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Technique E Volumetric Transfer of Reagent_ 1_1_1

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    Technique E: Volumetric Transfer of Reagent Using Pipet 


    Section 1: Purpose of Technique 


    This technique describes how to properly use a volumetric pipet to collect, measure, and transfer a precise volume of liquid. 


    Section 2: Operations for Volumetric Pipet Transfer  


    One of the most common type of volumetric glassware is the volumetric pipet. The volumes most often used in chemistry labs are 1.00-ml (milliliter), 2.00-ml, 3.00-ml, 5.00-ml, 10.00-ml, and 25.00-ml pipets. The volumetric pipet is used to transfer a specific volume of liquid from one container to another. It is an elongated glass tube with two, slim hollow glass stems in between a glass bulb containing the marked volume of the pipet. Above the glass bulb, there is a calibration line that specifies the volume of liquid withdrawn at a specific temperature. On the bottom stem, there is a fine, tapered tip that allows a precise stream of liquid to be dispensed. A rubber pipet bulb is used to generate suction and control the amount of reagent collected by the volumetric pipet.   


    1. Obtain two clean and dry beakers or other containers. One will be used for stock reagent.  One will be used to receive the dispensed liquid. 


    1. Collect enough reagent for procedure. Obtain a volumetric pipet of the appropriate volume for the experiment and a rubber pipet bulb.  



    • Either start with a dry pipet, or the pipet will need to be rinsed with a little of the solution that you are measuring. 

    • Several styles of pipet bulbs are available.  The style shown does not affix to the top of the pipet, it is only pressed briefly at the end of the pipet to generate a temporary seal.   


    1. Hold the pipet from the top stem, expel air from the pipet bulb.  Hold the pipet bulb on the top of the pipet and submerge the pipet tip below the surface of the reagent. Slowly release the pipet bulb to provide suction and fill above the calibration line of the pipet.  




    1. Stop suctioning when the meniscus is a few centimeters above the calibration mark.   Keep the pipet tip submerged in the solution you are measuring.  Be careful as the height of the liquid being sucked into the pipet gets faster as you get to the top.  Align your eye to the calibration mark so that is appears as a single paint line.   


    1. When the liquid is above the calibration mark, remove the pipet bulb and immediately cover the opening of the pipet with your index finger. Gently release the seal with your finger to allow the solution to drain from the pipet due to gravity.  Let the meniscus move down until it is just touching the paint line of the calibration mark.  


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    1. Withdraw the pipet from the solution and quickly wipe the exterior of the pipet to make sure there are no remaining liquid droplets.  Place the pipet over your receiving container and release your index finger to allow the liquid to stream down.  Once the pipet has fully drained, wait an addition 15 seconds to ensure that all the solution had been delivered.   


    1. Tap the surface of the liquid three times with the tip of the pipet to reduce any surface tension built up in the beaker.  Do not blow out the last drop from the pipet.  The transfer pipet is calibrated to contain this last drop. 


    Section 3: Tips for a Precise Measurement 


    The balance will not give a precise measurement of volume if the volumetric pipet is mishandled or not cared for. When handling a volumetric pipet, there are certain factors that should be evaluated before throughout the procedure: 


    1. The tip of the pipet should always be examined before the experiment begins to check if there is any damage that can affect the accuracy of the measurement. If the tip is chipped or shows any sign of damage that contacts the center hole of the pipet tip, insufficient surface tension will be present to maintain a constant size of the remaining drop in the transfer pipet.  The pipet is likely not repairable and should be discarded. 


    1. It is highly important to hold the pipet from the top stem rather than in the middle.  The middle of the pipet is made of very thin glass and can easily be broken when lateral force and torque is applied.   


    1. Before placing the pipet bulb onto the opening of the pipet, squeeze the bulb to expel air before contacting it on top of the pipet.  This will seal any air around the pipette that will make it hard to collect any liquid. It is not necessary to squeeze the bulb so vigorously to capture liquid. Slow presses on the bulb will allow enough liquid to come up and will give you control on the speed the liquid is collected at. 


    1. If the meniscus is not a little higher than the calibration mark while the pipet is submerged into the liquid, then the volume collected will not result in a precise mass. Once the pipet is taken out of the liquid, the change in volume allows the liquid to decrease which reduces the amount of mass the balance will read. 


    1. When transferring liquid using the volumetric pipet, it is important to use your index finger to stop the flow of liquid rather than your thumb.  Thumbs tend to have larger areas of contact, which lead to less control of releasing pressure.  


    1. While the reagent is streaming down, do not let the tip of the pipet hit the liquid’s surface or the sides of the beaker. 


    Section 4: Further Information 


    Getting accurate results using the volumetric pipet takes practice. In order to achieve precise measurements of volume for an experiment, you must know how the pipet works and how to take care of it properly. For further information on using a volumetric pipet, check out the resources provided below.  










    Technique E Volumetric Transfer of Reagent_ 1_1_1 is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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