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  Section: Plant Protocol » Environmental Science Methodology
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Determination of COD in Water

To determine the Chemical Oxygen Demand (C.O.D.) for given sample.

Potassium dichromate is a powerful oxidising agent in acidic medium and is obtained in high state of purity.
The reaction involved is:

where, c = 2/3n + a/6 - b/3

C.O.D. results are reported in terms of mg of oxygen. N/8 or 0.125 N solution of oxidising agent is used in the determination. Normality double the strength is used. This allows the use of larger samples. Thus, each ml of 0.25 N solution dichromate is equivalent to 2 mg of oxygen. An excess of oxidising agent is added, the excess is determined by another reducing agent such as ferrous ammonium sulphate. An indicator ferroin is used in titrating the excess dichromate against ferrous ammonium sulphate. Blanks are used also treated and titrated to get the correct value of C.O.D.

  1. Reflux apparatus
  2. Burettes
  3. Pipettes
Reagents (» click to check the preparation of reagents)
  1. Standard potassium dichromate solution 0.25N.
  2. Sulphuric acid reagent.
  3. Standard ferrous ammonium sulphate.
  4. Ferroin indicator solution.
  5. Mercuric sulphate.
  6. Sulphuric acid crystals.
  1. Place 50.0 mL of sample in a 500 mL refluxing flask.
  2. Add 1g mercuric sulphate and a few glass beads.
  3. Add sulphuric acid to dissolve the mercuric sulphate and cool.
  4. Add 25.0 ml 0.25 N potassium dichromate solution and mix well.
  5. Attach the flask to the condenser and start the cooling water.
  6. Add the remaining acid reagent (70 mL) through the open end of condenser and mix well.
  7. Apply heat and reflux for 5 hours.
  8. Cool and wash down the condenser with distilled water.
  9. Dilute the mixture to about twice its volume and cool to room temperature.
  10. Titrate the excess dichromate with standard ferrous ammonium sulphate using ferroin indicator (2 to 3 drops).
  11. The colour change from blue green to reddish indicates the end point.
  12. Reflux in the same manner a blank consisting of distilled water of equal volume as that of the sample.


mg/L C.O.D. = (V1 - V2) N x 8000

V1 = mL ferrous ammonium sulphate used for blank
V2 = mL ferrous ammonium sulphate used for sample
N = normality of ferrous ammonium sulphate
V = volume of sample used.



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