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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 18 (2013) pp 071-073
DOI 10.1007/s00897132475a

A Guided Inquiry Determination of Acetic Acid in White Distilled Commercial Vinegar (Currently unavailable)

Joseph K. Rugutt*, Jennifer L. Langston, Michelle K. Johnson, Coy R. Guffey,Alexandria L. Cook, and Lindsey R. Ewen

Department of Chemistry, Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP), 128 Garfield, West Plains, MO 65775,
Received April 27, 2012. Accepted February 23, 2013.

Published: 22 March 2013

Abstract. Vinegar, with its main component, acetic acid (CH3COOH), is vital in many biological processes. The goal of this guided inquiry experiment was to determine how much acetic acid is in commercially available white distilled vinegar. Mini- and micro-titration experiments were performed to answer this question. Potassium hydroxide (KOH) was standardized using two primary standards, oxalic acid (C2H2O4) and L-Ascorbic acid (C6H8O6). In both titrations, phenolphsthalein was used as an indicator. Our titration data showed the amount of CH3COOH in vinegar was significantly lower (2–3%) than the expected amount (4–6%), suggesting there were other possible factors including experimental errors or decomposition. This experiment reinforced MSU-WP’s mission by preparing students for leadership and service in a multicultural, global, and technological society.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; micro- and mini-titration; vinegar; guided inquiry; acetic acid; L-Ascorbic acid; standardization

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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