The 5 main branches of Chemistry
Popularly known as the study of substances, chemistry is an interesting and complex subject of natural sciences. It helps us in understanding the composition of everything around us.
Since the beginning of time, we have been taught how all matter is made up of tiny particles called atoms and how they constitute differently in our surroundings.
One day or the other, you might have wondered why the sky is blue? How is glass made? Or why do oil and water separate when mixed? All these answers can be found while studying chemistry.
Chemistry is the study of matter and its properties, structure, composition, energy interactions, as well as its changes in nature. While Biology focuses on living things and physics pays attention to the behaviour of matter concerning space and time, Chemistry examines the constitution of all matter and living things. Beyond labs, chemicals, and transparent spectacles — chemistry helps with advancement, research, and shaping the future.
This subject sometimes proves to be more mind-bending than any other. Students often shy away from approaching it with a positive attitude. Now, let’s look at the 5 major branches of Chemistry and throw some light on them.
This branch of chemistry studies organic compounds vital for living systems primarily consisting of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen bonds. Living beings on earth are carbon-based, which means they are made up of biological molecules such as proteins, sugars, fats, and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) made up of organic compounds.
Organic Chemistry explains the interlinking of organic compounds with single, double, and triple bonds. We also learn about their properties, such as melting points, boiling points, solubility, and functionality. Further while studying these compounds, we apply techniques like distillation, chromatography, distillation, and many others.
The contribution of organic chemistry can be seen across medical, pharmaceutical, and biochemical studies. This branch helps synthesize new medicines, drugs, fertilizers, polymers and improve the formulas of the existing ones.
Another essential branch of chemistry goes beyond biological molecules. This segment does not involve compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, or oxygen. Instead, this branch deals with inorganic compounds like metals, minerals, clusters, and other ionic compounds.
There are about 10000 inorganic compounds present in the inorganic compounds in the world. Inorganic chemistry involves studying their behaviour, properties, and formations — concepts of catalysis, materials chemistry and bioinorganic chemistry. In addition, it introduces to catalysts. The chemical entities responsible for the increase in reaction rate without being consumed can also be seen in this section.
Inorganic chemistry plays an essential role with organometallic complexes of transition metals. This area is specific to synthesizing and characterizing solid-state compounds or inorganic polymers such as silicones.
The science of quantification and identification of materials in the mixture is represented by analytical chemistry. This branch of chemistry primarily works with different tools and methods to identify and quantify. It also helps supervise, interpret and perform analysis.
Analytical chemistry uses qualitative and quantitative techniques such as Ion chromatograph, electron probe microanalysis, X-ray fluorescence, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, electrophoresis and many more. Processing and communicating the composition and structure of chemicals is the primary goal of this segment.
This is a relatively new field but still has left an impression among the researchers. Environmental and pharmaceutical companies along with engineering and forensic laboratories use these methods extensively.
This field of chemistry works by applying the laws and concepts of Physics to daily chemistry applications. These physical principles govern the behaviour of atoms, molecules, and other chemical systems.
The branch of physical chemistry is as vital as any other field in chemistry. It involves kinetics, spectroscopy, quantum mechanics and thermodynamics. These methods are applied to analyze and investigate the mechanisms of organic reactions. Physical chemists also get a better understanding of processes occurring at an atomic level. These processes can also be applied to study biological processes.
Physical techniques are mostly used to characterize polymers and study environmental systems. These methods can also be applied to study biological systems such as protein folding and nerve working.
We talked about physics and chemistry; now, let’s talk about biology and chemistry. The branch of biochemistry studies and analyzes all the chemical reactions inside the living body. This branch tends to overlap with life sciences. Here, we study a living body at a more cellular level by learning an organism’s atomic and molecular composition.
Biochemistry is a blend of chemistry and biology. It consists of extensive learning of biomolecules such as protein, amino acids, nucleic acids, enzymes, fats, and lipids. Cycles or chemical reactions like the Krebs cycle, Carbon Cycle, Citric Acid Cycle etc can all be explained with this subject. It also aims to characterize the link between the structure and function of biological macromolecules.
Biochemical research has made a significant impact on the medical industry. It helps map out the human genome, understands body functions, and finds a cure for diseases. As a result, a comprehensive understanding of clinical diagnostics, organ/tissue transplantation, and genetic diseases also become possible.
Chemistry has plenty to offer to the ones willing to learn. Are you the one but don’t know where to begin? We are here to help you.
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