IT is to be feared that the study of Quantitative Analysis is too often restricted to the performance of a series of experiments, the precise significance of which is of little concern to the student. Yet the subject is one which, under suitable treatment, possesses an educational value of the highest order. This will be admitted when it is recognised that a competent analyst must possess and exercise (1) skill in manipulation such as will lead to precision and to confidence in the results he arrives at; (2) experience in selecting suitable methods, and resourcefulness in carrying out the requisite experiments; (3) judgment in minimising the sources of error, and in interpreting the results of the experiments which he performs.
I hope that, with the co-operation of the teacher and student, the present manual may be found equal to the task of cultivating these faculties.
The contents of the book have been so arranged as to avoid repetition and thus reduce the text within the narrowest limits. Yet it will be unnecessary for any one student to work through the whole of the examples. The following brief classification of the subject matter will enable the teacher to follow the plan of the book and assist him in prescribing the parts which may be omitted in individual cases.
Chapters I. to IV. are devoted to introductory remarks and to such instructions as are of general application. These directions are given here in order to avoid repetition and the overloading of the descriptive sections. Chapters W. and VI. describe the methods of preparation and analysis of certain well-defined compounds, so chosen as to provide a preliminary training in manipulation, since at the outset, it is of primary importance to acquire precision and a feeling of confidence in the results obtained. How far this has been achieved may be judged by the student himself, on comparing his results with the values obtained by well-recognised authorities. Chapters VII. to XIII. give the methods of Volumetric Analysis and Gas Analysis. A student who proceeds no further than this, may yet have gained a good general knowledge of the subject and be quite capable of performing useful work in quantitative analysis, provided he has access to such methods as are given later in the book. Chapters XIV. to XIX. give an account of the methods applicable to the analysis of minerals, classified according to their chemical nature. In these chapters an endeavour has been made so to arrange the matter that it will be possible to adapt for general purposes the methods given for specific cases. Chapter XX. introduces the student to some processes specially employed in the investigation of minerals containing the rarer elements. This chapter is intended for advanced students or those whose interest may lie in this particular direction. Chapters XXI. to XXIII. will be a convenient guide to those who desire to examine products manufactured or employed on a large scale, by methods suitable to the purpose in view.
In the Appendix will be found supplementary data and details concerning the reagents employed in quantitative analysis.