The basis of all progress in modern civilization is that there are people out there who are willing to study and learn most, if not all the processes in nature. In some cases environments and situations have to be simulated to gain better understanding and knowledge. Some of the best sources of new learning are experiments. Theoretical and physical sciences have dominated human pursuits for centuries. Change, progress and innovation have resulted from hours and hours of tedious testing and chemical analysis. Small scale experiments that are successful are then created in large scale set ups that can be useful to society.
Analytical chemistry, the branch of science that studies the chemical composition of matter, is an exact science. This is why it involves complicated mathematical formulae. Chemical methods and chemical testing are continually being improved to attain the precision that is requisite. There are many different chemical analyses techniques employed in laboratories that are currently being used. And the chemical methods vary because each kind is highly centered on the equipment being used. But any form of chemical testing belongs to either qualitative or quantitative measurement.
- Qualitative Analysis. As the term suggests, qualitative analysis is the study of elements present in a given solution or compound. This type is concerned with the make up or the composition of the object to be studied. To better understand this, an example of qualitative analysis involves the identification of the elements present in a sample of water, of urine, etc.
- Quantitative Analysis. Qualitative analysis is used, on the other hand, to know the figures corresponding to the amount of an element in a sample. For example, in acid analysis, the elements that form the acid are known through qualitative studies, while the amount of each part of the elements present are known through quantitative research.
In the lab, one will tend to find instruments that are specialized for only one function, and that function is either qualitative or quantitative. Traditional analytical techniques gather the same results. Examples of these are titration and gravimetry.
- Titration is the addition of an element or a compound to a solution to reach a point of equivalence. The most common and well-known type of titration is acid-base titration. In this system, an acid is added to a base to determine the amount of base present. The neutralization that results from the reaction will determine just how much of the basic substance there is. And this is performed in the reverse order to determine just how much acid there is in a solution.
- Another common example of traditional analytical techniques is gravimetry. This deals with the determination of the material by weighing the amount of material prior to an experiment and after the material’s transformation. No counterweights are used here. Rather, the added material is removed by some system or technique to identify the amount of the compound to be measured.
With all the different types of chemical analysis, it can be concluded that these are done for the purpose of progress and change. What better way to innovate than by studying matter and finding the most applicable solutions to everyday problems?