As shown in Formula (1) below, the Karl Fischer method uses Karl Fischer reagent, which reacts quantitatively and selectively with water, to measure moisture content. Karl Fischer reagent consists of iodine, sulfur dioxide, a base and a solvent, such as alcohol.
I2+SO2+3Base+ROH+H2O ⇒ 2Base+HI+Base+HSO4R ······ (1)
As described below, this method can be used in both volumetric and coulometric titration systems.
2I” – 2e ⇒ I2 ······(2)
According to Faraday’s laws, the iodine is produced in proportion to the quantity of electricity. This means that the water content can be determined immediately from the coulombs required for electrolytic oxidation.
1mg of water = 10.71 Coulombs
As shown in Figure 1, two types of coulometric reagents are required: an anolyte, which is placed in the anode chamber of the electrolysis cell, and a catholyte, which is placed in the cathode chamber. Coulometric reagents do not need assessment. Another advantage is that they can be used repeatedly.