The world of chemistry is so vast that there is a need to break it up into smaller parts and study its individual components in order to fully understand who they exactly are, what are their potentials and how do they effect the environment they are in.
This organized way to step by step decompose the complexity of chemistry is what chemical analysis is all about.
It is primarily the systematic procedure of separation, identification, and quantification of the chemical components of natural and artificial materials. The technique of chemical analysis has two branches: Qualitative analysis, which deals with identification of the chemical species by the virtue of its properties or by a particular “differentiating characteristic” unique to that substance and Quantitative analysis, deals with the process of figuring out how much of one particular chemical is in a mixed substance.
Chemical analysis can be divided into two other classifications, classical analysis and instrumental analysis. Classical methods which are sometimes also known as “wet chemistry methods” use separation techniques such as precipitation, extraction and distillation.
Classical methods used in qualitative analysis generally comprises of color test, odor or melting point, in quantitative cases chemical analysis is achieved by the measurement of weight or volume.
Instrumental methods comprise of more sophisticated techniques and use an apparatus to measure the physical quantities of the analyte (the substance in question) such as light absorption, fluorescence and conductivity. Use of methods such as chromatography and electrophoresis is applied for the separation of materials.
Chemical analysis is probably the most important part of a scientific study because not only it tells us what exactly we are dealing with but it also gives us a chemical insight as to the potential of that particular compound or mixture.
This raw data makes it easier to determine what further study may or may not be conducted. In a wide variety of fields such as medicine and forensic sectors chemical analysis is used directly, for example the discovery of a particular chemical in blood that increases the risk of cancer is successfully detected because of extensive chemical analysis and paves the way for steps to remove that chemical from the bloodstream.
This is particularly important in pharmacy where the relationship between the drug and patient is crucial. Besides this, quality control is a major part in every industry.
Chemical analysis is the backbone of any chemical workshop may it be a lab or an industry and will always be a systematic way to understand the chemical world.