For example, start with a solution of NaOH. Adding a measured amount (mass) of magnesium sulfate, MgSO4, to the solution will immediately precipitate Mg(OH)2, which has a very low solubility relative to the starting materials. The mass of precipitate Mg(OH)2, an insoluble hydroxide, can then be used to determine the starting concentration of OH–.
Steps in performing titration analysis:
1. Obtain a measured amount of the analyte, which is the solution being analyzed (titrated) to determine its concentration, or dissolve a known amount of solute, add a few drops of indicator, and add water to a measured amount. Either of these techniques will result in a solution of known volume but unknown concentration of the analyte, the species being analyzed (often H+ or OH–).
2. Create a solution of known concentration, called the titrant, that is used to neutralize a solution of unknown concentration (the analyte) in order to determine its concentration.
3. Pour some of the titrant into a buret, a type of graduated tube with a stopcock at the end that allows fine control of the release of the titrant. Note the amount of solution in the buret.
4. Slowly add titrant to the analyte solution until the color change occurs.
5. Note the volume of titrant used, and use this datum to calculate the molarity of the analyte solution.