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Standardizing a Solution of Sodium Hydroxide

Experiment #6 from Advanced Chemistry with Vernier

Education Level
High School


It is often necessary to test a solution of unknown concentration with a solution of a known, precise concentration. The process of determining the unknown’s concentration is called standardization.

Solutions of sodium hydroxide are virtually impossible to prepare to a precise molar concentration because the substance is hygroscopic. In fact, solid NaOH absorbs so much moisture from the air that a measured sample of the compound is never 100% NaOH. On the other hand, the acid salt potassium hydrogen phthalate, KHC8H4O4, can be measured out in precise mass amounts. It reacts with NaOH in a simple 1:1 stoichiometric ratio, thus making it an ideal substance to use to standardize a solution of NaOH.


In this experiment, you will

  • Prepare an aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide to a target molar concentration.
  • Determine the concentration of your NaOH solution by titrating it with a solution of potassium hydrogen phthalate, abbreviated KHP, with an exact molar concentration.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #6 of Advanced Chemistry with Vernier. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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