Chemistry and …Titration consistency
Titrating that wash tank sample is something we can practically do with our eyes closed. Right? Well, okay that might be a tough one to do since we actually need to see the color change! But the idea is that because it’s something we do multiply times daily, we tend to be a little haphazard on our technique.
Take that color change. Is the end-point of the titration when it just starts to shift, or is it only after the color change is permanent? Opinions vary, but its’ closer to the point of the color change shift. If it changes and drifts back, the value might be a tad higher than say the five drops you added, but it’s not six. If you need to be more certain, double the sample size.
Then there’s the angle of the bottle and the speed of reagent addition. The faster we add the reagent, the smaller the drops will be, and hence, the resulting outcome will overstate the true concentration.
And what about that bottle held at a 45-degree angle? Well that can result in bigger drops because of the larger surface area on which the drops gather before falling into the via. Those larger than normal drops result in fewer of them being required to reach the end-point and hence understates the actual concentration.
At the end of the day, speed or angle isn’t as important however, as consistency in your technique. If you always hold the bottle at an angle and always add drops faster (or slower), the result will be comparable to what you had before. And assuming the actual concentration is dialed in to deliver the desired result and cost, it won’t matter.
That last one…Kinda hard to do
When it comes to managing anything (or anybody), we get it. It’s a discipline thing and we must be serious enough to: Set a goal. Develop a plan. Implement it. And then evaluate those three!
Trouble is even if we’re disciplined enough to do those first three, chances are we’ll blow off that evaluation step! It’s understandable. If we succeeded, we figure it’s probably not necessary and if we failed, well, we might just want to move on and avoid the pain.
But doing either of those two cheats us out a big opportunity. If it was a success, why not look at why and maybe even how we might have improved on the plan – or its’ execution. Alternately, if it fell flat, we’re really losing out if we skip the evaluation step.
By taking a hard look at that goal, we might realize it was the problem, or perhaps the goal was great but the plan we developed stunk it up. Or maybe we just blew the implementation of what was a well-defined goal and an equally solid plan. Finally, maybe it was doomed going in because none of it was any good!
But by taking the difficult step of evaluating it we allow ourselves to avoid making that same blunder in the future. And that alone is probably worth the price of admission.