Reduction of chromium(VI) to chromium(III) by thiourea between pH 3.0 and 5.5 is a key aspect of the chromium(VI)/thiourea/polyacrylamide gel polymer system used in enhanced oil recovery processes. A method has been developed to determine chromium(VI) concentration during the reduction of chromium(VI) to chromium(III) in this pH range. The reduction reaction is run in the presence of an acetic acid/sodium acetate buffer which reacts with the chromium(III) produced and prevents the formation of a brown precipitate which forms in the absence of the buffer. With interference from the precipitate eliminated, chromium(VI) concentration is determined from the visible absorbance of the reaction mixture and the unique molar absorptivity spectra of the five chromium species present in the reaction mixture. An average error of approximately 1% between known and measured chromium(VI) concentrations was demonstrated over a chromium(VI) concentration range from 0.0005 to 0.0025 M.
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