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Most of the volumetric apparatus available in the United States is calibrated at 20, although the temperatures generally prevailing in laboratories more nearly approach 25. To minimize volumetric error, the temperature should be the same for the volumetric apparatus, the material being prepared, the solvents being used to prepare the volumetric solutions, the area in which they are prepared, and the final volume adjustment.

To attain the degree of precision required in many Pharmacopeial assays involving volumetric measurements and directing that a quantity be “accurately measured,” the apparatus must be chosen and used with care. A buret should be of such size that the titrant volume represents not less than 30% of the nominal volume. Where less than 10 mL of titrant is to be measured, a 10-mL buret or a microburet generally is required.
The design of volumetric apparatus is an important factor in assuring accuracy. For example, the length of the graduated portions of graduated cylinders should be not less than five times the inside diameter, and the tips of burets and pipets should restrict the outflow rate to not more than 500 µL per second.

Standards of Accuracy—
The capacity tolerances for volumetric flasks, transfer pipets, and burets are those accepted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Class A),* as indicated in the accompanying tables. Use Class A volumetric apparatus unless otherwise specified in the individual monograph. For plastic volumetric apparatus the accepted capacity tolerances are Class B.
The capacity tolerances for measuring (i.e., “graduated”) pipets of up to and including 10-mL capacity are somewhat larger than those for the corresponding sizes of transfer pipets, namely, 10, 20, and 30 µL for the 2-, 5-, and 10-mL sizes, respectively.
Transfer and measuring pipets calibrated “to deliver” should be drained in a vertical position and then touched against the wall of the receiving vessel to drain the tips. Volume readings on burets should be estimated to the nearest 0.01 mL for 25- and 50-mL burets, and to the nearest 0.005 mL for 5- and 10-mL burets. Pipets calibrated “to contain” are called for in special cases, generally for measuring viscous fluids like syrups; however, a volumetric flask may be substituted for a “to contain” pipet. In such cases, the pipet or flask should be washed clean, after draining, and the washings added to the measured portion.
Volumetric Flasks
Designated volume, mL 10 25 50 100 250 500 1000
Limit of error, mL 0.02 0.03 0.05 0.08 0.12 0.15 0.30
Limit of error, % 0.20 0.12 0.10 0.08 0.05 0.03 0.03
Transfer Pipets
Designated volume, mL 1 2 5 10 25 50 100
Limit of error, mL 0.006 0.006 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.05 0.08
Limit of error, % 0.60 0.30 0.20 0.20 0.12 0.10 0.08
Designated volume, mL 10 (“micro” type) 25 50
Subdivisions, mL 0.02 0.10 0.10
Limit of error, mL 0.02 0.03 0.05

*  See “Testing of Glass Volumetric Apparatus,” N.B.S. Circ. 602, April 1, 1959, and NTIS COM-73-10504, National Technical Information Service.
  See ASTM E 288, Fed. Spec. NNN-F-289, and ISO Standard 384.

Auxiliary Information—
Staff Liaison : Horacio Pappa, Ph.D.
Expert Committee : (GC05) General Chapters 05
USP29–NF24 Page 2497
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