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Lab G: Volumetric Analysis for Vitamin C

Constanza Olguin

Partner: Huaning Li

November 13, 2017

CHEM 121 L12

TA: Brandon Whitmore

Lab Performed: October 31, 2017


Ascorbic acid, most commonly known as Vitamin C, is an antioxidant that is essential for

human nutrition. Vitamin C is synthesized from glucose in the liver of most mammalian

species, but not by humans.1 This is why humans must ingest Vitamin C in their diets,

otherwise, a deficiency of this vitamin could cause a variety of medical manifestations.

Scurvy, the medical expression of Vitamin C deficiency, is a condition that if is not

appropriately treated could be lethal. According to Zhang, this vitamin was first synthesized

in 1934 by Walter Norman Haworth.2

Due to its presence in a variety of fruits and vegetables, vitamin C is available for

consumption in form of fruits and vegetables, and also as a supplement in all industrialized

countries.1 Plenty of studies have shown that the amount of ascorbic acid present in a

variety of samples it has been different every time and this is because ascorbic acid is easily

oxidized. There are several storage conditions that can affect the degradation of vitamin C

tablets like temperature and humidity.3 Because of its easy degradation when manufacturing

supplements of vitamin C it is very important to take into account how quickly it degrades

so that the amount and the expiration dates can be responsibly reported in the containers.

This lab involves the analysis of a sample of Vitamin C to determine the moles of Vitamin

C. A way to analyze the vitamin C relies on iodometry in the presence of a starch indicator.

Iodine is reduced by vitamin C as shown in the reaction given below4:

In this reaction, iodine and vitamin C react in a stoichiometric ratio of 1:1. In this

experiment a solution of a known excess of iodine is combined with vitamin C, by doing

this the solution will turn blue-black in colour and the excess amount of iodine can be now

titrated against standardize sodium thiosulfate. This type of titration is called back-titration

and is used to determine the moles of vitamin C by subtracting the leftover moles of I2 with

the initial moles of I2.


The procedure given in the First Year Chemistry Lab Manual for Experiment G4 was

followed with the modifications described below.

A solution of Vitamin C was made by first dissolving a tablet of 500 mg of Vitamin C in

100 ml of distilled water stirring it using a plate and magnetic stir bar. After being

dissolved, the dissolved vitamin C needs to be transferred to a 500ml volumetric flask

through a gravity filtration set up, washing the beaker and filter paper with small

amounts of distilled water, and then fill up to the mark with distilled water. The solution

was thoroughly mixed.

A solution of diluted KIO3 of 250ml was made from the concentrated solution of KIO3

of 0.01900 ± 2*10-5 M following the instructions of Part B of Experiment F. The new

solution having a molar concentration of 0.001900 M ± 4*10-6 M. A 50.00 ml burette

was filled with potassium thiosulfate solution of a molar concentration of 0.01102 ±

5*10-5 M.

The Vitamin C solution was analyzed by pipetting 25.00 mL of 0.001900 M KIO3

solution into a 125 mL Erlenmeyer flask. To the Erlenmeyer flask, 0.2 g of KI, 1 mL of

1M sulfuric acid was added and 10ml of Vitamin C solution. The titration was carried

out until a pale yellow colour was obtained. After that 5 drops of starch solution were

added and the titration was continued until the blue colour just disappeared. This was

mixed and the titration was carried out, and then

repeated twice more. The titrations agreed within 0.2 mL as required.


First the solution had a raspberry color, when the first part of the titration was added it

turned pale yellow. Upon the addition of the starch solution it turned into a blue color,

and the titration was continued. As the endpoint is approached, it was important to titrate

slowly with swirling. At the endpoint of the titration, the color of the solution


Data and Calculations:

See the attached Lab K Report Sheets for Data and Calculations.


Through the technique of back-titration, the moles of Vitamin C of the sample was

determined. A solution of Vitamin C was made and with the added starch indicator was

titrated with sodium thiosulfate to determine the moles of vitamin C by knowing the

difference of moles of I2.

In this titration, the starch indicator changes color depending on whether or not it is

bound to Iodine ions present in the solution. The starch is in the when is added to the

solution turns it from a pale yellow color to a blue color, when the titration is at its end

point the starch will change and the color will disappear, indicating the completion of the


The sample of Vitamin C required 15.41 ± 0.04 ml of Sodium thiosulfate to reach the

end point. This means that the numbers of moles of I2 used by the Vitamin C solution

where 0.00005791 ± 1.019*10-6, therefore, the number of moles of vitamin C reacting

with I2 in 10 ml is the same. The mass in mg of the original tablet of vitamin C was then

calculated to be 509.9 ± 1.019*10-9 mg.

There is an uncertainty associated with each of the measurements taken in the lab, which

is propagated into an uncertainty in the final calculated values of the mass of vitamin C

in the original tablet (± 1.019*10-9 mg). This uncertainty is associated with the dilution

of the KIO3 solution, the uncertainty associated with the sodium thiosulfate solution, and

the titration of the sample using different types of glassware, including the burette,

which has an error of 0.02 mL per reading. Through the multiple readings taken

throughout the process of the titration, the errors begin to accumulate resulting in the

final uncertainty associated with the final values.

The final mass of vitamin C in the tablet determined by the calculations was higher than

the one stated in the package, and it is reasonable taking into account that vitamin C

degrades easily. It would be reasonable that manufacturers would add more vitamin C

that the one stated in the package to lengthen the effectivity of the product and because

the package is supposed to expire in 2019 this would make the product have 500mg or

more from now to the expiration date.


The well water was determined to have a mass of 509.9 ± 1.019*10-9 mg, which is it

reasonable due to vitamin C’s fast degradation and its expire date on 2019. The

uncertainty in the measurement of ± 1.019*10-9 is very low, indicating that the technique

is precise.


[1] Padayatty, S. J. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2003, vol. 22, p 18-35.

[2] Zhang, Y. Ascorbic Acid in Plants: Biosynthesis, Regulation and Enhancement,

Springer: New York, 2013; p 2

[3] Adam, C. Do Vitamin C Supplements Go Bad or Lose Potency? [online], 2017.

(accessed Nov 11, 2017).

[4] First Year Chemistry Lab Manual: Chem 111/113 & Chem 121/123, University of

British Columbia: Kelowna, BC, 2017-18; p 47-48