Major Branches of Chemistry - Home of Knowledge

Major Branches of Chemistry

Science: word science is derived from “scientia” means “knowledge”. The knowledge that provides understanding of this world and how it works is called science. The knowledge obtained through observations and experiments is called science.

Chemistry: The branch of science that deal with the composition, structure, properties and reactions of matter is called chemistry.

Major Branches of Chemistry: The major branches of chemistry are as follows:

1) Physical chemistry:  Physical Chemistry is defined as the branch of chemistry that deals with the relationship between the composition and physical properties of matter along with the changes in them.

Scope: The properties such as structure of atoms or formation of molecules behavior of gases, liquids and solids and the study of the effect of temperature or radiation on matter are studied under this branch.

2) Organic Chemistry:

Organic Chemistry is the study of covalent compounds of carbon and hydrogen (hydrocarbons) and their derivatives.

Occurrence and scope: Organic compounds occur naturally and are also synthesized in the laboratories. Organic chemists determine the structure and properties of these naturally occurring as well as synthesized compounds. Scope of this branch covers petroleum, petrochemicals and pharmaceutical industries.

Inorganic Chemistry:

Inorganic chemistry deals with the study of all elements and their compounds except those of compounds of carbon and hydrogen (hydrocarbons) and their derivatives.

Scope: It has applications in every aspect of the chemical industry such as glass, cement, ceramics and metallurgy (extraction of metals from ores).

Biochemistry It is the branch of chemistry in which we study the structure, composition, and chemical reactions of substances found in living organisms.

Scope: It covers all chemical processes taking place in living organisms, such as synthesis and metabolism of biomolecules like carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Biochemistry emerged as a separate discipline when scientists began to study how living things obtain energy from food or how the fundamental biological changes occur during a disease. Examples of applications of biochemistry are in the fields of medicine, food science and agriculture, etc.

Industrial Chemistry:

The branch of chemistry that deals with the manufacturing of chemical compounds on commercial scale, is called industrial chemistry.

Scope: It deals with the manufacturing of basic chemicals such as oxygen, chlorine, ammonia, caustic soda, nitric acid and sulphuric acid. These chemicals provide the raw materials for many other industries such asNuclear Chemistry

Nuclear Chemistry is the branch of chemistry that deals with the radioactivity, nuclear processes and properties.

Scope:The main concern of this branch is with the atomic energy and its uses in daily life. It also includes the study of the chemical effects resulting from the absorption of radiation within animals, plants and other materials. It has vast applications in medical treatment (radiotherapy), preservation of food and generation of electrical power through nuclear reactors, etc.


Environmental Chemistry:

It is the branch of chemistry in which we study about components of the environment and the effects of human activities on the environment. Environmental chemistry is related to other branches like biology, geology, ecology, soil and water. The knowledge of chemical processes taking place in environment is necessary for its improvement and protection against pollution.

Analytical chemistry: Analytical chemistry is the branch of chemistry that deals with separation and analysis of a sample to identify its components. The separation is carried out prior to qualitative and quantitative analysis. Qualitative analysis provides the identity of a substance (composition of chemical species).

On the other hand, quantitative analysis determines the amount of each component present in the sample. Hence, in this branch different techniques and instruments used for analysis are studied.

Scope: The scope of this branch covers food, water, environmental and clinical analysis.

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