pH Indicating Dyes for Biodiesel
By Rick Da Tech
An Indicator Dye is a substance that changes color with pH. We use them in titration tests to find the equivalence point where we stop the titration.
Examples of Indicators:
Phenolphthalein - Changes color from clear to pink at a pH of 8.3 to 10.0 It is used in the WVO titration used to determine your biodiesel recipe. Most consider this indicator dye to be the easiest to use. It is available online from several sources or from laboratory supply stores in larger cities. When using phenolphthalein, you look for any color change that stays visible for at least 15 seconds.
Phenol Red - Changes color from yellow to red at a pH of 6.8 to 8.4. It is used in the WVO titration used to determine your biodiesel recipe. It is the easiest to obtain and available at any pool supply store or any hardware store with pool supplies. Even though it changes colors earlier than phenolphthalein, it still works just fine on oils low in FFA.
Turmeric - Changes color from yellow to red at a pH of 7.4 to 8.6. It is used in the WVO titration used to determine your biodiesel recipe. It is a common spice used in Asian foods and found in most food markets. It can be used dry by adding a small pinch to the titration. A tincture of turmeric can be made by soaking turmeric in isopropyl alcohol. Curcumin is the name of the color pigment in turmeric.
Red Cabbage - Changes color from red to blue to green over a pH range of 2 to 12. It can be used for titrations. It can be made by boiling red cabbage leaves in water. It can also be a tincture of red cabbage in isopropyl alcohol for increased life. red cabbage spoils quickly if not stored in the refrigerator. Since it has a wide range of colors, you will need to make color chart showing the colors at various ph values using chemicals with known ph values.
Bromophenol Blue - Changes color from yellow to blue over a pH range of 3.0 to 4.6. It is primarily used for the soap titration test. Bromophenol blue is available from Internet sources and from laboratory supply stores in large cities. One thing to note is that it takes several milliliters to perform a test, unlike most of the other indicators that take several drops.