How to Know When a Titration Is Complete


The simplest way to track the progress of a titration is with the use of a chemical called an indicator. The most common kind of titration is an acid-base titration; these experiments are monitored with the aid of a pH indicator like phenolphthalein or thymol blue. You should add a couple drops of your chosen indicator before beginning the titration; while performing the titration, follow the steps outlined below.

  • Look up the pH indicator using the link in the Resources section if you are performing an acid-base titration. The pH indicator is a chemical that changes color over a given pH range. Before beginning your titration, you should have added a couple drops of the indicator, so you'll already know which one you are using. The link under the Resources section will tell you what color change to expect when your titration is complete.

  • Swirl the flask of analyte while adding titrant from the buret. (The analyte is the chemical you are testing in the titration, while the titrant is the standard you are adding.) Swirling will make sure the analyte remains well-mixed so that the color change (when it occurs) is an accurate reflection of the pH of the solution.

  • Try placing the flask containing the analyte on a piece of paper or a Kimwipe. The white background will help you see the color change when it occurs.

  • Add titrant slowly. If you add titrant too quickly, you could easily overshoot the end point of your titration, at which point you may need to repeat the entire experiment.

  • Watch the solution closely for the color change. Once the solution begins to change color and the new color persists for at least 30 seconds, you have reached the end point of your titration.

Tips & Warnings

  • The most common mistake is to add titrant too quickly and overshoot the end point. Try doing a "quick and dirty" trial run to get an idea of how many milliliters of titrant are needed to reach the endpoint. Once you know approximately where the endpoint is, you can go back and do a more careful second trial; this time, you can add titrant quickly until you begin to approach the volume you added in the first "quick and dirty" trial and then slow down and add titrant just a drop at a time.


  • "Chemical Principles: The Quest for Insight"; Peter Atkins, et al.; 2008
  • "Chemistry 7L Lab Manual"; Sandrine Berniolles; 2010
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet



You May Also Like

  • What Do College Transcripts Look Like?

    For a novice, viewing a college transcript for the first time may lead to confusion and even frustration. Because a governing body...

  • What Is an Indicator for a Titration?

    Learning about titrations makes up one of the rites of passage for beginning chemistry students. In a titration, you determine an unknown...

  • Definition of Toxic Endpoint

    Companies are required to run tests to assess how hazardous a compound (e.g., pesticides, manufacturing effluent) is before release into the environment....

  • How to Tell Someone How You Feel

    For some people, speaking their mind isn't very easy. In the end many will find that while it may be difficult, those...

  • How to Prepare a Titration

    Titrations are prepared in a chemistry laboratory to determine the unknown concentration of one solution, called the analyte, by adding an amount...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Build and Grow a Salad Garden On Your Balcony

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!