All About Branches of Chemistry
There are many people who say that mainly there are five branches of chemistry viz. Physical, Biochemistry, Analytical, Organic, and Inorganic.
On the other hand, many would argue that the chemistry relates to other branches or sub-branches like Material chemistry, Macromolecular chemistry, Theoretical chemistry, Nuclear chemistry, Metallurgy, Medicinal chemistry, Forensic chemistry, and a lot more.
It is crucial to understand that many sub-branches of chemistry tend to fall under one or more primary branches of chemistry.
Let’s start with understanding the five primary branches of chemistry.
1. Analytical Chemistry
How the chemical components of various samples are analyzed is studied under analytical chemistry.
For example, what is the PH level of a swimming pool?
Are there any drugs in the urine samples of athletes?
What amount of caffeine is present in a cup of coffee?
Environmental science, forensic science, and drug testing are some of the areas where analytical chemistry is used.
There are two main branches of analytical chemistry namely:
• Qualitative analysis
• Quantitative analysis
In qualitative analysis, various methods and measurements are used in order to determine the components of substances.
On the other hand, quantitative analysis is used to analyze what amount of each component is present in a substance.
If there is an unidentified sample, both qualitative and quantitative analysis can be used to provide significant information.
2. Inorganic Chemistry
Instead of focusing on carbon and hydrocarbons, chemistry in this field concentrates on elements and compounds. All the non- living substances and the materials that are inorganic are included in inorganic chemistry. Simply put, inorganic chemistry covers those compounds that do not have a carbon-hydrogen bond.
Catalysts, metals, minerals, crystal structures, and many other elements on the periodic table are included in the inorganic chemistry.
For example, how gold is formed in the earth?
The strength of a power beam that is specifically utilized to carry weight.
Following are the branches of inorganic chemistry:
• Bioinorganic chemistry- It refers to the study of metals in biology.
• Coordination chemistry- It refers to the study of coordination compounds and interfaces of ligands.
• Geochemistry- It refers to the study of the chemical composition of Earth and its rocks, minerals, and atmosphere.
• Inorganic technology- It refers to the process of synthesizing new inorganic compounds.
• Nuclear chemistry- It refers to the study of radioactive substances.
• Organometallic chemistry- It refers to the study of those chemicals that include bonds in between carbon and a metal.
• Solid- state chemistry- It refers to the study of formation and features of solid phase materials.
• Synthetic inorganic chemistry- It refers to the study of synthesizing chemicals.
• Industrial inorganic chemistry- It refers to the study of those materials which are used in manufacturing. For example- fertilizers.
Biochemistry refers to the study of life and chemical processes in the living organisms. The research done by the biochemists include cancer and stem cell biology, infectious disease, genetics, mechanistic biochemistry, genomics, evolution, and spans molecular biology.
According to many scientists, biochemistry refers to the discipline in which examination of a biological phenomenon is done in chemical terms.
For example, cellular respiration and digestion.
Biochemistry is also known as biological chemistry or chemical biology.
When it comes to the primary umbrella of biochemistry, there has been an emergence of many new sub-branches like:
• Enzymology- It refers to the study of enzymes.
• Endocrinology- It refers to the study of hormones.
• Clinical Biochemistry- It refers to the study of diseases.
• Molecular Biochemistry- It refers to the study of biomolecules including their functions.
4. Organic Chemistry
Organic chemistry refers to the study of carbon compounds like drugs, fuels, plastics, and food additives. It is opposite of inorganic chemistry as it deals with the study of carbon and the chemicals in living organisms.
An example of organic chemistry is the process of photosynthesis. The reason being, change of chemical composition of a living plant.
The work of organic chemists includes researching in a laboratory, formulating experimental methods in order to segregate or synthesize the new material.
For example, developing a conditioner that is capable of keeping the hair softer, developing drugs to cure headaches, and creating a non-toxic product to clean home.
There are several disciplines that are included in the branches of organic chemistry. These are a study of aldehydes, ketones, hydrocarbons, and alcohols.
• Stereochemistry- It refers to the study of 3- dimensional arrangement of molecules.
• Organometallic chemistry- It refers to the study of chemicals in which there is a bond between carbon and metal.
• Medicinal chemistry- It refers to the study of designing, developing, and synthesizing pharmaceutical drugs.
• Polymer chemistry- It refers to the study of the creation and structure of polymer molecules.
• Physical organic chemistry- It refers to the study of composition and reactivity in organic molecules.
5. Physical Chemistry
The physical properties of molecules including the relation in which atoms and molecules are put together are studies under physical chemistry.
It refers to the study of how the structure of chemicals affects the physical properties of a substance. The principles and methods of both physics and chemistry are dealt with in physical chemistry.
For example, baking brownies. The reason being, materials are mixed with the help of heat and energy in order to get the final product.
The work of a physical chemist is studying the rate of a chemical reaction and computing structures and properties.
Following are the sub-branches of physical chemistry:
• Electrochemistry- It refers to the study of the interaction of ions, molecules, and atoms.
• Photochemistry-It refers to the study of chemical effects of light as well as photochemical reactions.
• Surface chemistry- It refers to the study of chemical reactions at interfaces.
• Chemical kinetics- It refers to the study of chemical reactions.
• Thermochemistry-It refers to the study of how heat is related to chemical change.
• Quantum chemistry- It refers to the study of quantum mechanics and how the same is related to the chemical phenomenon.
• Spectroscopy- It refers to the study of spectra of light and radiations.
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