The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the scientific method as: "a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses."
The chief characteristic which distinguishes the scientific method from other methods of acquiring knowledge is that scientists seek to let reality speak for itself,]discuss[ supporting a theory when a theory's predictions are confirmed and challenging a theory when its predictions prove false. Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, identifiable features distinguish scientific inquiry from other methods of obtaining knowledge. Scientific researchers propose hypotheses as explanations of phenomena, and design experimental studies to test these hypotheses via predictions which can be derived from them. These steps must be repeatable, to guard against mistake or confusion in any particular experimenter. Theories that encompass wider domains of inquiry may bind many independently derived hypotheses together in a coherent, supportive structure. Theories, in turn, may help form new hypotheses or place groups of hypotheses into context.
A measuring instrument is a device for measuring a physical quantity. In the physical sciences, quality assurance, and engineering, measurement is the activity of obtaining and comparing physical quantities of real-world objects and events. Established standard objects and events are used as units, and the process of measurement gives a number relating the item under study and the referenced unit of measurement. Measuring instruments, and formal test methods which define the instrument's use, are the means by which these relations of numbers are obtained. All measuring instruments are subject to varying degrees of instrument error and measurement uncertainty.
Scientists, engineers and other humans use a vast range of instruments to perform their measurements. These instruments may range from simple objects such as rulers and stopwatches to electron microscopes and particle accelerators. Virtual instrumentation is widely used in the development of modern measuring instruments.
Mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical technique that produces spectra (singular spectrum) of the masses of the atoms or molecules comprising a sample of material. The spectra are used to determine the elemental or isotopic signature of a sample, the masses of particles and of molecules, and to elucidate the chemical structures of molecules, such as peptides and other chemical compounds. Mass spectrometry works by ionizing chemical compounds to generate charged molecules or molecule fragments and measuring their mass-to-charge ratios.
In a typical MS procedure, a sample, which may be solid, liquid, or gas, is ionized. The ions are separated according to their mass-to-charge ratio. The ions are detected by a mechanism capable of detecting charged particles. Signal processing results are displayed as spectra of the relative abundance of ions as a function of the mass-to-charge ratio. The atoms or molecules can be identified by correlating known masses to the identified masses or through a characteristic fragmentation pattern.
Amount of substance is a standards-defined quantity that measures the size of an ensemble of elementary entities, such as atoms, molecules, electrons, and other particles. It is a macroscopic property and it is sometimes referred to as chemical amount. The International System of Units (SI) defines the amount of substance to be proportional to the number of elementary entities present. The SI unit for amount of substance is the mole. It has the unit symbol mol. The mole is defined as the amount of substance that contains an equal number of elementary entities as there are atoms in 12g of the isotope carbon-12. This number is called Avogadro's number and has the value 6.02214179(30)×1023. It is the numerical value of the Avogadro constant which has the unit 1/mol, and relates the molar mass of an amount of substance to its mass.
Amount of substance appears in thermodynamic relations such as the ideal gas law, and in stoichiometric relations between reacting molecules as in the law of multiple proportions.
An osmometer is a device for measuring the osmotic strength of a solution, colloid, or compound.
There are several different techniques employed in osmometry:
Polymer chemistry or macromolecular chemistry is a multidisciplinary science that deals with the chemical synthesis and chemical properties of polymers or macromolecules. According to IUPAC recommendations, macromolecules refer to the individual molecular chains and are the domain of chemistry. Polymers describe the bulk properties of polymer materials and belong to the field of polymer physics as a subfield of physics.
Polymer chemistry is that branch of one, which deals with the study of synthesis and properties of macromolecules.
Vapor pressure osmometry is a technique to measure the number average molecular weight of a polymer. It is based upon Raoult's law that governs change in vapor pressure of a solution based on the mole fraction of the solute.
The vapor pressure osmometer is composed of two chambers: one for pure solvent and the other to contain solution, where the solute is the polymer whose molecular weight is unknown. Thermistors in each chamber provide an electrical signal (the actual measurement) of differential heating to achieve a vapor equilibrium in each chamber.
Vapor pressure or equilibrium vapor pressure is the pressure exerted by a vapor in thermodynamic equilibrium with its condensed phases (solid or liquid) at a given temperature in a closed system. The equilibrium vapor pressure is an indication of a liquid's evaporation rate. It relates to the tendency of particles to escape from the liquid (or a solid). A substance with a high vapor pressure at normal temperatures is often referred to as volatile.
The vapor pressure of any substance increases non-linearly with temperature according to the Clausius–Clapeyron relation. The atmospheric pressure boiling point of a liquid (also known as the normal boiling point) is the temperature at which the vapor pressure equals the ambient atmospheric pressure. With any incremental increase in that temperature, the vapor pressure becomes sufficient to overcome atmospheric pressure and lift the liquid to form vapor bubbles inside the bulk of the substance. Bubble formation deeper in the liquid requires a higher pressure, and therefore higher temperature, because the fluid pressure increases above the atmospheric pressure as the depth increases.
The Dumas method of molecular weight determination was historically a procedure used to determine the molecular weight of an unknown substance. The Dumas method is appropriate to determine the molecular weights of volatile organic substances that are liquids at room temperature.
The method was designed by a French chemist named Jean Baptiste André Dumas, after whom the procedure is now named. Even though, during the nineteenth century the science of chemistry was at a relatively early state, Dumas was able to show that the vapor densities of some organic compounds are directly proportional to their molecular weights.