“Do-It-Yourself” reliable pH-stat device by using open-source software, inexpensive hardware and available laboratory equipment
In this paper, we present the construction of a reliable and inexpensive pH stat device, by using open-source “OpenPhControl” software, inexpensive hardware (a peristaltic and a syringe pump, Arduino, a step motor…), readily available laboratory devices: a pH meter, a computer, a webcam, and some 3D printed parts. We provide a methodology for the design, development and test results of each part of the device, as well as of the entire system. In addition to dosing reagents by means of a low-cost peristaltic pump, we also present carefully controlled dosing of reagents by an open-source syringe pump. The upgrading of the basic open-source syringe pump is given in terms of pump control and application of a larger syringe. In addition to the basic functions of pH stat, i.e. pH value measurement and maintenance, an improvement allowing the device to be used for potentiometric titration has been made as well. We have demonstrated the device’s utility when applied for cellulose fibers oxidation with 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl radical, i.e. for TEMPO-mediated oxidation. In support of this, we present the results obtained for the oxidation kinetics, the consumption of added reagent and experimental repeatability. Considering that the open-source scientific tools are available to everyone, and that researchers can construct and adjust the device according to their needs, as well as, that the total cost of the open-source pH stat device, excluding the existing laboratory equipment (pH meter, computer and glossary) was less than 150 EUR, we believe that, at a small fraction of the cost of available commercial offers, our open-source pH stat can significantly improve experimental work where the use of pH stat is necessary.