MeasureNet's Multi-Functional Optical Drop Counter Celebrates 10 Years!
Development of MeasureNet’s optical drop counter began in 2000. Our goal was not only to automate, simplify and shorten the time for pH titration experiments, but also to improve the accuracy of students’ measurements. During its development, various innovative features were added to the design, as seen in Figure 1. MeasureNet’s Multi-Functional Drop Counter holds both a pH probe and a temperature probe, reducing the hardware needed to set up pH titration experiments, and the geometry was optimized to allow the use of small beakers and samples.
Before the days of optical drop counters, simple wire electrical conductivity devices were the only automated and economical solutions for pH titrations in the teaching laboratory. A drop from the buret would make contact with two bare wires positioned closely together, creating a conductive current path. An electronic circuit would then convert this current into a pulse that was counted. A student could then calculate volume based on the number of drops and the average drop size, determined in a separate experiment. The MeasureNet system automatically determines the average drop size in each titration.
The most common method of performing pH titrations is the manual method. The drawbacks to this method:
Time consuming, giving students time to perform few titrations in a lab period.
Larger reagent volumes required, making titrations more expensive in terms of reagent usage and disposal.
Requires repetition for students to master endpoint detection with reasonable precision.
The 22nd BCCE at Penn State University marks the 10th anniversary of MeasureNet Technology’s introduction of the Optical Drop Counter to the chemical education community. During this decade, the MeasureNet drop counter has become a star in chemistry labs around the country and the world, performing a variety of functions even its designers had never imagined. MeasureNet’s drop counter allows students to leap past the typical pH titration experiment and engage in other interesting and educational titration methods like thermometric, potentiometric, amperometric and colorimetric titrations.
MeasureNet Technology's introduction of the industry’s first Multi-Functional Optical Drop Counter technology in 2002 at the 17th BCCE at Western Washington University obviously caught the attention of the conference attendees and venders. The MeasureNet drop counter has emerged as the industry standard, copied by all its competitors, such as Vernier Software & Technology, Pasco Scientific and MicroLab Inc. MeasureNet is both flattered by this attention and inspired to do more to bring innovative technology into the teaching laboratory.