Gravimetry includes all analytical methods in which the analytical signal is a measurement of mass or a change in mass. When you step on a scale after exercising you are making, in a sense, a gravimetric determination of your mass. Mass is the most fundamental of all analytical measurements, and gravimetry is unquestionably our oldest quantitative analytical technique. The publication in 1540 of Vannoccio Biringuccio’s Pirotechnia is an early example of applying gravimetry—although not yet known by this name—to the analysis of metals and ores.1 Although gravimetry no longer is the most important analytical method, it continues to find use in specialized applications.
Thumbnails: An analytical balance (Mettler ae-260) that is often used in gravimetric analysis Methods. Image used with permission (Public Domain; US DEA).