What Is the Karl Fischer Method of Measuring Water?


Quick Answer

The Karl Fischer method of measuring water is known as Karl Fischer titration, and it is a form of analytic chemistry that allows chemists to determine how much water is present in any given sample. It is extremely accurate and can detect water levels as low as one parts-per-million in a range of liquids, oils and fluids of many different kinds.

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Born in Munich in 1901, Karl Fischer was a skilled German chemist who published his method for determining trace amounts of water in samples. Though his method was once protracted as it was performed manually using a simple combination of iodine and water, it has since been automated and remains the primary method of determination used by chemical manufacturers, oil refiners and academia around the world.

The word "titration" refers to the practice of performing a chemical analysis of a substance using a reagent that is applied methodically until an expected or desired chemical reaction occurs.

There are two primary methods of Karl Fischer titration test, an extremely accurate test using a coulometric titrator, which is capable of measuring truly minuscule amounts of trace element, and a volumetric tirator, which adds a titrant to a suitable sample using a chemical dispensing burette.

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