The Biodiesel Lab is an activity developed by Learning Undefeated to help students explore the process of titration and its role in creating biodiesel fuel.
Biodiesel fuel is created from vegetable oil through a chemical process called transesterification. Unfortunately, the transesterification reaction is very sensitive to the presence of free fatty acids that are prevalent in vegetable oils. In order for the transesterification process to be efficient, the acids must be neutralized. The levels of free fatty acids, and therefore the appropriate levels of base needed, can be determined through a process called acid/base titration. A titration is a way of determining the concentration of a substance by adding a known concentration of a reagent until a certain effect is seen.
In this activity, your students will perform an acid/base titration to determine the molarity of free fatty acids in a waste vegetable oil solution.
Students will be able to
- Understand the process of titration; perform two (2) titrations
- Calculate the molarity of a solution based upon its equivalence point
- Analyze the results of the completed titrations
- Understand how these results are used to produce biodiesel fuels
- Apply their results to neutralize a large quantity of vegetable oil
Next Generation Science Standards Connections
HS-PS1-6 Refine the design of a chemical system by specifying a change in conditions that would produce increased amounts of products at equilibrium.
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science Connections
CHEM.8A: define and use the concept of a mole;
CHEM.8F: differentiate among double replacement reactions, including acid-base reactions and precipitation reactions, and oxidation-reduction reactions such as synthesis, decomposition, single replacement, and combustion reactions;
CHEM.10C: calculate the concentration of solutions in units of molarity;
E.6B: describe and compare renewable and non-renewable energy derived from natural and alternative sources such as oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and wind
IPC.5H: analyze energy transformations of renewable and nonrenewable resources
Virginia Science Standards of Learning Connections
CH.3A: chemical formulas are models used to represent the number of each type of atom in a substance
CH.3C: balanced chemical equations model rearrangement of atoms in chemical reactions
CH.5A: molar relationships determine solution concentration