Dumas' method

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1 A method of finding the amount of nitrogen in an organic compound. The sample is weighed, mixed with copper(II) oxide, and heated in a tube. Any nitrogen present in the compound is converted into oxides of nitrogen, which are led over hot copper to reduce them to nitrogen gas. This is collected and the volume measured, from which the mass of nitrogen in a known mass of sample can be found.

2 A method of finding the relative molecular masses of volatile liquids by weighing. A thin-glass bulb with a long narrow neck is used. This is weighed full of air at known temperature, then a small amount of sample is introduced and the bulb heated (in a bath) so that the liquid is vaporized and the air is driven out. The tip of the neck is sealed and the bulb cooled and weighed at known (room) temperature. The volume of the bulb is found by filling it with water and weighing again. If the density of air is known, the mass of vapour in a known volume can be calculated.

The techniques are named after Jean Baptiste André Dumas.

Subjects: Chemistry.

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