy Plate", "the effects and force of gravity", "viscosity of liquid", or "temperature",  we decided to put together this short video tutorial to help explain the main components of a popular manual tensiometer (70545000) and how the instrument works.  We think seeing how a basic manual tensiometer measures surface tension is helpful in gaining a better understanding of the big picture.

CSC Tensiometer Model 70545 Interfacial from Scientificgear on Vimeo.



APPLICATIONS OF SURFACE AND INTERFACIAL TENSIONS: Surface and Interfacial tension measurements are extremely important in the control and improvement of:

  • absorptiontensiometer
  • emulsification
  • osmotic pressure
  • cataphoresis
  • evaporation
  • solubility
  • condenstion
  • miscibility

Industries using dye solutions, producing detergents, clarifying liquids, or sparating ores by the flotation process can obtain greater uniformity and efficiency through close control of surface tension of the process liquid.  A close relationship exists between interfacial tensions of oil-liquid systems and the lubricating value of the oil.  Another major use is determining the sludging condition within a transformer, thereby eliminating costly repairs.


 7054570537DuNouy Rings

Created on 03/28/12 at 18:32:35

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Tensiometer Calibration

By Hank Levi on Thu, Mar 01, 2012 @ 03:54 PM

manual tensiometer resized 600Although the CSC Scientific Interfacial Tensiometer is fundamentally very straight forward, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of the operational features and components of the tensiometer.  There are dials, clamps, Du Nouy Rings, and Verniers to consider. 

In this video we show you how to check your calibration using a given weight. 

To conduct this calibration check we assume the tensiometer's tension wire is secure and the unit has the ability to provide a stable reading for your given samples.  Take a look at this short video and let us know if you have questions about the process.


Created on 03/01/12 at 15:59:28

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What are Karl Fischer Water Standards and what do the numbers mean?

By Hank Levi on Thu, Feb 09, 2012 @ 01:44 PM

Most everyone working with Karl Fischer Titration at some point ends up wanting to check their instrument for accuracy and overall operational readiness.  Karl Fischer Water Standards were made to assist operators with making these operational checks.  Sometimes however we find there is some confusion about the choice of water standards available and what the numbers mean.

Learn more about Karl Fischer Titration

Karl Fischer Titration Water Standard Video from Scientificgear on Vimeo.

Hydranal water standards provide a few popular choices for both coulometric and volumetric Karl Fischer Titrators:

  • Hydranal 0.1 (100PPM ±10% error acceptance)
  • Hydranal 1.0 (1,000PPM ±3% error acceptance)
  • Hydranal 10.0 (10,000PPM)

So what do the numbers mean?  0.1, 1.0, 10.0?

Simply put, these numbers tell us the amount of moisture (H2O) that is present in 1 gram of the water standard.  The amount of moisture (H2O) is expressed as milligrams on the packaging.  Using the Hydranal 1.0 for example we say there is 1.0 milligram of moisture (H2O) in 1 gram of the water standard.  Did you know there are 1,000 micrograms per 1.0 milligram?  Yes there is.  So instead of thinking in terms of 1 milligram per 1 gram of water standard, think in terms of 1,000 micrograms per 1 gram of water standard.  Why?

Karl Fischer Titrators count moisture in micrograms!

Since Karl Fischer Titrators count moisture in micrograms it's easier to think about the water standards in terms of micrograms.  Why?

Find more Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator information

We evaluate our water standard test in PPM

For the Hydyanal 1.0 we are looking for results within ±3% of 1,000PPM (970PPM to 1030PPM).  For the Hydranal 0.1 we are looking for results within ±10% of 100PPM (90PPM to 110PPM).

 Learn more about Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration

Don't forget this formula!:


(For those who don't know PPM stands for Parts Per Million)

We hope this information has been helpful.

 Created on 02/09/12 at 13:36:32 

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Karl Fischer Titrator not finding all of the moisture you expected?

By Mark Levi on Sun, Jan 08, 2012 @ 03:01 PM

Aquapal IIIIf your operating a dual-reagent Karl Fisher Titrator and your getting lower than expected moisture results you may want to check a few things.  First, make sure your analytical balance or specific gravity (if you use it) calculation is not the problem. Next, focus your attention on the reagents.

    Find out more about the Aquapal III

Reagents can cause problems if they are not being replaced often enough.

With a dual-reagent setup the operator places anolyte into the main vessel (75mL to 150mL of anolyte solution depending on the vessel size) and catholyte into the generator electrode (5mL of catholyte solution).

Now for some reason, most operators focus their attention primarily on the anolyte reagent and take great care in monitoring the condition and level of the anolyte. Unfortunately their is a tendency to forget about the catholyte. I say unfortunately because it is this oversight that can cause the problem.

Before I tell you the reason for the problem it’s helpful to know some useful information about the reagents ability to measure moisture. A typical vessel can hold 100mL of anolyte. 100mL of anolyte (Coulomat A, Coulomat AG, Coulomat AG-H) can measure 1,000,000 micro grams of water. Yes, 1 million micrograms of water!. Conversely, the pre-measured 5mL ampules of catholyte solution (Coulomat CG) that goes into the generator electrode has the ability to only measure 300,000 micro grams of water per 5mL charge. Do you see it?  Do you see the connection?

There is a 3 to 1 relationship of the catholyte to anolyte!

Yes, you should be replacing the catholyte 3 times per 1 charge of the vessel. Or put another way, change the catholyte 3 times as often as you change the anolyte.

Find more Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator information

Now, back to the problem and the answer. If your not replacing the catholyte often enough, the catholyte will actually begin to convert and form a salt by-product. This “salt by-product” can then form and become deposited down around the frit at the bottom of the generator electrode (AKA inner buret) and clog the receptors. When this happens the generator electrode does not work as effectively and can contribute to low recovery on expected moisture levels.

What's the fix?

  1. Make sure to change the catholyte more often as required.
  2. Soak your generator electrode in methanol or even a light acid over night to clean out some of those salty deposits. That should help.



(Note: Coulomat AK anolyte and Coulomat CG-K catholyte are used in combination for samples with Keytones and have a 1 to 1 relationship and can measure 100,000 micrograms of water. Also, the popular Coulomat Oil anolyte has a smaller amount of moisture measuring capability as compared with the other mentioned anolytes above and has a capacity to measure 300,000 micrograms of moisture. eg. If your using Coulomat oil anolyte and Coulomat CG both have the capacity to measure 300,000 micro grams of water and have a 1 to 1 relationship.)

Hope this helps.

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How to use a titrator to measure % sodium chloride in food products

By Hank Levi on Sun, Dec 18, 2011 @ 03:57 PM

Automatic Titrator


So you need to measure the amount of sodium chloride in your food products. While we have written about this topic previously in other posts and addressed some of the approaches used to test for % sodium chloride (including the use of hand-held salt meters) we have found that it is a more common practice to use an automatic titrator to accomplish this task.  In fact we think it is the preferred instrument and method of choice.  To be sure there are pros and cons to using different methods but we still find that titration is accepted as the primary method for getting the most accurate results.


How it's used

Although salt meters using the conductive method are faster (3 seconds vs. 2 to 3 mintues) and can be employed quickly in a production line process, titrators can also be implemented in the same testing environment with modest effort.  Additionally and regardless of how the tests were performed on the production line, titrators are generally put to work in the Quality Control/Quality Assurance Lab as a final check against periodic production line testing.

Supporting the use of titration as an accepted method includes some well known documented techniques including Mohr's and Volhard's methods making titration a recognized and trusted approach.


What's next...

Once you have made the decsion to use titration as the testing method it's just a matter of knowing:

  • What items you need

  • How to prep your sample

  • How to setup the titrator

Luckily we have already thought about this and put together a list of 8 items your going to need.  We also created an application-note providing step-by-step instructions for you to follow to conduct a titration.


                                         Created on 12/18/11 at 12:16:27  


                                           Created on 12/18/11 at 13:00:41

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How to test for Salt during food production

By Hank Levi on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 @ 12:53 PM

SaltMany companies produce the foods we eat.  Do you ever wonder why or how they test for salt during the production process?

Examples by Manufacturing Type

Frozen Vegetable Processor

The salt content of the blanching water is important for maintaining the bright colors of vegetables

A Condiment Manufacturer

Testing Sauces and dressings

A Cheese Maker

Measure the salinity of saltwater that the cheese is soaked in

A Potato Chips Manufacturer

Checking for salt sprinkled on fried potato slices

A fresh Cut Fruit Processor

Use a 2% saline solution with a small amount of ascorbic acid to prevent discoloration of fruits

A Deli Food Supplier

Measure foods with a salt meter vs. by taste

A Canned Food Manufacturing Plant

Measure the brine for canned tuna

A Pickles Manufacturer

Measure the salinity of the brine for salt-packed products

A Cold Cut Meat Manufacturer

Measure salt concentration of ham and deli slices

A Baker

Measure and monitor the salinity of bread dough to around 1%-2%




Salt which is made up of 40% sodium and 60% Chloride is an important ingredient found in food.  While salt can make food taste better, control color, and maintain food texture, it is also considered a health-risk factor (mostly due to the sodium).  Measuring and controlling the levels of salt between the extremes is a constant battle.  Producers of processed foods generally have the biggest need for identifying and controlling salt levels to address not only the taste, color, and texture of foods but also to address some of the healthier eating lifestyles more and more consumers are demanding.

For these reasons it is paramount that salt is measured accurately.  So how do we do that?

Food comes in a variety of forms.  Solid, Liquids, pastes, creams, pieces, chunks, wafers, crackers, gooey, sauces, liquids with chunks in them...let's see what else..Anyway, you get the idea.  There are a lot of ways food can be produced and consumed!

So what device or devices can we use to measure the salt found in these numerous forms of processed foods?

Well, there are a number of "salt meters" out there that can measure salt.  However, not all salt meters can measure the particular salt you are looking for in the same way.  In fact some "salt meters" can only measure salt under certain conditions and or in certain substances like water or sea water.  For this reason it is important to first consider what your going to be testing.  For example, If your food sample includes "food stuff particles" that you can grind into a paste form, then you can probably use a salt meter that utilizes the conductivity method.  On the other hand if you have a brine that you immerse food into and your only concerned with the liquid then perhaps a different salt meter will work.  

The point is this.  The form of the food at the instant you are going to perform the test is key.  Many types of foods can be formed into pastes and diluted with water.  If the food you need to test is like this then a simple salt meter utilizing the conductivity method may be able to perform the test to your satisfaction.  I say may because % salt levels and other accuracy factors may require that you use an entirely different method of titration known as silver nitrate titration instead.

Salt Meter vs. Titration?

describe the image               Titrator

A brief explanation and description of the two measurement approaches:

The Mohr method, also known as a silver nitrate titration method, utilizes the characteristics of silver nitrate that reacts with chloride ions to measure the salinity %. 

Created on 10/31/11 at 10:37:41

Conversley, some of the more popular salt meters emloy the electric conductivity method.  Both methods measure the salinity but operate on different measurement principles.  However, by creating a conversion table between the two testing methods, correlation between the set of results can be seen.

Created on 10/31/11 at 10:41:32  

Aside from the measurement capabilities of each approach there are pros and cons to each.

 Pro's and Con's


Salt Meter


 Measurement Range






 Ease of Use



 Time to test



















While each method has benefits we have recently found through some informal surveying that some food processors are choosing to use both methods.  These companies are finding that it is easier to use the hand held devices and perform quick spot checks on the production line.  If any problems are identified on the production line then further verification and testing can be performed using the titration approach.  Some think using this collaborative approach is ideal.smiley2



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How Much Does a Tensiometer Cost?

By Hank Levi on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 @ 03:37 PM



Tensiometers are instruments used for conducting surface analysis on liquid substances.  Typical applications Tensiometers perform include measuring surface tension, interfacial tension as well as liquid density and Lamella Length on some Tensiometer models.  Some models can also perform other tasks including powder wettability and dynamic contact angle of a solid substrate.  Depending on the types of information the operator is seeking to find one model may be more appropriate than the other.


To help prospective users evaluate and compare the different types of models available in the market we have prepared a reference document we call the:


"Tensiometer Selection Matrix"


This matrix is not necessarily brand specific as it was designed to help those seeking to compare capabilities and prices among popular manual Tensiometer models vs. popular Automatic or "digital" Tensiometer models.


We hope you find the Tensiometer Selection Matrix helpful in your search and evaluation of Tensiometers.

 Created on 09/22/11 at 12:43:16

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Can a Karl Fischer Titrator measure moisture in a solid sample?

By Hank Levi on Thu, Sep 15, 2011 @ 10:33 AM

YES IT CAN!Karl Fischer Titrator

You can measure moisture in solid samples including plastics, powders, ores, gooey substances that are thick and viscous, greases, and many more.  The key is sample preparation to ensure that a uniform material will be tested.  Once those details are worked out the pattern for testing is the same every time. 

You hear a lot about people running traditional Karl Fischer titration using direct injection with a syringe and needle. That’s pretty easy. 

  Learn more about the Karl Fischer 710 Series

So how do you test for moisture in solids?

For more awkward samples like a solid or solid-like substance we can evaluate the moisture using a Karl Fischer Titrator with an Evaporator Oven.ADP611 Solids Evaporator for Karl Fischer Titration

Believe it or not that’s pretty easy too. I guess that’s why we wrote this post. We wanted to let readers know that the process for running a Karl Fischer moisture test using an evaporator oven is not that difficult.  As mentioned already the most difficult part is probably working with your sample. To help show how the process works we created this short 7 minute video detailing the steps along the way. Please make note that the instruments used for this demonstration are the Karl Fischer Titrator (MKC-610DT) and the Evaporator Oven (ADP-611).

Hope you enjoy.

In the video below we show the 600 series Karl Fischer Titrator.  Today we have additional models like the MKC-710 series that work with the ADP-611 solids evaporator.

Find more Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator information


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Where can I get an electrode repaired? - Karl Fischer

By Hank Levi on Mon, Aug 08, 2011 @ 11:00 PM

We work with numerous titrator models and Electrode Repairencounter many of the day-to-day problems associated with broken electrodes.  In many instances some of the electrodes are destroyed beyond repair but in other circumstances we find that some are in fact capable of being repaired. Learn more about Karl Fischer Titration

Most of our success with repairing or refurbishing electrodes is with Karl Fischer Generator Electrodes (also known as Inner Burettes). 

However, we do try to evaluate and determine whether other types of electrodes can be repaired also.  Generally we will ask for a photo or other description of the damaged electrode to determine if a repair is possible.  An example of how we examine a typical Karl Fischer Generator Electrode can be viewed in the following short video.  Take a look and let us know if we can help you.

Created on 08/08/11 at 22:20:44

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WBGT and Washington State Safety

By Hank Levi on Tue, Aug 02, 2011 @ 02:40 PM

washingtonstate resized 600On July 5th, 2008, a workplace rule designed to protect workers from outdoor heat exposure took effect in Washington State. This rule was passed on June 4 after six public hearings were conducted on heat stress and its causes. The hearings confirmed what officials already knew: working outside in hot weather is a health hazard.  The three requirements for employers with employees who work outside are to:

·  Train employees and supervisors to recognize heat-related illness and what to do if someone has symptoms.

·  On days when temperatures require preventive measures, increase the volume of water available to employees.

·  Have the ability to appropriately respond to any employee with symptoms of illness.


It's now 3 years later...would a handheld WBGT Meter be a helpful tool?...


The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT Handheld meter) is a tool perfectly suited to helping Washington State employers comply with this new law. This hand-held tool is used to estimate the effect of temperature, humidity, and solar radiation on humans and determine appropriate exposure levels to high temperatures. A WBGT index is commonly used as a guide for environmental heat stress to prevent heat stroke during physical exercise or while at work. Based on the index shown, employers can estimate the probability that a heat-related illness with occur and provide the appropriate amount of water available for the current weather conditions. See a video demonstrating the use of the WBGT103 below.


For more information on the new Washington State law, go to: http://www.lni.wa.gov/safety/topics/atoz/heatstress/default.asp

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I'm Having Problems with my Volumetric Karl Fischer Titrator

By Hank Levi on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 @ 11:55 AM

Most operators who measure moisture Volumetric Karl Fischer Titratorusing a Volumetric Karl Fischer Titrator tend to have difficulty in 3 areas.   Unlike Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrators where the equipment setup and reagents are fairly straight forward, Volumetric Karl Fischer Titrators differ greatly.  Understanding how a Volumetric Karl Fischer Titrator differs and how the equipment functions is not only paramount in terms of knowing how to operate the instrument it is critical if you want to obtain accurate and repeatable results.

8 out of 10 questions we receive usually fall into one of these 3 problem areas:


  1. What REAGENTS should I use for testing my samples?  Titrants, Composites, Solvents?

  2. "TITER VALUE" ..Who, What, Where, Why and How?

  3. "SAMPLE SIZE" ..How much do I need or should I use? 

Learn more about Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration

Although these 3 areas at first may seem problematic and unrelated they are not.  In this 9-minute presentation we will explain why the burette size matters, how to calculate a correct sample size and explain how the volumetric titrator reagent strengths work.  Tying all three areas together will hopefully not only clear up some of the mysteries surrounding Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration but also empower operators with choices for conducting tests under varied conditions.  And, oh yes, obtain accurate and repeatable results every time.    Important note:1 ppm = 0.001 mg/g; 1 mg/g = 1000 ppm.

Created on 07/29/11 at 11:54:29

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Karl Fischer Titration and Water Standard Presentation

By Hank Levi on Tue, Jun 28, 2011 @ 10:43 AM

Kf waterstandard presentation resized 600In this presentation we discuss the basic Karl Fischer Water Standards and talk about some of their uses for both Coulometric and Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration.  We also describe some of the related problems that can be identified and overcome by using Karl Fischer Water Standards.

Learn more about Karl Fischer Titration

Find more Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator information

Learn more about Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration


Created on 06/28/11 at 10:48:28
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Karl Fisher Titration and the 20 Most Critical Questions

By Hank Levi on Sun, Jun 12, 2011 @ 12:27 PM

questionsAs a service provider of Karl Fisher testing apparatus, we see different moisture testing issues that many operators, managers, and even companies face. We have come to realize that helping operators become more knowledgeable about "the little things" can help boost confidence, improve performance and efficiency, and ensure accurate testing. 

Are you new to Karl Fisher Titration and just beginning to learn about moisture testing or has it just been a while since you had to pull the Karl Fisher Titrator out to run some tests?  Regardless of your reason we know how important it is to get up to speed quickly so you can be running tests and providing moisture test results to those who need them.

Learn more about Karl Fischer Titration

To help with this we have compiled a list of the 20 most critical questions to help operators navigate through the learning curve and gain a better understanding of Karl Fisher Titration.

Some examples of issues you will discover include:

1.  "Our Karl Fisher says 'OVER TITRATION' and the reagent is turning really dark. Why?”

2.  “Why won’t the instrument go into “Ready mode”?”

3.  “Results seem "all over the place", what should I do?”

4.  "We use a solids evaporator and we are getting ZERO moisture results. Why?"

5.  "How many tests can I run and when should I change out my reagents?"

 Find more Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator information 

Avoid unnecessary surprises by getting a copy of the complete list of questions and learn what the issues are and why they are important.

Created on 06/11/11 at 08:00:22

Learn more about Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration

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Karl Fisher Titration and drift

By Hank Levi on Fri, Jun 03, 2011 @ 12:36 PM

karl fisher driftSimply put, drift is background moisture that the Karl Fisher titrator is detecting.  What is background moisture?  Well, it is moisture that the Karl Fisher titrator (specifically the detector electrode) is detecting inside the vessel -that’s not coming from your sample.  Drift or "background moisture" can be the result of having the titration vessel sitting idle for some time where moisture has slowly infiltrated and accumulated inside the vessel, or it may be the result of a leak that is allowing a small amount of moisture to enter the vessel continually.  Although we might like to think that the Karl Fisher titrator vessel is air-tight/moisture-tight, it is not.  Depending on how well the vessel is sealed there may be a little or there may be a lot of background moisture interference.  All Karl Fisher titrators deal with the drift issue.  Unfortunately drift cannot be completely eliminated but the good news is that it can be reduced, measured, isolated, and discarded from your test results.

Find more Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator information

Before a single test is run on a Karl Fisher titrator it must go into a “ready” mode.   But before the titrator can go into a “ready” mode it most likely will go through a “pre-titration” mode.  During the “pre-titration” mode excess drift (moisture) is detected and removed by the reagent inside the vessel.  A “ready” mode ideally will occur when the drift being measured is low and steady/stable – usually below .1 micro grams per second.  Once the drift becomes low and stable the Karl Fisher Titrator records the drift level and goes into a “ready” mode and will allow the operator to introduce a sample into the vessel.  Upon completion of the test the Karl Fisher titrator adds up all of the moisture detected over the duration of the test and subtracts out the known drift level that was also measured during the test.  This process of knowing what the drift was before the test allows the Karl Fisher Titrator to then determine and backout the drift -leaving only the moisture detected from the sample as your result.

Learn more about Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration


 Created on 06/03/11 at 12:38:02

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Here are 6 Advantages Karl Fischer Titration offers when measuring moisture

By Hank Levi on Thu, Jun 02, 2011 @ 11:12 AM

Karl FisherThere are multiple methods of moisture determination, including loss on drying, Karl Fischer titration, piezoelectric sorption, spectroscopy, and chilled mirrors among others. However, it is advantageous to use Karl Fischer (KF) titration in moisture analysis for the following reasons:



  1. It is highly accurate and precise (Part Per Million Accuracy).
  2. KF is specific to water determination. This specification is different from the other popular moisture analysis method, loss on drying (LOD), because LOD can detect the loss of any volatile substance. However, this specification is advantageous because it allows KF titration to work independent from volatile substances present in the sample
  3. The process does not require large samples, which is typically truer with Loss on Drying where more sample is required to achieve higher accuracy and repeatability - which introduces another entirely different problem.
  4. It does not require much time to perform an analysis since the samples are easy to prepare and the analysis itself is short in duration.
  5. The method has a nearly unlimited measurement range (from 1ppm to 100%).
  6. Karl Fischer titration can determine the moisture content of a sample in any state, whether it is a solid, liquid, or gas.

We hope the above advantages show some of the benefits that Karl Fischer titrators can provide.  Even today with technological advancements Karl Fisher Titration remains very popular not only because of the advantages we mention, but also because it is widely accepted as a standard for moisture detection and measurement.  Learn more about Karl Fischer Titration

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How Interfacial Tension Helps Evaluate Emulsifications

By Hank Levi on Fri, May 27, 2011 @ 03:44 PM

oil and water emulsification

Measuring interfacial tension is effective in understanding how two or more immiscible liquids are, or can be - emulsified.

Immiscible liquids by definition are liquids incapable of being mixed to form a homogeneous substance.  Oil and water are immiscible.  We can act upon these immiscible liquids by emulsifying them into a single homogeneous substance referred to as an  emulsion.  Emulsifying two liquids that ordinarily do not mix well -such as oil and water- causes tiny droplets from one liquid to be suspended in the other liquid - forming an emulsion.

We refer to a liquid as a phase.  Where one phase meets another phase (liquid to liquid - oil to water for example) a boundary forms between them and an imbalance of forces occur.  The amount of the imbalance can attribute to an energy at the point where the two phases meet.  We refer to this energy as surface free energy where a measure of energy/area or interfacial tension as force/length can be observed.  Increasing the interface area by dispersing one liquid phase into another by emulsification or the use of a surfactant for example will result in a lower interfacial tension.  The Interfacial Tension is measured in Dynes per Centimeter using an instrument known as a tensiometer.

Understanding these relationships exist and measuring them under different testing conditions is important to understanding how many liquid products interact. Knowing the interfacial tension becomes more important for researchers on how best to pursue future R&D as well as for production managers to maintain quality control for existing products used every day.  Some examples of industry where effectively measuring and monitoring emulsifications is important include:

  • Food Products
  • Beverages
  • Dairy Products
  • Cosmetics
  • Chemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals
Developing fluid separation and dispersion of oils in dressings and mayonnaise are very commonly studied for food R&D.  Developing new cosmetic formulations are also popular and important. 
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Karl Fischer Titrators; How much reagent do I need?

By Hank Levi on Fri, May 20, 2011 @ 02:48 PM

This is a popular question for most operators using a coulometricKarl Fisher Reagents Karl Fischer titrator.  So let's get started.  There are two things to consider.  First, you have the chemical limitations of the reagents themselves.  Second, you have the user/operator variable. Sometimes changing the reagent has more to do with the condition of the reagent sitting in the vessel.  How full is the vessel after running numerous test? How long has the reagent been sitting in the vessel? How messy is the reagent and sample residue inside the vessel? Sometimes the user may simply want to replace the reagents because they look dirty/messy or their vessel is too full from adding samples during previous tests.

Setting aside those factors just mentioned, if we look at the reagents themselves and their capacity to measure moisture, we can come up with a general guideline as follows:

Note:  This example describes a Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator with dual reagent setup (using Anolyte and Catholyte)

1.  In general and with regard to reagent brand, 100mL of Anolyte (AKA Anode- the reagent used in the vessel) reagent analyzes up to 1gram (1 million micro grams) of water.  20mL of Catholyte (AKA Cathode- the reagent used in the generator electrode/inner buret) reagent analyzes up to 1gram (1 million micro grams) of water.  The relationship according to the amount of water each reagent can analyze has a relationship of 100mL Anolyte to 20mL Catholyte – a 20% relationship of catholyte to anolyte.

2.  Anolyte is commonly purchased in 500ml bottles, Catholyte is commonly purchased in10x5mL ampules.

3.  A typical coulometric Karl Fischer titrator Vessel is charged with 75mL of anolyte and 1ea 5mL catholyte ampule.  Based on the 20% relationship it says that 3x5mL catholyte ampules would be used with each 75mL vessel charge of Anolyte.

4.  A 500mL bottle of Anolyte can charge the Coulometric Karl Fischer titrator vessel 6.6 times (round to 6 times to account for spillage).  3x5mL Catholyte ampules per charge of the vessel times 6 charges of the vessel = 18x5mL catholyte ampules.

Typically users do not expire the entire useful life of the reagents moisture measuring capability because of some of the factors I mentioned initially.  Another factor that I have to mention is that ambient moisture will require the coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator to maintain a dry vessel.  This process of keeping or getting the vessel in a ready to go mode can use some of the reagents useful life.  e.g. it’s not counting the moisture in your samples but that of the outside ambient moisture – for the most part this should be a small amount, but something to keep in mind and know about.

Learn more about Karl Fischer Titration

So, with all of this information, the question you may have is how long will my reagents last?  Well, that depends.  But, if you want to continue using the math we have already discussed, then, 1 charge of the vessel (75mL of anolyte with 3x5mL catholyte ampules) can measure 750,000 micro grams of water.

And, for those of you who think in Parts Per Million (PPM) you can translate into the  following:

PPM = micro grams of H2O detected / Your Sample Size (in grams)

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Calibrating Karl Fisher Titrators using water standards

By Hank Levi on Fri, May 20, 2011 @ 02:33 PM

“Calibrating” a Karl Fischer titrator is somewhat of a misnomer.MKC520 Karl Fisher Titrator What most operators are attempting to do is determine whether their Karl Fisher titrator is measuring moisture accurately.

A simple method is to run a water standard through the Karl Fischer Titrator like a normal direct injection test. Depending on the water standard you use, the result should equal a pre-determined level of moisture plus or minus a margin for error. These water standards are certified by the manufacturer (a certificate is included) to equal a precise level of moisture.

Learn more about the Karl Fischer 710 Series

We use Hydranal water standards. There are two kinds we typically use for coulometric Karl Fischer Titrators.

1) 0.1 normal

2) 1.0 normal.

The 0.1 normal administered at about 1mL should result in 100ppm (Parts Per Million) of moisture when measured. The acceptable result for this standard for the Karl Fischer titrator is +/- 10%. So your Karl Fischer Titrator should produce a reading between 90ppm and 110ppm to be in the acceptable range. If it is, you know your Karl Fischer Titrator is performing correctly.

Find more Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrator information

For the 1.0 normal everything is the same except the standard should result in 1,000ppm and your acceptable range is smaller at +/-3%. So your Karl Fischer Titrator should produce a reading between 970ppm and 1,030ppm.

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Karl Fisher Titration can be used to measure solid and liquid samples

By Hank Levi on Wed, May 11, 2011 @ 01:19 PM

We get this question a lot.  "How do you go about testing for moisture if the sample is in liquid form?..What about solid form?"

Well basically, moisture testing using the karl fischer method is a standard in the industry that measures down to the Parts per million (PPM) level.  The theoretical accuracy is down to 1 part per million level.  I say theoretical because usually any variance is due to atmospheric conditions and operator repeatability.  Specifically, and for this example, “coulometric” Karl Ficsher is best when you are using a small sample and expect and are trying to measure less than 1% (1%moisture =10,000PPM) of water (moisture/humidity) in your sample.  [Note: there is a volumetric Karl Fischer method vs. coulometric Karl Fisher method but for this discussion I am speaking from the coulometric Karl Fischer standpoint]

With this in mind,

A. If you are testing a liquid sample you only have to use the karl fischer titrator and directly inject the liquid sample with a syringe (usually around 1mL) into the vessel.

B. If you are testing a solid sample (that cannot be “broken down sufficiently with solvents like Xylene for example) you will use both the karl Fischer AND an evaporator oven.  The evaporator oven heats up the sample (usually the sample size is less than 1gram…we typically might use 1/10th of a gram..but then again we might use 3 grams -it really depends on how much moisture you expect to find). The evaporator is connected with a nitrogen gas source that is used to deliver the moisture via a heater tube on the evaporator into the titration vessel.

To see an actual demonstration of the Karl Fischer Titrator and the evaporator oven during an actual test please view the video below and watch the short 2 to 3 minute video.


To be sure there are many more things I could mention but this is a high level summary of the two approaches.

Hope this helps.

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Sneak Peak at new Potentiometric Titrator AT-700!

By Hank Levi on Mon, May 09, 2011 @ 11:44 AM

Potentiometric Titrator AT-700






Here it is!  The new AT-700 Potentiometric Titrator with integrated sample changer, CHA-700, is coming out soon.  Manufactured by Kyoto Electronics Manufacturing (KEM) this will mark their 7th generation of industrial grade, high quality, titration instrumentation.  We have not yet received all of the details on this amazing looking, newly designed potentiometric titrator but can tell you that it incorporates a carousel design sample changer that handles eight samples.  From the photo you can see how the sample changer's compact design revolves around the Potentiometric Titrator.  There are a few key design features on the new potentiometric titrator:

  • No need to read measurement parameters
  • New burette system
  • All-in-one compact design

We're told this new design will make significant improvements with the measurement of Mercaptans down to 1PPM (ASTMD3227,UOP163,IP272).

*Advantages include a special sealing cell and electrodes to avoid oxidization of mercaptan sulfer under atmospheric conditions.

*Application: Determination of mercaptan sulfer and hydrogen sulfide in fuels and liquid petroleum gases (LPG) is one of the important applications in petroleum and gas analysis.

We anticipate this newly designed Potentiometric Titrator will serve many other titration applications and provide operators with a compact yet fully automated functioning titrator.

As we receive more information on this new titration system we will let you know.

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Karl Fischer Water Standards

By Hank Levi on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 @ 02:49 PM

timthumb.phpA Word About Karl Fischer Water Standards

Some operators use Karl Fischer water standards daily while others do so sparingly. Regardless of the type of operator you are, there still seems to be some confusion about what Karl Fischer water standards are supposed to accomplish and/or why we use them.

Water standards for Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrators verify “recovery” of a known amount of water. We say “recovery” because we are seeking to recover or measure water that was introduced during a test. When introducing a water standard with a known amount of water using a syringe and needle — known as the direct injection method — we should expect to recover all of that water. If we do not recover it all, there could be a problem.

Water standards can also be used to verify recovery for Volumetric Karl Fischer Titrators, but they can also be used to help calculate the titer value associated with Volumetric Titration. Additionally, if a solids evaporator oven is being utilized in conjunction with a Karl Fischer Titrator, we can use a water standard in powder form to verify moisture delivery from the evaporator to the titrator.

We offer a line of Karl Fischer Water Standards covering a range of moisture content for both direct injection tests as well as evaporator powder standards.

Typically, the high range standard known as “10.0” is used with the Volumetric Karl Fischer Titrators. The other lower range water standards including the “1.0”, “0.1” and “Water Standard Oil”, are used with the Coulometric Karl Fischer Titrators. You can see a breakdown of the water standards as follows:

· “10.0” contains 10.0mg (10,000 micro grams) of H20 per gram (1g = 1mL)
· “1.0” contains 1.0mg (1,000 micro grams) of H20 per gram (1g=1mL)
· “0.1” contains 0.1mg (100 micro grams) of H20 per gram (1g=1.16mL*)
· “Water standard oil” contains a target PPM result (by LOT) of 6.0PPM
· “Water standard KF oven” (230°-240° C) approximate 5.55% result
· “Water standard KF oven” (140°-160° C) approximate 5.0% result

Note that a water standard with a specific gravity of 1.0 means that 1gram (mass) is equal to 1 milliliter (volume). You will notice that the “0.1” water standard has a specific gravity of less than 1.0 because it contains some xylene (we will cover specific gravity in more detail later).

To actually run a direct injection water standard test the operator will typically fill their syringe with 4 mL of water standard (water standards are generally sold in convenient 4mL ampules) and dispose of 1 mL to clean and prep the needle prior to conducting a direct injection water standard check. Utilizing the 3 mL remaining inside the syringe, three separate tests can be performed by injecting 1mL for each subsequent test. If the operator finds the results to be inconsistent, a larger amount of water standard can be used for each injection to improve accuracy and repeatability.

Hopefully this information will help with some of the challenges many operators encounter daily as well as improve performance and reliability of moisture testing results. 

We will cover more regarding Karl Fischer Titration including using specific gravity, trouble shooting problems, volumetric reagents and calculating sample sizes to name a few. Until then, we hope you will continue to read, enjoy and share our posts regarding the interesting and sometimes confusing topic of Karl Fischer Titration.

Thanks for reading and, as always, feedback is welcome.

Hank Levi

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Surface Tension of drinking water, human consumption & health

By Hank Levi on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 @ 02:46 PM

BBA 071 1542220We all know that surface tension affects our daily lives thru everyday applications like the ink you use in a pen, detergents for washing clothes, soap to clean your hands, paint for the house, just to name a few.  But Surface tension is more involved in your life than you may think.

Tap water is usually around 72 to 73 dynes/cm.  This can vary by temperature and other variables but for the sake of this blog post we will assume 73 dynes/cm.  Now this is where it gets interesting.  At 73 dynes/cm water will hydrate you.  Or does it?  You see, It is known that on a cellular level your body has to convert fluids to 45 dynes/cm to allow the water to penetrate the human cells.  Once water penetrates the cells it can hydrate and remove toxins from the cells.   If water cannot effectively penetrate human cells an accumulation can build up and over time cause the cells to die.  Amazingly, I have seen places around the world where people claim to have special water.  They claim their water has a lower surface tension and less colloidal minerals.  You knew this was coming..Yes, these same people have demonstrated good health as they easily live to be 100 years old!  And yes, they attribute this to their water.

Not surprisingly, I see web sites now that sell supplements to lower the surface tension of  water to improve your health.

Fact or Fiction you ask?
I think I am going to order some of these supplements and check it myself with a digital tensiometer!  As they say the proof is in the pudding. Or in this case the surface tension!

Stay tuned.  I will update my findings and how I did.

Thank You,

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Volumetric Karl Fisher Titration. What’s that all about?

By Hank Levi on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 @ 02:36 PM

karl fisher titrationMost people know about Karl Fisher as a method for determining moisture content.  After that there seems to be confusion when the words “Coulometric” and “Volumetric” are mentioned.  It goes something like this:

Novice: “Hi, I need to test for moisture and I need a Karl Fisher Titrator.  Can you tell me how much it costs?”

Expert: “O.K., do you need a Coulometric or Volumetric Karl Fisher Titrator?”

Novice: “uh what?”

Expert: “Well you see there are two kinds of Karl Fisher Titrators.  Depending on your sample size and the amount of moisture you expect to find -it may not only be advantageous but necessary to use a Coulometric vs. a Volumetric..and or vice versa.”

Novice: “I see.”  So how do I know what kind of Karl Fisher I need?

Expert: “Generally speaking, if you are working with small samples (0 to a few grams) AND the expected moisture is low (around 1% or less) you probably want to use a Coulometric Karl Fisher.  On the other hand, if your sample size is larger AND you expect to find a lot of moisture in the 2%+ range then you probably should consider a Volumetric Karl Fisher Titrator.”

Novice: “Do they both report moisture results the same way? You know, accuracy, resolution, repeatability?”

Expert: “Yes they do.  Both Volumetric and Coulometric Karl Fisher Titrators report moisture results in either Parts Per Million (PPM) or %.

Novice: “So then what makes them different?”

Expert: “Coulomeric Karl Fisher Titrators use a reagent called an Anolyte.  This Anolyte is 100% self contained and requires only an electrical current to cause a reaction where the Anolyte releases iodine.  It is this “iodine” that “neutralizes” the moisture inside the vessel.  A typical Coulometric Karl Fisher Titration Vessel can hold about 75mL of Anolyte.  The amount of Anolyte inside the vessel can only “release” so much iodine and therefore can only neutralize and measure a finite amount of moisture.  In this case using the 75mL as the example the reagent can only neutralize and measure 750,000 micro grams of moisture (water/H2O).  Now compare this to a Volumetric Karl Fisher and the game changes.  The Volumetric Karl Fisher method does not use a single self-contained Anolyte reagent that reacts to an electrical current.  Instead, the Volumetric titration is performed by “dripping” in IODINE at an precise amount into the titration vessel where there is a SOLVENT solution present in the vessel.

Novice: “How does the Volumetric Titrator “Drip in” IODINE into the vessel where the SOLVENT is located?”

Expert:”Good question.  It uses a buret that has a piston that moves up and down pulling The IODINE solution from a source bottle into and filling the buret and then pushing it out through tubing and into the vessel. ”

Novice: “Is there another name for this “IODINE solution”?  How do I get it?

Expert: “Another good question.  “This IODINE solution” is what makes the volumetric method so versatile when measuring larger amounts of moisture via Karl Fisher Titration.  The Iodine solution can come in two forms and with differing strengths.”

Novice:” Two forms?  Different strengths? Huh?

Expert: ” Yes, the two forms are referred to as “One-Component” and “Two-Component”.”

Expert: “The “One-Component” Iodine solution is referred to as Composite or Titer.  The Composite can come in 3 strengths; 1 (1mL of composition can consume 1mg or 1,000micro grams of water), 2 (1mL of composition can consume 2mg or 2,000micro grams of water) and 5 (1mL of composition can consume 5mg or 5,000micro grams of water).  We refer to these compositions as Composition-1 (aka Comp1), Composition-2 (aka Comp2), and Composition-5 (aka Comp5).

Novice: Differing Strengths.  Hmmm.  So for every 1mL you “drip in” it will consume, neutralize and measure the corresponding amount of moisture depending on the Composition strength.

Expert: “That’s right.  So for example if you use a Volumetric Karl Fisher Titrator with a 20mL buret you could conceivably introduce in one push of the piston that’s inside the buret, 20mLs of Composition.  If your using Comp5 you would be able to consume, neutralize and measure 20mL x 5,000 micro grams =100,000 micro grams of water.   Most Composition are sold in 500mL bottles.  So each bottle has the capacity to consume, neutralize and measure 2,500,000 micro grams of water.

Novice: “That’s a lot of water measuring capability!”

Expert: “Yes it is.”

Learn more about Volumetric Karl Fischer Titration 

This is a simple example and there are other factors to be considered for sure.  We thought this brief example would help those just getting started and trying to understand the basic comparison between Coulometic Karl Fisher and Volumetric Karl Fisher.

Volumetric Reagents & Water Standards

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