What is the difference between classical and instrumental methods of analytical chemistry?

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Analytical chemistry is the branch of chemistry that focuses on the identification and quantification of chemical compounds. It is divided into two major areas: the classical methods and the instrumental methods. 

Classical methods are the techniques which are the fundamentals of laboratory practices. These are the traditional method of chemical...

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Analytical chemistry is the branch of chemistry that focuses on the identification and quantification of chemical compounds. It is divided into two major areas: the classical methods and the instrumental methods. 

Classical methods are the techniques which are the fundamentals of laboratory practices. These are the traditional method of chemical analysis which is still being used by scientists even up to this date. Classical method subdivided into two methods: the qualitative and the quantitative method of analysis. Qualitative method is the determination of the identity of the unknown based on the criteria provided and the presence or absence of a material in a sample. Quantitative method focuses on the determination of the measurable properties of the unknown. 

Instrumental methods are sometimes coined as the modern method of analysis. The reason is that these analytical techniques use modern equipments such as computers and the like. Examples of instrumental method are the spectroscopy, chromatography and microscopy.

Before we continue, we should not be confused with the term "instrumental". It does not mean that classical methods do not use instruments. Classical methods also use instruments but these equipments are not as modern or highly specialized than the instrumental methods.

Classical method is cheaper and easily available for schools and industry utilization. It is sometimes called as "wet chemistry" where there are too many chemical reactions are used to identify certain compounds. The classical method consumes more time than the instrumental analysis.

Instrumental method is expensive because the machines are highly specialized for a particular chemical analysis. Quantitative results are more precise than the classical methods. Not all schools can afford those machines (Gas chromatography set up is around 100,000 US Dollars). Also, experts (and some should be licensed) are needed to operate the machines to avoid system malfunctioning. 

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