What is Analytical Chemistry?
Analytical chemistry is the branch of chemistry that deals with the analysis of different substances. It involves the separation, identification, and the quantification of matter. It involves the use of classical methods along with modern methods involving the use of scientific instruments.
Analytical chemistry involves the following methods:
- The process of separation isolates the required chemical species which is to be analyzed from a mixture.
- The identification of the analyte substance is achieved via the method of qualitative analysis.
- The concentration of the analyte in a given mixture can be determined with the method of quantitative analysis.
Today, the field of analytical chemistry generally involves the use of modern, sophisticated instruments. However, the principles upon which these instruments are built can be traced to more traditional techniques.
Methods Used in Analytical Chemistry
The methods used to determine the identity and the quantity of the analytes in the field of analytical chemistry can be broadly divided into classical and instrumental methods.
- There exist many classical methods of checking for the presence or absence of a particular compound in a given analyte. One such example is the acid test for gold.
- Another example of a classical method for qualitative analysis is the Kastle-Meyer test which employs phenolphthalein as an indicator to check for the presence of hemoglobin in the given analyte.
- Flame tests can be used to check for the presence of specific elements in an analyte by exposing it to a flame and observing the change in the color of the flame.
- Gravimetric analysis is a classical method of quantitative analysis, which can be used in analytical chemistry to determine the amount of water in a hydrate by heating it and calculating the weight of the water lost.
- One of the better known classical methods of quantitative analysis is volumetric analysis (also known as titration). In the titration method, a reactant is added to the analyte till an equivalence point is obtained.
- Spectroscopy involves the measurement of the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and the atoms or molecules belonging to a sample.
- With the help of electric fields and magnetic fields, the method of mass spectroscopy is used to measure the ratio of the mass of the molecule to its charge.
- A common instrumental method used in the field of analytical chemistry is electrochemical analysis. In this method, the analyte is placed in an electrochemical cell and the voltage or the current flowing through it is measured.
- The interaction between the analyte and energy in the form of heat is studied in the discipline of analytical chemistry known as calorimetry. A calorimeter is an instrument that is used to measure the heat of a chemical reaction.
It can be noted that even biological measurements are made with the help of this branch of chemistry, and this field is known as bioanalytical chemistry.
Applications of Analytical Chemistry
Some important applications of this branch of chemistry are listed below.
- The shelf lives of many medicines are determined with the help of analytical chemistry.
- It is used to check for the presence of adulterants in drugs.
- Soil can be tested to check for appropriate concentrations of minerals and nutrients that are necessary for plant growth.
- The concentration of the pesticide residues and the contaminants in a given food sample can also be determined via analytical chemistry.
- It also has many important applications in medicine, with its use in the testing of cholesterol and glucose levels in a blood sample.
- Analytical chemistry is an integral part of forensic science, clinical analysis, and even environmental analysis.
Thus, a brief introduction to the field of analytical chemistry is provided in this article. To learn more about this branch of chemistry along with other branches, such as inorganic chemistry, register with BYJU’S and download the mobile application on your smartphone.