What Are the 5 Branches of Chemistry?

By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., About.com Guide Question: What Are the 5 Branches of Chemistry? Here is a list of the 5 main branches of chemistry, along with an explanation of what each of the branches studies. Answer: There are many branches of chemistry or chemistry disciplines. The 5 main major branches of chemistry are considered to be organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry and biochemistry.
Overview of the 5 Branches of Chemistry
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Organic Chemistry - the study of carbon and its compounds; the study of the chemistry of life. Inorganic Chemistry - the study of compounds not-covered by organic chemistry; the study of inorganic compounds or compounds which do not contain a C-H bond. Many inorganic compounds are those which contain metals. Analytical Chemistry - the study of the chemistry of matter and the development of tools used to measure properties of matter. Physical Chemistry - the branch of chemistry that applies physics to the study of chemistry. Commonly this includes the applications of thermodynamics and quantum mechanics to chemistry. Biohemistry - the study of chemical processes that occur inside of living organisms.

chemistry, branch of science concerned with the properties, composition, and structure of substances and the changes they undergo when they combine or react under specified conditions.

Branches of Chemistry
Chemistry can be divided into branches according to either the substances studied or the types of study conducted. The primary division of the first type is between inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry. Divisions of the second type are physical chemistry and analytical chemistry. The original distinction between organic and inorganic chemistry arose as chemists gradually realized that compounds of biological origin were quite different in their general properties from those of mineral origin; organic chemistry was defined as the study of substances produced by living organisms. However, when it was discovered in the 19th cent. that organic molecules can be produced artificially in the laboratory, this definition had to be abandoned. Organic chemistry. is most simply defined as the study of the compounds of carbon. Inorganic chemistry. is the study of chemical elements and their compounds (with the exception of carbon compounds).

Alchemy developed extensively during the Middle Ages. Interests of the period were the transmutation of base metals into gold. with particular attention to trace elements. Opinion varied. made in Spain c.Physical chemistry. Hooke gave the first . and earth) combined to form all things. and John Mayow) chemistry began to emerge as distinct from the pseudoscience of alchemy. air. electrochemistry. hence it is often erroneously supposed that chemistry originated among the Arabs. using an air pump. and chemical kinetics. as it was first known.C. Thermochemistry is the investigation of the changes in energy and entropy that occur during chemical reactions and phase transformations (see states of matter). water. or alchemy. in Egypt and Mesopotamia. pottery. but with no understanding of the principles involved. Analytical chemistry.C. as early as 3500 B. and dyes. In quantitative analysis the exact weight of each constituent is obtained as well. these crafts were developed with considerable skill. History of Chemistry The earliest practical knowledge of chemistry was concerned with metallurgy. the ancient Egyptian industrial arts and Greek philosophical speculations were fused into a new science. cultivated largely by itinerant scholars who wandered over Europe looking for patrons. The beginnings of chemistry. diffused the remains of Hellenistic civilization to the Arab world. Robert Hooke. 1100. A. In qualitative analysis all the atoms and molecules present are identified. Muslim conquests in the 7th cent. the imitation of precious gems. Chemical kinetics is concerned with the details of chemical reactions and of how equilibrium is reached between the products and reactants. Subcategories within physical chemistry are thermochemistry. He performed experiments under reduced pressure. Stoichiometry is the branch of chemistry concerned with the weights of the chemicals participating in chemical reactions. such as their electrical and magnetic behavior and their interaction with electromagnetic fields. The basic ideas of element and compound were first formulated by the Greek philosophers during the period from 500 to 300 B. and the search for the elixir of life. is a collection of techniques that allows exact laboratory determination of the composition of a given sample of material. See also chemical analysis. but it was generally believed that four elements (fire. Evolution of Modern Chemistry In the hands of the ―Oxford Chemists‖ (Robert Boyle.D. Boyle (1627–91) is often called the founder of modern chemistry (an honor sometimes also given Antoine Lavoisier. thought to grant immortality. The first chemical treatises to become well known in Europe were Latin translations of Arabic works. 1743–94). are mingled with occultism and magic.D. Aristotle's definition of a simple body as ―one into which other bodies can be decomposed and which itself is not capable of being divided‖ is close to the modern definition of element.A. Electrochemistry concerns the effects of electricity on chemical changes and interconversions of electric and chemical energy such as that in a voltaic cell. About the beginning of the Christian era in Alexandria. and discovered that volume and pressure are inversely related in gases (see gas laws). is concerned with the physical properties of materials.

B. Stahl. This contributed to the concept of the periodic table of the elements. Becher and G. C. J. J. Meyer in Germany and D.rational explanation of combustion—as combination with air—while Mayow studied animal respiration. An early triumph of the new theory was the discovery of new elements that fit the empty spaces in the table. Michael Faraday discovered that a definite quantity of charge must flow in order to deposit a given weight of material in solution. The issue was resolved in favor of Proust by John Dalton's atomic theory (1808). The atomic theory goes back to the Greeks. C. Electrochemical theories of chemical combinations were developed by Humphry Davy and J. who did for chemistry what Newton had done for physics a century before. Cavendish also showed that the explosion of hydrogen and oxygen produces water. L. although he did not recognize it as an element. discovered by Boyle and carefully studied by Henry Cavendish. Berzelius. He recognized the true nature of combustion. The work of Priestley. but it did not prove fruitful in chemistry until Dalton ascribed relative weights to the atoms of chemical elements. Scheele found that air is composed of two fluids. he was a theoretician. Black. rather. J. and Cavendish was radically reinterpreted by Lavoisier. W. was called inflammable air and was sometimes identified with phlogiston itself. Proust formally stated the law of constant proportions in 1797. The discovery of various gases and the analysis of air as a mixture of gases occurred during the phlogiston period. J. systematic properties among the elements. Mendeleev in Russia (1869). introduced a new chemical nomenclature. introduced the false phlogiston theory of combustion. the culmination of a long effort to find regular. Impact of the Atomic Theory The assumption that compounds were of definite composition was implicit in 18th-century chemistry. two Germans. Hydrogen. He made no important new discoveries of his own. Carbon dioxide. he was the last great defender of the phlogiston theory. first described by J. they could all be in some way different combinations of hydrogen atoms. Davy discovered the alkali metals by passing an electric current through their molten oxides. He was the first to obtain pure oxygen (1771–73). only one of which supports combustion. Amedeo Avogadro introduced the hypothesis that equal volumes of gases at the same pressure and temperature contain the same number of molecules. William Ramsay's discovery. which held that the substance phlogiston is contained in all combustible bodies and escapes when the bodies burn. holding that composition depended on the method of preparation. van Helmont and rediscovered by Joseph Black in 1754. I. Joseph Priestley independently discovered oxygen by heating the red oxide of mercury with a burning glass. L. E. Berthollet opposed this law. Periodic laws were put forward almost simultaneously and independently by J. and wrote the first modern chemistry textbook. was originally called fixed air. of argon and other inert gases in the atmosphere extended the periodic table . L. William Prout suggested that as all elements seemed to have atomic weights that were multiples of the atomic weight of hydrogen. in collaboration with Lord Rayleigh. He erroneously believed that all acids contain oxygen. Even as the English chemists were moving toward the correct theory of combustion.

which disproved the belief that only living organisms could produce organic molecules. Lewis. Organic chemistry . General Chemistry (1984). Moseley. Henri Louis Le Châtelier. and molecular orbitals (see molecular orbital theory). At the end of the 19th cent. 1991). J. Bibliography See I. Gibbs. Transmutation of the elements. G. R. It also deals with chemical reactions. Pauling. B. McQuarrie and P. A.. J. With the rapid development of polymer chemistry after World War II a host of new synthetic fibers and materials have been added to the market. in work pioneered by Glenn Seaborg elements heavier than uranium have been produced. A. Kekule's ring structure for benzene opened the way to modern theories of organic chemistry. The work of Ernest Rutherford. and the heat theorem of Walther Nernst. Rock. but there are many sub-branches 1. A. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (published annually). A. D. N. and the principles which govern these changes. Below are the 6 MAIN Branches of chemistry. and Wilhelm Ostwald pioneered the application of thermodynamics to chemistry. and Niels Bohr on atomic structure (see atom) was applied to molecular structures. General Chemistry (3d ed.. A Short History of Chemistry (1965). Wurtz. H. Dumas. van't Hoff. Weast. Thomson and of radioactivity by A. A fuller understanding of the relation between the structure of molecules and their properties has allowed chemists to tailor predictively new materials to meet specific needs. . W.. mainly those compounds that do not contain carbon. Chemistry Chemistry is the branch of science that deals with the properties. Becquerel revealed the close connection between chemistry and physics. Inorganic chemistry . Further contributions were the phase rule of J. changes in matter.the study of most carbon-containing compounds. and in 1858 F. Irving Langmuir.. C.the study of all substances not classified as organic. A. Ernst Fischer's work on the amino acids marks the beginning of molecular biology. G. the discovery of the electron by J.. E. first achieved by Rutherford. H. and J. ed. and Linus Pauling developed the electronic theory of chemical bonds. C. Other important organic chemists include Justus von Liebig. composition and the structure of matter. making ice cream. 2. and riding in a hot air balloon all deal with chemistry. the ionization equilibrium theory of S. directed valency.. prompted in part by Friedrich Wohler's synthesis of urea (1828). J. Arrhenius. Kekule showed that carbon atoms are tetravalent and are linked together in chains.Organic Chemistry and the Modern Era Organic chemistry developed extensively in the 19th cent. L. Asimov. Lighting a fire. has led to the creation of elements not found in nature. In 1852 Edward Frankland introduced the idea of valency (see valence).

properties and compositions of the natural world. 5. Industries that use organic chemistry include petrochemicals. Subfields allow intense study in particular areas and offer specific career opportunities.the study of carbon and its compounds inorganic chemistry-the study of all the properties and characteristics of other elements. Inorganic Chemistry: This branch looks at substances that do not contain carbon. Here chemists test theories about the behavior of substances and the nature of chemical bonds.3. Industries that employ inorganic chemistry include nuclear science and energy. Chemistry is about understanding the structure and composition of matter. 6.the study of the properties and changes of matter and their relation to energy. The general principals of chemistry remain the same. 4. Theoretical chemistry . molecules and crystals to explore the various chemical reactions that change matter. Physical chemistry . The major branches of chemistry include the following: Organic Chemistry: This branch deals only with organic matter that contains carbon and hydrogen. organic chemistry. Biochemistry . . such as minerals. Examples of sub-branches include geochemistry and electro-analytical chemistry. Chemists use atoms.the identification of the components and composition of materials. Physical Chemistry: This is the study of atoms and subatomic particles of matter. analytical chemistry-the analysis and identification of substance physical chemistry-the study of laws and principles govering physical and chemical changes biochemistry-the study of materials found in living organism What Are the Branches of Chemistry By: Jennifer Flaten The branches of chemistry break down the broad study of matter into several subfields. Analytical chemistry .the use of mathematics and computers to understand the principles behind observed chemical behavior and to design and predict the properties of new compounds.the study of substances and processes occurring in living things. to determine how they can be used and how they change in different situations . pharmaceuticals and textiles. whether you're looking at general chemistry theories or a specific subfield. The study of organic chemistry gives us an idea of the structure. Physical chemistry provides the basis for every other branch of chemistry.

Physical Chemistry. Qualitative and quantitative methods are two of the more basic methods used in this discipline. Hundreds of thousands of carbon-based molecules exist becuase carbon atoms are able to form long branched chains and rings. including food safety. carbohydrates and nucleic acids are examined to learn how they interact or form cells.Biochemistry and organic chemistry are closely related. manufacturing and ph armaceuticals. The following is a basic description of the different branches of chemistry: Analytical Chemistry The collection of techniques and methods used to gain an understanding of the chemical composition and structure of materials. Organic Chemistry The study of compounds consisting primarily of hydrocarbons which provide the primary material of all organic compounds.This field has several subfields. The methods can be used in all the other branches of chemistry.Common biological molecules include carbohydrates. Biochemistry: In this science. Organic Chemistry. Some of the most studied organic compounds are those that . Proteins. quantum chemistry and kinetics. lipids and nucleic acids. July 4th. the chemical process of living organisms is analyzed. 2006 at 5:06 am Chemistry has been divided into a number of different branches. Analytical Chemistry: This branch looks at the chemical makeup of natural and artificial materials. Industries that use biochemistry are biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Biochemistry The chemistry of life-processes and living organisms. Analytical chemistry is used in many fields. Geochemistry and Nuclear Chemistry. Different Branches Of Chemistry Tuesday. Organic and physical chemistry are used to map out the matter that makes up living organisms. Inorganic Chemistry.Biochemists focus on the structures of biological molecules and their physical properties. Chemicals that are found in natural and man-made substances are analyzed to understand how they work together to form compounds. Biochemistry. While they may be positioned a being quite separate there is significant overlap between them and between the other different branches of chemistry. They are generally recognised as Analytical Chemistry. including thermodynamics. Inorganic Chemistry The study of reactions and properties of compunds which do not contain hydrocarbons – carbon and hydrogen and which are not organic. Because they make up the majority of compounds in living organisms organic compounds are of special importance. Most of the research is conducted at universities. proteins. They form coal and oil. and the results of that research can be applied to many different industries.

it produces the greatest number of different compounds on Earth. This is because These have importance because they are linked to amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins and life. There is much overlap between organic and inorganic chemistry. including geochemistry. When the amino group combines with the carboxyl group. . The most studied groups of organic compounds are those that contain nitrogen. nuclear science. Inorganic chemistry studies all non-living matter.contain nitrogen. For instance. Even though carbon is only the fourteenth most common element on the planet. Amino acids are important because they are as the building blocks of proteins. Chemical kinetics is concerned with mechanisms and rates of reactions. Electrochemistry is concerned with the effects of electricity on chemical changes as well of the conversion of chemical to electrical energy and vise versa. These are atoms of the same element that vary in the number of neutrons they contain. much of the study of chemistry involves organic chemistry. Different Branches Of Chemistry Chemistry is generally divided into two broad different branches of chemistry: organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry. Inorganic Chemistry -Inorganic chemistry involves the study the properties and reactions of compounds that do not contain carbon and which are not organic. These organic compounds are important because they are often linked to the amino group. and analytical chemistry. Other types of chemistry include physical chemistry. organometallic chemistry studies the use of compounds that are capable of creating a covalent bond between carbon and metal. Here’s a brief description of the most common: Organic Chemistry -Organic Chemistry has to do with the study of compounds that contain carbon (and sometimes hydrogen). biochemistry. Not surprisingly then. with each field branching off into several specific subfields. electrochemistry and thermodynamics. Geochemistry The chemistry ( and physics) of processes taking place in the earth. such as minerals found in the Earth crust. and bioinorganic chemistry. The later is widely studied and deals with the role of energy in chemical reactions. There are many branches of inorganic chemistry. Examples are the formation of petroleum. including chemical kinetics. the metamophosis of rocks and mineral formation. amino acids are born. Physical Chemistry Physical Chemistry deals with the application of physical laws to chemical change and chemical systems. Nuclear Chemistry The study of the chemical effects of high energy radiation and the behaviour of radio-active isotopes. There are several subcategories of physical chemistry. coordination chemistry.

Chemistry is the science that deals with the structure and composition of matter and the chemical reactions that are responsible for changing the state and properties of matter. There are several subcategories of physical chemistry. molecules. proteins. electrochemistry. with attention paid to trace elements. but includes also measuring the exact weight of each chemical constituent. Biochemistry is sometimes referred to as physiological chemistry and biological chemistry. These include thermochemistry. Take a look at them. as well as the effects of electricity on chemical changes. lipids. chemical kinetics studies the equilibrium it reached between products and their reactants. Biochemists commonly focus on the physical properties and structures of biological molecules. Specifically. Quantitative analysis also involves determining the atomical and molecular structure of matter. Chemistry has been subdivided into distinct disciplines that deal with specific branches of chemistry. .Unlike the other main types of chemistry. analytical chemistry doesn’t deal specifically with specific elements. Chemistry is the science of atoms. Chemical kinetics involves the study of chemical reactions. crystals and other aggregates of matter and the chemical processes that change their energy and entropy levels as also their structure and composition. as well as their interaction with electromagnetic fields. The different branches deal with different aspects of the study of matter. Biophysics. Qualitative analysis has to do with identifying all the atoms and molecules in a sample of matter. Let us look at the different branches of chemistry.chemistrytalk. Analytical Chemistry.Biochemistry is a branch of chemistry concerned with the composition and changes of living matter.com is where you can get chemistry help. Common biological molecules include carbohydrates. molecular biology. and chemical kinetics. Thermochemistry studies the changes of entropy and energy that naturally occur during chemical reactions. Physical properties that are studied may include the electrical and magnetic behavior of materials. a study of the fundamental units of matter. and nucleic acids. and cell biology are research fields closely related to biochemistry. Analytical chemistry is concerned mainly with the various techniques and laboratory methods used to determine the composition of materials. Qualitative and quantitative analysis are the two most basic methods used in analytical chemistry. Electrochemistry is concerned with the study of interconversions of electric and chemical energy of matter. is subdivided into branches that deal with specialized spheres of chemistry.Physical Chemistry -As its name implies. read our chemistry articles and check out our selection of chemistry lab equipment resources. physical chemistry has to do with the physical properties of materials. Different Branches of Chemistry Chemistry. http://www. Biochemistry.

The effects of the absorption of radiation. in what quantity they are. Instrumental analysis is a prominent part of modern analytical chemistry. Nuclear Chemistry: It is a popular and one of the very important branches of chemistry that studies radioactivity. When physical chemistry is applied to the chemical interaction between atoms and subatomic particles. This branch also deals with the chemical reactions that are used in the preparation of organic chemical compounds. composition and the chemical properties of organic compounds is known as organic chemistry. Chemistry is a very vast subject as it delves into the enormity of the universe. The study does not restrict itself to any particular type of chemical compounds. The complex molecules are known as polymers and the basic units they are composed of. Nuclear chemistry also deals with the non-radioactive areas of life. While dealing with the study of the structure and behavior of matter. It is a relatively vast field that deals with intermolecular forces. and nucleic acids as also the chemical processes that occur in cells. It deals with the structure and behavior of the components of cells and the chemical processes in living beings. and how they define the chemical properties of the substance. while the descriptive inorganic chemistry deals with the classification of compounds based on their properties. sulfides and carbonates form the important classes of inorganic compounds.Organic Chemistry: This branch of chemistry deals with the study of the organic matter. the production and use of radioactive materials and radiotherapy come under this branch of chemistry. Analytical Chemistry: This is a very important branch of chemistry that deals with the analysis of the chemical properties of natural and man-made materials. Biochemistry: This discipline of chemistry represents a peep of biology into chemistry. Analytical chemistry primarily deals with the study of the chemicals present in a substance. By Manali Oak . The substances that primarily consist of carbon and hydrogen are termed as organic. it makes an attempt to encompass the study of the fundamental units that make up the universe. carbohydrates. the study is known by the name. Biochemistry deals with the study of cellular constituents like proteins. Inorganic Chemistry: It is the branch of chemistry that relates to the structure. rates of chemical reactions as well the conductivity of different materials. Oxides. The discipline that deals with the study of the structure. Physical Chemistry: This branch of chemistry applies the theories of physics to atoms and subatomic particles. All the substances other than the carbon-hydrogen compounds are classified under the group of inorganic substances. are known as monomers. lipids. The complex and large biomolecules are usually composed of similar units that repeat. composition and behavior of inorganic compounds. This branch also covers the study of the equipment used for the performance of nuclear processes. Industrial inorganic chemistry deals with the branch of applied science such as the manufacture of fertilizers. quantum mechanics. It revolves around the study of the nuclear properties of and the chemical processes in radioactive substances.

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