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Question 1046

Our problem concerns temperature. At different temperatures, solubility of compounds varies. If we extract water from a pond at two degrees Celsius and then test it at room temperature, our reading isn't going to be accurate. On the other hand, it isn't practical for us to perform out tests outside. The substances we are testing are nitrites, nitrates, ammonia, pH, hardness, oxygen level, phosphates, temperature, and ORP. — J&E, Missouri
If you collect pond water at 2° C and then bring it into a room at 20° C, there will be a few subtle changes in the water's contents. While the amounts of various dissolved materials can't change unless atoms move in or out of the water, how they interact with one does change somewhat with temperature. I would be very surprised if anything that's dissolved in that pond water comes out of solution when you warm it to room temperature, so if all you want to do is to determine the concentrations of various dissolved materials, go ahead and do it at room temperature. You might have to be careful with dissolved gases, because it's relatively easy for gas molecules to enter or leave the pond water without your noticing that it's happening, but the nitrites, nitrates, hardness, and phosphates aren't going anywhere. Ammonia can leave as a gas, so you should be a little careful with it. I don't know enough about ORP (oxidization reduction potential) to say anything about it. But you'll have to be very careful with oxygen concentration because you can modify this just by pouring the water through air and making bubbles.

However, to be sure that the contents of the pond water are interacting with one another just as they were in the pond, you should cool the water back down to 2° C before making any measurements. This is particularly important for pH measurements, since water's pH decreases slightly with increasing temperature.

         

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