Estimation of Chlorine in Household Bleach

Estimation of Chlorine in Household Bleach

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Estimation of Chlorine in Household Bleach

In this investigation, I am looking to determine the amount of
chlorine present in household bleach. However, in order to do this I
would have to calculate the mass represented by chlorine in the mass
of the household bleach. After doing that, I would then have to
represent this as a percentage.

In order to calculate the mass represented by the chlorine in the mass
of the household bleach, I would have to titrate this solution, along
with an excess of potassium iodide and ethanoic acid against sodium
thiosulphate from the burette using starch solution as an indicator.
The reason for this choice of indicator is that iodine is turned blue
black by the starch solution, and this therefore helps to indicate any
colour change that occurs.

I began my investigation by measuring out 10mls of household bleach
using a measuring cylinder. I poured this into a volumetric flask, and
used distilled water to ensure that all 10mls of the bleach were in
the volumetric flask and not in the measuring cylinder. This was then
topped up to 250ml using distilled water in the volumetric flask. I
had to make sure that the bleach solution is mixed completely and
shook the flask from top to bottom. This results in air bubbles
forming along with some froth, meaning I had to leave the flask to

While I was leaving the bleach to settle, I must transfer 30 cm3 of
sodium thiosulphate from its beaker to the burette. Before doing that,
I had washed the burette with a little bit of sodium thiosulphate,
which would allow the solution to run smoothly into the tip of the
burette. Having done that, I would need to see where the bottom of the
meniscus lies, i.e. V1, unless it lies on zero, and then record this
value. Also a funnel should be used to ensure that all 30 cm3 of
sodium thiosulphate is in the burette.

Back to the bleach, where I would have to transfer 25mls of the bleach

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from the volumetric flask to a clean conical flask. To do this, I
would have to use a pipette-filler to extract 25mls of bleach from the
flask to the conical flask. At this stage, I would need to ensure that
the burette is clamped with the side showing the measurements facing
me; the conical flask is placed underneath the tap of the burette and
is placed on a white tile.

To this, I must add 30 mls of potassium iodide and ethanoic acid.
Potassium iodide is used to give us the amount of chlorine produced,
(i.e. the mass of the chlorine in the bleach) and ethanoic acid is
used to ensure that the experiment is carried out in acidic
conditions, which would suit the starch solution. Two or three drops
must be added, as this is only an indicator.

The investigation begins as my partner, allowing the sodium
thiosulphate to enter the conical flask dropwise, opens the burette
tap. As this investigation was carried out in pairs, I did the
swirling. This must be done until the indicator changes colour
completely. This is known as the 'end-point' of the titration. In this
case, the colour of the solution would change from blue-back to
cream/colourless. After stopping the tap, I would have to read the
burette again (V2). Then I would have to subtract this from the
previous reading of the bottom of the meniscus (V1) to give the volume
of sodium thiosulphate required to react with the ethanoic acid.

This titration should be repeated, so an average titre is obtained.
From this volume, we can now determine the percentage of chlorine
present in household bleach. My results are shown in the table below:

V1, the bottom of the meniscus

V2, alkali used to neutralise the acid

V2- V1, the amount of alkali used












During the experiment, the bleach liberates chlorine readily when
reacting with the ethanoic acid: - ClO-(aq) + 2H+ (aq) + Cl- (aq) → Cl2
(aq) + H2O (l) (1).

The amount of chlorine present in the household bleach, which contains
Sodium Chlorate (I) can be found by allowing the bleach to react with
an iodide solution to react with an iodide solution to form, and then
titrating with thiosulphate solution: -

ClO- (aq) + 2H+ (aq) + 2I- (aq) → I2 (aq) + Cl- (aq) + H2O (l) (2).

2S2O32- (aq) + I2 (aq) → S4O62- (aq) + 2I- (aq) (3)

Now I can begin to work out the percentage of chlorine in household

I know that the concentration of the sodium thiosulphate is 0.100M.
This means I can calculate the number of moles present. From the
investigation, I know that 20.1cm3 of sodium thiosulphate is required
to neutralise the ethanoic acid.




This shows that there are 2.01 X 10-3 moles of sodium thiosulphate. 2
moles of thiosulphate will react with 1 mole of iodine, meaning that
2.01 X 10-3 moles of sodium thiosulphate would react with [0.5 X (2.01
X 10-3)] moles of iodine. The fact that there were 1.005 X 10-3 moles
of iodine in reaction (3) means that the same amount of moles was
present in reaction (2). This means that the same amount of moles of
ClO- and Cl2. In the calculations below, you will see that I have
multiplied the first answers I received by ten. The reason for this is
that the mass at first is low due to the fact that this is a sample
transferred from the volumetric flask at first as a 25ml sample. To
get the number of grams present in the 250ml, I have multiply by ten.
The number of moles in a 25ml sample will be ten times smaller than
the number of moles present in a 250ml sample. Therefore this means
that the mass of chlorate and chlorine present in a 25ml sample will
be ten times smaller than the mass of chlorate and chlorine present in
a 250ml sample.







Now I have got the original masses of the chlorine and the chlorate,
so therefore I can calculate the available chlorine in the bleach.



During this investigation, there were many improvements that could
have been made to the investigation. These improvements could include
more co-ordination between my partner and I, which had resulted in the
first attempt of the back titration, where I had closed the tap a bit
late due to a late call from my partner to call 'stop' when the
end-point had been reached.

Normally, the amount of sodium thiosulphate solution required to
neutralise the amount of ethanoic acid is the same, but in the case of
my investigation, they differ by quite a large range. They differ by
1.1, which is quite big, but the gap is not big enough to affect the
results I get.

Despite that, no anomalies had occurred throughout the investigation.
Possible changes to how investigation was carried out could be that
the attempts could have been done separately. My investigation was
carried straight after one another, as a result of a lack of sodium
thiosulphate, after washing the vessels, which was needed to prevent
any interference from the previous attempt. This could have led to
more accurate results and better reading of the meniscus. My partner
and I had completed the investigation quickly meaning that the
investigation lacked some accuracy. So to change this, I would have
preferred to complete the investigation with a bit more haste. Also to
improve my investigation, I could have used more technologically
advanced equipment, but unfortunately these were unavailable.

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