Exercise 1 The Analytical Balance

Weighing is one of the most important and basic procedure in chemical works. Measuring the masses of the samples in the laboratory is crucial to knowing and finding out the different properties of the samples and chemicals to be analyzed. Measurements for masses are made using appropriate equipment and instruments. An object’s mass is measured using a balance. But to quantify masses with more accuracy and precision, an analytical balance must be used. The analytical balance is used to measure mass with a maximum capacity that ranges from 1 g to a few kilograms with a precision of at least a part in 105 at maximum capacity. Many modern analytical balances, however, have precision and accuracy that exceed a part in 106 at full capacity (Skoog, West, Holler & Crouch 2004). Many types of mechanical analytical balances are available for use, but two common types are used for measurements in the laboratories. The first one is the equal-arm balance, or sometimes called as the double-pan balanced which is used mainly for weighing by the direct comparison method. This balance is composed of a symmetrical level balance beam, a pivotal axis or fulcrum at the center, and two pans suspended from its ends. The pivotal axis is where the knife-edge lies in the agate or sapphire pivot plates and is positioned in the middle of the point of application of the force, FL and FR exerted by the weights on the balance pans. Preferably, the two pans are positioned in a straight line with the fulcrum, and the two lever arms are of same and equal length. A rigid construction of the beam minimizes the amount of bending when the pans are loaded. The balance will then come to rest in its original position, which then denotes that forces FL and FR balances each other. Then, FL (LL) = FR (LR) Equation (1)

where LL and LR refer to the lengths of the lever arms from the terminal edges to the fulcrum. Since the forces on the pans are proportional to the masses of the objects on each of the pan, equation (1) can be written as WL (LL) = WR (LR) Equation (2)

Since the two lengths of the arms are equal, WL = WR (Patnaik 2004; CHEM 32 Lecturers and Lab Instructors 2008). The other type of mechanical analytical balance is the single pan analytical balance. In this type of balance a set of removable standard weights on one side of a beam and the balance pan are balanced against a fixed counterweight on the beam’s other side. The beam itself is balanced on a fulcrum consisting of a sharp knife edge. Addition of a sample to the balance pan inclines the beam away from its balance point. Selected standard weights are then removed until the beam is brought back into balance. The combined mass of the removed weights equals the sample’s mass. Using this type of analytical balance, the mass of a sample is determined by difference. If the material being weighed is not hygroscopic, a clean and dry container is placed on the balance. The mass of this empty vessel is called the tare. Most balances allow the tare to be automatically adjusted to read a mass of zero. The sample is then transferred to the container and the new mass is measured. The sample’s mass is determined by subtracting the tare. However, samples that absorb moisture from the air are weighed differently. The hygroscopic sample is placed in a covered weighing bottle and their combined mass is determined. A portion of the sample is removed, and the weighing bottle and remaining sample are reweighed. The difference between the two masses gives the mass of the transferred sample (Harris 2007; Harvey 2000).

(2004). . (2004). S. 7th edition. Holler. 2nd edition. USA: WH Freeman & Company. Patnaik. D. (2007). Skoog. Belmont: Brooks/Cole-Thomson Learning. West. 8th edition. Exercise 1: The analytical balance. Harris. USA: The McGraw-Hill Companies. D. D.A. (2008). P. Harvey..References: CHEM 32 Lecturers and Lab Instructors. D. F. Inc.. USA: The McGraw-Hill Companies. Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry.J. Inc. & Crouch. Dean’s Analytical Chemistry Handbook. (2000). Inc. Modern Analytical Chemistry.M.R.A. Quantitative Inorganic Analysis Laboratory Instruction Manual. Laguna: UPLB. Quantitative Inorganic Analysis.

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