Chemistry is the science that deals with everything related to the matter, that is, everything that has mass and occupies space. Chemistry studies the composition, properties, and changes that matter undergoes, such as what happens when sodium reacts with water, or what happens when the iron is exposed to the elements.
This means that chemistry in general encompasses a huge field of study, from the atomic level to the biosphere and beyond, such as the composition of stars and planets. To facilitate the understanding of the various areas of action of chemistry there are various branches, the first division of chemistry being that which occurred in the nineteenth century between organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry. Below are various branches of chemistry and their applications.
1. Organic Chemistry
Organic chemistry is the branch of chemistry that deals with the study of carbon and its compounds, better known as organic compounds. Initially, organic compounds were considered to be those compounds produced by living organisms. Today, however, chemists can synthesize many of these compounds in the laboratory.
Industries such as the polymer industry, the petrochemical industry, and the pharmaceutical industry rely on organic chemicals.
2. Inorganic Chemistry
This branch of chemistry is responsible for studying inorganic compounds such as salts and minerals. These compounds are found in nature and cannot be synthesized by living things.
The main applications of inorganic chemistry are presented in metallurgy, nanotechnology, and electronics, among others.
You may also be interested in organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry.
3. Analytical Chemistry
It is the branch of chemistry responsible for the analysis of substances. The main tasks of chemists in this field are to detect the presence of substances in mixtures (qualitative analysis) or to measure how much of a substance is in a mixture (quantitative analysis).
Analytical chemistry has applications in quality control and product development in the industry.
Biochemistry is the branch of chemistry that studies the structure and function of biological molecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids. Biochemistry, chemistry, and biology are related.
Biochemists study the chemical reactions that occur in living organisms, such as digestion, metabolism, reproduction, and respiration.
It is the application of biochemistry and biology to create and modify genetic material or organisms for a specific purpose.
Biotechnology is used in the creation of crops resistant to diseases, for the production of biofuels, and for the production of inputs and supplements, among many other applications.
It is the branch that studies the interaction of light with molecules, supramolecular systems, and biological matter. Among these, the phenomena of luminescence, photosynthesis, phototherapy, the effects of UV and visible radiation, and the use of solar energy are studied.
Photochemistry has important applications in the development of sustainable energy sources, and in the treatment of skin diseases and cosmetics.
7. Biological Chemistry
Biological chemistry is the study of the chemical compounds and reactions involved in biological processes. For example, the search for compounds that prevent blood coagulation in some plants may be a strategy for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
Biological chemistry also has applications in the search for drugs against parasites and fungi that can cause diseases in humans.
Catalysis or catalytic chemistry develops conversion methods and processes using catalysts. Catalysts are compounds that speed up chemical reactions. For example, hydrogen peroxide can be transformed into water and oxygen, but under normal conditions, this takes a long time. If a catalyst is placed on it, such as manganese dioxide, the reaction is almost immediate.
Catalytic chemistry searches for new catalysts and studies catalytic mechanisms. It has applications in the petrochemical industry and in bioremediation.
9. Chemistry of materials
Materials chemistry deals with experimental and theoretical studies for the understanding, application, properties, and synthesis of new materials. The search for these new materials is intended to improve their performance and physical properties.
Materials chemistry has applications in engineering, optics, electromagnetism, and medicine.
10. Environmental Chemistry
It is the branch of chemistry that specializes in the study of the chemical processes of air, water, and soil. Among the tasks of environmental chemistry is the measurement of pollutants, such as mercury, in soils and water supplies. It also measures gas emissions and waste leaks from industries.
Environmental chemistry is applied in private and public agencies interested in environmental protection and pollution.
This branch of chemistry is dedicated to deducing why chemical systems behave the way they do by applying physics. Physical chemists study the physical properties and behavior of matter, as well as try to develop models and theories to describe them.
Physical chemistry uses areas of physics such as thermodynamics and spectroscopy to explain the direction of chemical reactions and how much energy is released or absorbed.
12. Medicinal Chemistry
Medicinal chemistry is dedicated to the design, synthesis, and evaluation of new chemical and biochemical entities with the potential to be used as pharmacological agents or potential drugs.
Medicinal chemistry is an interdisciplinary area that has contributions to chemistry from biology, biochemistry, medicine, and pharmacology.
13. Computational Chemistry
It is the branch of chemistry that uses computer simulation to solve chemical problems. In computational chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and chemistry are related to evaluating chemical structures and processes, with the advantage of saving time and reagents.
14. Forensic Chemistry
Forensic chemistry applies chemical analysis in the context of forensic and criminal investigation, to analyze samples or trace samples from crime scenes. For example, in fire investigations, a forensic chemist can determine if the fire was started by gasoline or kerosene.
15. Polymer Chemistry
It deals with the synthesis and analysis of polymers, their structure, and function, particularly synthetic polymers such as plastics and rubbers. Polymers are long structures made up of repeating units, like nylon, DNA, and plastics.
16. Green Chemistry
Green chemistry refers to the use of a set of principles that reduces and eliminates the use or generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture, and application of chemical products. Its purpose is to reduce the environmental impact of chemical companies.
It is one of the most modern and evolving branches that is responsible for researching alternative and sustainable technologies in chemistry.
Petrochemicals specialize in the refining and processing of oil and its derivatives. It also studies the composition of oil and natural gas and how to transform them into useful compounds, such as gasoline.
Crude oil is a fossil fuel that in its natural state is unwieldy. The petrochemical industry designs strategies for extracting and modifying oil for greater efficiency and profitability.