Chemistry has always been seen as a complex and dull subject for most students. But, if we look deep into the concept, it’s far more interesting! This branch of science deals with the study of the structure, composition, properties, and reactivity of chemical compounds. How can a subject associated closely with fireworks and explosions go uninterested?
Chemists apply this science to almost all the things surrounding the world, so it holds significant importance. We generally study atoms, molecules, ions, ionic compounds, and complex structures in chemistry. It is further classified into five primary branches that we will discuss today
Five Branches of Chemistry
We are living in a chemical era, where numerous chemical reactions take place every day. So, chemistry and its branches are spread all around. Not only this but, several chemical reactions are going on inside our body, so this field also deals with the significant chemical structures in a human body. We also analyze chemistry in food, industry, pharmacology, forensic science, and agriculture. Hence, every distribution comes with its scope and career. It means this branch of science has a family of subdivisions under it, but we’ll only discuss the five primary of them. These are:
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Physical Chemistry
- Analytical Chemistry
This branch of chemistry deals with the extensive study of structure, properties, and formation of chemical compounds, including Carbon and Hydrogen. Some minor/trace elements are also present along with the major ones, such as Sulphur, Oxygen, Nitrogen, etc. All organic compounds interlink through the single, double, or triple bond, called alkanes, alkenes, and alkynes. Moreover, it applies various techniques for the separation of mixtures, for example, distillation, solvent extraction, chromatography (HPLC, Gas Chromatography), etc.
The formation of methane, ethane, ethene, acetylene, etc., are all reactions of organic compounds.
Several distinct properties of organic compounds make them unique and fall under the branch of Organic Chemistry. They have their set melting and boiling points, where the molecular weight and polarity indicate these values. Let’s go through other properties as well.
It has a fundamental property of solid-state, so most organic compounds are in this position.
Organic compounds are soluble in an organic solvent like methanol, ethanol, etc., rather than water. Only the composites that can ionize in water can be dissolved in them. The solubility of organic compounds depends on polarizability. It’s a like-dissolve-like phenomenon, where polar compounds get soluble in polar solvents, and the same goes for non-polar.
Size of Compounds
The sizes of organic compounds vary with their structure, with double and triple bonds having complex dimensions.
Each chemical compound has different elements bonded together through a specific sequence called a functional group.
Fizzy drinks, salt, sugar, etc., are daily life examples of organic chemistry.
Moreover, experts study aldehydes, ketones, aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, synthetic polymers, and much more under organic chemistry.
Sub-Branches of Organic Chemistry
We can classify organic chemistry into various sub-branches. The top of them are:
The study of chemical compounds having a bond between carbon atoms and metals is called organometallic chemistry.
The study of synthesis and design of medicinal drugs, including the formation of drugs, is called medicinal chemistry.
In this sub-branch of organic chemistry, chemists study the chemical details of polymers.
It deals with the study of radioactive elements and nuclear reactions taking place in the universe.
Inorganic chemistry is also an essential branch of chemistry that studies all the compounds other than Carbon and Hydrogen. This branch deals with the detailed study of the properties, formation, and behavior of inorganic compounds. Almost 10,000 inorganic compounds are present in the world. Some common examples include minerals, metals, and organometallic compounds.
Following are the prominent of all properties of inorganic compounds.
Inorganic compounds are pretty easier than organic ones that show high solubility in water.
These compounds have a unique property to form crystals in a saturated state. Thus, inorganic substances can produce crystals as well.
High Melting & Boiling Points
These substances are strongly bonded to each other due to ionic bonding. Thus, possessing very high melting and boiling points.
Several inorganic compounds consist of different metals, and metals are good conductors of electricity. Hence, these are good conductors of electricity.
Sub-Branches of Inorganic Chemistry
We have sub-divided inorganic chemistry into the following six branches:
Solid State Chemistry
This branch of inorganic chemistry studies the structure, properties, and synthesis of solid phase material.
It deals with the study of applied chemistry to study the Earth thoroughly
It studies the chemical reactions that occur due to the absorption of Ultraviolet Rays.
Theoretical chemistry focuses on the explanation of the physical and chemical observation of atoms.
It is the branch of inorganic chemistry concerned with the thermal or chemical reactivity of atoms. It also informs us about the release or absorption of thermal energy.
This sub-branch deals with the study of the nucleus, its charge, and chemical reactions.
The branch of chemistry is regarded with applying physics to daily chemistry applications. It includes the study of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics and the way atoms/molecules are joined together.
If we extend the concept, physical chemistry generally is a blend of physics and chemistry. It studies how a particular molecule is generated by combining an atom and a molecule. The reactions, including heat liberation, are also studied under physical chemistry.
Sub-Branches of Physical Chemistry
The essential sub-branches of physical chemistry are as follow:
It deals with the study of chemical reactions that occur when heat liberates from them.
All the chemical reactions taking place under sunlight come under the branch photochemistry.
Electrochemistry copes with the study of how atoms, molecules, and ions participate in an electrical current.
Spectroscopy helps study the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation. Furthermore, it also deals with the light that splits into wavelength, just like a rainbow color.
This sub-branch of physical chemistry provides complete information about how chemical reaction proceeds at a certain speed. Moreover, it also helps investigate the half-life of a chemical reaction.
Another most important branch of chemistry is analytical chemistry. It deals with the central dogma of acquiring, processing, and communicating the details of the composition and structure of a chemical matter. Analytical chemistry is mostly used in different tools and methodologies to identify and quantify matter. In simpler terms, this division determines how a chemical body exists.
Some of the essential techniques used by analytical chemistry are:
- Ion Chromatograph
- Gas Chromatography
- Electron Probe Microanalysis
- X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry
- Fourier Transform Infrared Analysis
- Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
- Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry
- Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy
Sub-Branches of Analytical Chemistry
There is only two vital sub-branches of analytical chemistry, quantitative and qualitative analysis.
This branch is mostly used to analyze the presence or absence of a chemical compound in an analyte. Quantitative analysis typically utilizes the flame and other chemical tests to determine the presence of a substance. Experts use this technique in various branches of chemistry, including organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry.
Several methods are used in Quantitative Analysis, which are:
- Filtration method
As the name indicates, quantitative analysis measures the number of samples in a compound, for example, the amount of carbon and hydrogen in glucose. The most prevalent methods used in the quantitative analysis are Gravimetric and Volumetric Methods.
The gravimetric technique gives a more precise result than volumetric. In the latter method, experts include titration, for instance, acid-base titration that is the neutralization reaction, yielding salt and water.
Biochemistry is the last essential branch of chemistry that studies all the chemical reactions taking place in a living body. As the name indicates, this branch deals with a combination of biology and chemistry, thus involving biomolecules like proteins, amino acids, nucleic acids, enzymes, fats, and lipids. The typical cycles involved in biochemistry are the Krebs cycle, Citric Acid cycle, Carbon cycle, etc. Students can pursue their careers in biochemistry as Biochemists and study the details of living organisms.
Sub-Branches of Biochemistry
It is such a vast field that beholds numerous sub-branches under it. Let’s discuss the definition of a few of them.
All living beings have metabolic processes going on in them. These metabolic processes, called anabolism and catabolism, are studied under biochemistry.
This sub-division of biochemistry studies the detail of poisons that can harm a living body. The fundamental goal of toxicology is to stay informed about all the harmful and deadly toxins (exotoxins) present in our environment.
This branch manages the detailed study of genes that are the genetic structures of a living entity. In genetics, we deal with the variation and properties of genes.
Similarly, there are a lot more branches of biochemistry that we have thoroughly displayed in another article. So, check it out here!
Jeannie has achieved her Master’s degree in science and technology and is further pursuing a Ph.D. She desires to provide you the validated knowledge about science, technology, and the environment through writing articles.