Fritz Pregl – inventor of microelemental analysis

Fritz Pregl – inventor of microelemental analysis

Fritz Pregl

Biography & Contributions

Fritz Pregl was a Slovenian and Austrian chemist, physician and Nobel laureate born on September 03, 1869 – died on September 13, 1930. Pregl was well noted for his invention of microelemental analysis.

In the year 1905 he began research work on bile acids and other substances. Pregl provided precise analysis of carbon, halogen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur elements. He developed devices for this type of research, such as a sensitive microbalance that could weigh within an accuracy of 0.001 milligram. He also worked to cut the time required for analysis.

Pregl's techniques became highly valuable in the analysis of complex biomedical compounds, and his research greatly advanced the field of biochemistry.

Pregl produced very small pieces of equipment that allowed the use of boiling points to determine molecular weights.

He invented micromethods for determining the functional groups of organic compounds, and devised a simple method for determining the functional capacities of kidneys.

Combustion Analysis

Combustion analysis is a method used in both organic chemistry and analytical chemistry to determine the elemental composition (more precisely empirical formula) of a pure organic compound by combusting the sample under conditions where the resulting combustion products can be quantitatively analyzed.

The combustion train allows the determination of carbon and hydrogen by following steps

  • Combustion of the sample at high temperatures with Copper (II) oxide as the oxidizing agent
  • Collection of the resulting gas in a hygroscopic agent to trap generated water
  • Collection of the remainder gas in a strong base to trap generated carbon dioxide

Microbalance Instrument

Microbalance is an instrument capable of making precise measurements of weight of objects of relatively small mass: of the order of a million parts of a gram. Microbalances are generally used in a laboratory as standalone instruments but are also incorporated into other instruments, such as thermogravimetry, sorption/desorption systems, and surface property instruments. It is the precision of the microbalance that distinguishes it from other weighing devices.

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