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Although the theory behind each specific solution analysis are found on the Plating Solution Analysis page, there are many basic skills that are necessary to preform those tests. These skills such as using a pipette or operating an electronic device, such as a spectrophotometer, are necessary to have in order to complete the solution analysis.

Using A Pipette

A pipette is device used for measuring and delivering a specific volume of solution. Pipettes are widely used specifically because of their ability to measure a specific volume of solution very accurately. A pipette is operated by immersing the tip into a solution and creating a vacuum in the pipette that causes the solution to be sucked up into the pipette, the vacuum is then released allowing the solution to drain to a specific level indicated on the pipette. This specific level is different for each pipette and indicates the solution volume that the pipette is calibrated for. A specific volume of a solution of unknown concentration is necessary as it enables the titration of the solution with a reagent of known concentration and volume and the final calculation of the concentration of the solution.

When using a pipette the solution is sucked up to above the volume marker and then discharged back into the solution to wash the inside. The solution is then again sucked into the pipette to above the volume marker and allowed to drain until the bottom of the meniscus is level with the the volume marker. The solution currently contained in the pipette will deliver what is necessary to preform the titration.

Using A Burette

A burette is a cylindrical glass tube with volume gradients over its entire length and a stopcock valve at one end. A burette is used to measure the amount of reagent used while titrating. A Burette is used by filling it with an excess of the reagent and allowing it to drain to the zero marker at the top and stopping the flow using the stopcock at the opposite end. Once filled the burette is used to measure the volume of the reagent added to the sample during titration. As burettes measure from the top since they are used to measure liquids dispensed out the bottom. The difference between starting and final volume is the amount dispensed.

Using A Spectrophotometer

A spectrophotometer is a type of photometer that measures the adsorption of particular wavelengths of light. A spectrophotometer is typically used to measure the concentration of chemicals in solution this is possible for two main reasons. First is that all things that posses color absorb most wavelengths of light while reflecting the the wavelength of light that corresponds to the color that they appear. This property is exploited by the spectrophotometer that is capable of generating a wide range of wavelengths of light and measuring a sample's absorbance of that wavelength. Second is that Beer's Law states that the absorbance of light through a material is directly related to the properties of that substance. Most generally is the fact that the concentration of a chemical is inversely proportional to its absorbance of light. This fact makes it easy to calculate the concentration of a chemical by finding its absorbance.