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Analytical Chemistry

The development of chemistry is based on finding out the composition of various compounds. Not just the chemical aspect of it but the physical parameters and properties as well. The branch of chemistry which throws light on the various aspects involved in characterizing an element, compound or mixture is known as Analytical Chemistry. The importance of Analytical chemistry is the determination of the chemical composition of matter. This is done by the identification of a substance, the elucidation of its structure and its composition.

These are the aspects covered by analytical chemistry, which involve a wide variety of equipment and techniques. Analytical chemistry is an interdisciplinary branch of science wherein a large number of inputs from different branches of sciences have contributed to its development. For instance, most of the chromatographic methods were invented by biochemists, or biological scientists, while contributions by physicists account for nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy etc. 

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What is Analytical Chemistry?

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Analytical Chemistry Definition

Analytical chemistry can be defined as that branch of chemistry dedicated to the qualitative, quantitative, structural and other analysis of a substance by various experimental determinations. It is the study of the separation, identification, and quantification of the chemical components of natural and artificial materials. Analytical chemistry is also focused on improvements in experimental design, chemometrics, and the creation of new measurement tools to provide better chemical information.

Methods of Quantitative Analysis

Analytical chemistry has a two step analysis. They are characterization and determination of the constituents of a compound. The identification step is called qualitative analysis, while the second step of quantitative analysis is more complicated. Quantitative analysis can be classified depending upon the method of analysis, or it can be categorized according to the scale of analysis.

Analytical Chemistry Impact Factor

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Analytical chemistry has a lot of impact on the discovery, study and establishing of a substance. No other branch of science finds so many extensive applications as analytical chemistry purely for two reasons.

First analytical chemistry finds numerous applications in various disciplines of chemistry such as inorganic, organic, physical and biochemistry and secondly it finds wide applications in other fields of related sciences such as environmental science, agricultural science, biomedical and clinical chemistry, solid state research and electronics, oceanography, and space research.

The analysis of pesticides or insecticides from crops is done by gas chromatography or high performance liquid phase chromatography.  Ascertaining the ratio of potassium to sodium in fertilizers is done by atomic absorption or flame emission methods. There are instances of the use of analytical chemistry in agricultural sciences like the mineral content in crops, estimation of amino acids and requirements of a crop under study. 

The analysis of micro nutrients such as iron, copper, zinc, molybdenum, boron and manganese by spectrophotometer is another Analytical Chemistry Example.


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The fundamentals of analytical chemistry is sub divided into selection, experimentation, observation and establishment. Preliminary tests will give the nature of the substance under study and helps to select the process that needs to be undertaken. The next step in fundamentals of analytical chemistry is experimentation. The sample under study is subjected to a variety of tests. The results of all these required tests are recorded and carefully observed to consolidate an inference in the third step of analysis.

Finally after studying all the data proposing a method to identify that particular substance with some characteristic tests which will help in further research. The following are the topics listed under analytical chemistry.


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“Chemistry is at least as old as recorded history, but we recognized as experimental chemistry did not emerge until the end of the sixteenth century” are the words of R.Boyl in his book Conceptional Chemistry. 

Gravimetry amounts to tracing the early history of chemistry by the study of quantitative estimations. There are three stages of the analysis. 
  1. The first phase is to encounter the new material while testing which is the early stages of analytical chemistry.
  2. The second phase is to establish the structures.
  3. The third phase, right now represents the broadening and deepening of the meaning of analysis.
As summarized from the literature's analytical chemistry as a science involves all techniques and methods for obtaining information regarding the composition, identity, purity and constitution of samples of matter in terms of the state, quantity, and grouping of atoms and molecules. It also involves the determination of those physical properties and behaviors that can be corrected with those objectives.

The future trends in analytical chemistry are to develop different techniques for high sensitivity studying at the atomic and molecular level. To meet the requirement for information, energy, environmental and life sciences and industry the future trends in analytical chemistry should focus on the present technological development and take the help of digitization, computerization, ultra microscopic study and spectroscopy etc.

Quantitative Analytical Chemistry

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Basic analytical chemistry can be divided in to Qualitative and Quantitative analysis. In the first type, by the processes of analysis one can establish the presence of different units in the given substance.  It will however not give the amounts of the units that compose the material.

In quantitative analytical chemistry, the stress is on establishing the amounts of those elements and compounds in the substance under test.  There are two different varieties of quantitative analysis. Volumetric analysis or titrimetric analysis is one method to establish a compound. This technique involves making of a soluble and clear solution of the substance and then tit-rating it against the standard solutions, using an indicator.

The other method of quantitative analysis is the gravimetric or precipitate analysis. This method is considered much more accurate than the volumetric analysis. In this type of analysis the substance under study is subjected to a treatment where the anionic or cationic component forms an insoluble and stable compound. 

For example, if one has to estimate the BaCl2 purity by gravimetric method, it can be done either by converting Ba2+ ions into insoluble BaSO4 salt or converting chloride ion (Cl-) into insoluble Silver chloride. This will give the purity of the compound.

Advanced Analytical Chemistry

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In recent times, analytical chemistry has simulated not only chemistry but many fields of science, technology and society. Conversely analytical chemistry itself has always been heavily influenced by fields like nuclear engineering, materials science, environmental protection, biology and medicine.

The development of chemistry itself has progressed significantly by analytical findings over several centuries. Fundamental knowledge of general chemistry is based on analytical studies the laws of simple and multiple proportions as well as the law of mass action.

Analytical Chemistry Experiments

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The list of experiments in analytical chemistry are
  1. Activation analysis
  2. Isotope dilution
  3. Quantitative analysis
  4. Separation by distillation
  5. Separation by electrochemical techniques
  6. Separation by ion exchange
  7. Separation by paper chromatography
  8. Separation by precipitation
  9. Separation by solvent extraction

Analytical Chemistry Problems

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Some of the solved problems in analytical chemistry are given below.

Solved Examples

Question 1: Calculate the value of $\epsilon _{max}$ for compound X. 2 $\times$ 10-15M solution of an organic compound X placed in a 1cm tube has an absorbance (A) of 0.63 at $\lambda_{max}$ = 237nm.
We know that

$\epsilon _{max} = \frac{A}{l \times C}$

= $\frac{0.63}{1 \times 2 \times 10^{-5}}$

= 31,500

Question 2: A diene of molecular formula C4H6 has an intense peak at 217nm in its UV spectrum. Deduce the structure of C4H6.
Since the value of $\lambda _{max}$ is 217nm its suggests that diene is a conjugated diene.

Hence the structural formula of C4H6 is


More topics in Analytical Chemistry
Separating Mixtures Titration
Molecular Spectroscopy Spectroscopy
Bioanalytical Systems Polymers
Qualitative Analysis Gravimetric Analysis
Volumetric Analysis Forensic Toxicology
Chromotography Computational Chemistry
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