What Are The Minor Branches Of Chemistry?

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Chemistry is a very broad field of scientific study and so is often broken down into five main sub-divisions. This classification of different branches allows focused studies to be carried out in specific areas of chemistry as required. The five main branches you should be aware of are as follows: Organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, biochemistry and analytical chemistry.

• Organic chemistry - this encompasses all studies related to the element carbon, which is the basis of all life on Earth. Carbon is such an important element because it can form four bonds - meaning it is featured in some form in most compounds and chemical structures. Carbon can form alkanes and alkenes - the two types of hydrocarbons - depending on whether or not it shares a double or single bond with hydrogen.
• Inorganic chemistry - as you'd expect, this covers all of the elements found in various compounds that are not carbon. It includes the study of oxygen and other gases and metals that are not members of the carbon family, such as the noble (inert) gases and halogens.
• Physical chemistry - this field of study relates to chemical behavior including reactive properties, state (solid, liquid or gas) and boiling/melting points. Physical chemistry is important in allowing us to identify common features in a range of different substances, as can be seen in the periodic table where elements are organized into groups and periods depending on their properties.
• Biochemistry - As the name suggests, this links chemistry and biology together. It looks at how life processes work and refers to chemical reactions in living things - such as those controlled by enzymes in humans and photosynthesis in various plant species.
• Analytical chemistry - This minor branch refers to chemical composition and the different elements various compounds and mixtures are comprised of. It is important in analyzing substances which may be sold in shops to see if they are safe for mainstream use - for example, cleaning fluids which may contain ammonia and paint that could have traces of lead in it.

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