What Are the Branches of Chemistry

The branches of chemistry break down the broad study of matter into several subfields. The general principals of chemistry remain the same, whether you're looking at general chemistry theories or a specific subfield.

Chemistry is about understanding the structure and composition of matter. Chemists use atoms, molecules and crystals to explore the various chemical reactions that change matter. Subfields allow intense study in particular areas and offer specific career opportunities.

The major branches of chemistry include the following:

Organic Chemistry: This branch deals only with organic matter that contains carbon and hydrogen. The study of organic chemistry gives us an idea of the structure, properties and compositions of the natural world. Industries that use organic chemistry include petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and textiles.

Inorganic Chemistry: This branch looks at substances that do not contain carbon, such as minerals, to determine how they can be used and how they change in different situations . Industries that employ inorganic chemistry include nuclear science and energy.

Physical Chemistry: This is the study of atoms and subatomic particles of matter. Here chemists test theories about the behavior of substances and the nature of chemical bonds. Physical chemistry provides the basis for every other branch of chemistry.

This field has several subfields, including thermodynamics, quantum chemistry and kinetics. Most of the research is conducted at universities, and the results of that research can be applied to many different industries.

Biochemistry: In this science, the chemical process of living organisms is analyzed. Proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids are examined to learn how they interact or form cells. Organic and physical chemistry are used to map out the matter that makes up living organisms. Industries that use biochemistry are biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

Analytical Chemistry: This branch looks at the chemical makeup of natural and artificial materials. Chemicals that are found in natural and man-made substances are analyzed to understand how they work together to form compounds. Analytical chemistry is used in many fields, including food safety, manufacturing and ph armaceuticals.

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