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Analysis of a Commercial Bleach

Laboratory #10
Henry Ko
AP Chemistry
Dulaney High School
January 22, 2009

In this experiment, the amount of sodium hypochlorite in commercial bleach will be determined by
reacting it with sodium thiosulfate while in the presence of iodide ions and starch. A solution of sodium
thiosulfate of a known concentration will be added to the bleach using a buret in a titration. An average
of 17.2 mL of sodium thiosulfate was used in the titration, resulting in a calculation of 4.7% of sodium
hypochlorite in the commercial bleach. Because the expected value was 6%, the percent error was calculated
to be 21.67%.

Commercial bleaches are made by bubbling chlorine gas into a sodium hydroxide solution. Some of the
chlorine is oxidized to the hypochlorite ion present in a solution, ClO , and some is reduced to the chloride
ion, Cl . Therefore, the solution remains strongly basic. The ionic chemical equation for the process is:
Cl2 (g) + 2 OH (aq)

ClO (aq) + Cl (aq) + H2 O(l)


The amount of hypochlorite ion present in a solution of bleach is determined by a redox titration. In this
experiment, the titration involves iodide and thiosulfate ions. Iodide ion, I can be oxidized by almost any
oxidizing agent. Three reactions occur that analyze the titration:
2 H+ (aq) + ClO (aq) + 2 I (aq)

Cl (aq) + I2 (aq) + H2 O(l)

I2 (aq) + I (aq) I
3 (aq)

3 (aq)

2 S2 O32 (aq)

3 I (aq) +


S4 O62 (aq)


The last reaction has the triiodide ions (originally red-brown) fade to yellow and eventually clear (iodide
ion). Addition of starch turns the solution into a deep blue color which can be reversed. The disappearance
of the blue color provides an effective method of determining the endpoint.

Transfer 5.00 mL of commercial bleach solution into a 100 mL volumetric flask. Dilute the solution
with distilled water and mix well. Two grams of solid KI is massed and added to the flask. Twenty-five
mL of distilled water is also added to the volumetric flask. The flask is then swirled to dissolve the KI,
and then 2 mL of 3 M HCl. A buret is set up with 0.100 M sodium thiosulfate solution. The initial buret
volume reading is recorded. The solution is then titrated until the iodine color of red-brown fades to light
yellow. Then, a dropperful of starch solution is added, which should turn the solution blue. Continue the
titration until the blue color disappears. Record the final buret volume reading in the Data Table. Repeat
the titration procedure for more results.

Data Analysis:
Molarity of Na2 S2 O3 : 0.1 M
Initial buret reading
Final buret reading
Volume of Na2 S2 O3 added

Trial 1
0 mL
16.8 mL
16.8 mL

Trial 2
0 mL
17.6 mL
17.6 mL

NOTE: A third trial was not performed due to time restrictions.

Trial 3

17.2 mL

Post-Lab Calculations and Analysis
1. Determine the number of moles of sodium thiosulfate that are equivalent to one mole of sodium

2 S2 O3 2 = I
3 = I2 = ClO , therefore, for every mole of sodium thiosulfate, we need one half of a
mole of sodium hypochlorite.

2. Calculate the average volume of Na2 S2 O3 to determine the molarity of the diluted bleach.
16.8 + 17.6
= 17.2
3. Use the average volume and molarity of Na2 S2 O3 to determine the molarity of the diluted bleach.
mol Na2 S2 O3 = (0.0172)(0.1) = 0.00172

= 0.000852 mol NaClO

= 0.341 M NaClO
4. Calculate the average molarity of the commercial bleach before it was diluted.
0.000852 4 = 0.0034
= 0.68 M NaClO
5. Assume the density of the commercial bleach is 1.08 g/mL. Calculate the average percent by mass of
NaClO in the commercial bleach.
0.0034 74.4424 = 0.2536 g
5mL 1.08 g/mL = 5.4g
= 4.70%
6. From the label information of the commercial bleach calculate the average deviation of the three
titration values.
|0.047 0.060| = 0.013
7. Calculate the percent error of your value.

0.047 0.06


In the experiment, a redox titration was performed in order to determine the percent of sodium hypochlorite in commercial bleach. This is done by reacting the bleach with sodium thiosulfate in the presence of
iodide ions and starch. The concentration of sodium thiosulfate is already known, and calculations can be
done in order to calculate the percent by mass of NaClO in commercial bleach. Approximately 17.2 mL of
sodium thiosulfate was used in the titration procedure, which amounts to a percent of 4.7%. Because 6% of
the commercial bleach is sodium hypochlorite, the percent error was found to be 21.67%.
There was the potential of many errors in this experiment. Mainly, these errors are focused on contamination. A total of four different solutions (with varying degrees of molarity) were used, and any mixture
between could have resulted in different solutions and concentrations. This could have resulted in a different
titration scheme, and a different percent of sodium hypochlorite would have been calculated.
Similarly, the amount of distilled water used in this experiment would have a profound impact on the final
percentage calculation. For example, the commercial bleach solution was originally 5 mL, but was diluted
in a 100 mL volumetric flask. Any addition of distilled water, whether it was by inaccurate measurement, or
because of equipment cleaning, could have skewed the molarity and therefore, the number of moles used in
calculations. If there was too much distilled water, then the molarity and moles would seem lower, yielding
a lower percentage calculation.
Overall, the results of the experiment are fairly precise and accurate. Multiple trials were performed, so
precision was enhanced. In order to improve accuracy and/or precision, better equipment could have been
used. The stopcock on the buret was not very accurate in that it did not provide a steady flow of titrant.
Had an improved buret been used, a more accurate reading of the titrant volume could have been used, and
a better concentration result could have been calculated.
Pre-Lab Questions
1. What is meant by a titration?
Titration is a quantitative chemical analysis that is used to determine the unknown concentration of
a solution. A reagent, called the titrant, of known concentration (a standard solution) and volume is
used to react with a solution of the titrand, whose concentration is not known.
2. A solution of household vinegar is to be analyzed. A pipet is used to measure out 10.0 mL of the
vinegar, which is placed in a 250-mL volumetric flask. Distilled water is added until the total volume
of solution is 250 mL. A 25.0 mL portion of the diluted solution is measured out with a pipet and
titrated with a standard solution of sodium hydroxide.
The neutralization reaction is as follows:
HC2 H3 O2 (aq) + OH (aq) C2 H3 O2 (aq) + H2 O(l)
It is found that 16.7 mL of 0.0500 M NaOH is needed to titrate 25.0 mL of the diluted vinegar.
Calculate the molarity of the diluted vinegar.






3. Calculate the molarity of the household vinegar.


= V B MB





4. The household vinegar has a density of 1.05 g/mL. Calculate the percent by mass of acetic acid in the
household vinegar.
10.0 mL 1.05

= 10.5 g HC2 H3 O2

Molar mass of HC2 H3 O2 : 60 g/mol

0.835 60 = 0.501 g HC2 H3 O2

= 4.77%
Post-Lab Questions
1. Define oxidation and reduction.
Oxidation is defined as an increase in oxidation number, and reduction as a decrease in oxidation
number. This is usually achieved through the transfer of electrons. In oxidation, the reductant yields
the product plus an electron. In reduction, the oxidant plus electron yields a product.
2. Write balanced oxidation and reduction half-reactions for the overall redox reactions in equations (1)
and (3) in the THEORY section. For each half-reaction, identify which substance is oxidized or
For equation (1), we have:

2 H+ + ClO + e


Cl + H2 O
I2 + e


where iodide is being oxidized and the hypochlorite ions are being reduced. For equation (3), we have:

I + I2 + 2 e
2 S2 O3

3 I
S4 O6


+ 2 e


where the thiosulfate ions are being oxidized while iodine is being reduced.
3. In this analysis, aliquot, (diluted fraction) of the initial solution is used for the titration. What
advantage is there in diluting the original solution for analysis?
The major advantage of using an aliquot is that it makes the titration more effective by conserving
both time and materials. When the substance is diluted, only a small portion is used, so there will be
less moles present in the solution, and therefore, it will take less time to neutralize. Also, because of
the lower number of moles present, the color change occurs much faster.
4. How many 25.0-mL aliquots can be measured from a 100-mL volumetric flask? Explain.
Four 25.0 mL aliquots can be measured from a 100 mL volumetric flask in theory. In practice, not
exactly 25.0 mL of solution can be extracted from the volumetric flask due to inaccuracy errors.
Therefore, it is more likely that one can only obtain 3 full sets of 25 mL.

5. The reaction of triiodide with thiosulfate produces the dithionate ion, S4 O6 2-. Calculate the oxidation
number of sulfur in this ion. Do you think that the sulfur atoms in S4 O6 2- all have the same oxidation
number? What might the oxidation numbers be?
No, I do not think that all of the sulfur atoms have the same oxidation numbers. Each oxygen has
an oxidation number of -2, with an overall charge of -12. However, the molecule has a charge of -2,
meaning that the total charge of the sulfurs must equate to +10. A plus 10 charge does not divide
evenly into 4 sulfur atoms (in dithionate) so therefore, the charges are not all equal. Most likely, the
charges are +2, +2, +3, +3.
6. How would each of the following laboratory mistakes affect the calculated value of the percent NaClO
in the commercial bleach (too high, too low, no change)? Explain.
(a) In step 1, the pipet was rinsed with distilled water immediately before being used to measure the
commercial bleach solution.
The calculated percentage will be less than the expected value because the distilled water in the
pipet will dilute the commercial bleach solution to an extent. Therefore, the number of moles
will also seem to decrease, and when divided by the total mass of the bleach, a smaller percent of
NaClO in the bleach is calculated.
(b) In step 2, three grams of KI were used instead of two grams.
Adding an extra gram of KI will not exhibit any change in the calculated percentage of NaClO.
This is because KI is already added in excess in the procedure, and any more will not effect the
calculation of the percentage.
(c) In step 3, some of the iodine that formed sublimed from the solution.
Sublimation of iodine occurs when solid iodine is converted into iodine gas. In this instance, less
solid iodine would cause a less (indirect) reaction with sodium thiosulfate. Therefore, a smaller
calculation in the number of moles of NaClO will be determined, and a smaller percentage will
7. What is the major source of experimental error in this experiment? Explain.