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The Different Types of Chemistry

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  • 0:00 The Types of Chemistry
  • 0:43 Physical Chemistry
  • 1:45 Analytical Chemistry
  • 2:20 Biochemistry
  • 2:59 Organic and Inorganic…
  • 4:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laura Foist

Laura has a Masters of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition and has taught college Science.

In this lesson, we will learn about the five main types of chemistry. These five types are: organic, inorganic, physical, biochemistry, and analytical.

The Types of Chemistry

When we think about chemistry we often think about combining chemicals and watching them explode. This is certainly a part of it, but did you know that there are many different types of chemistry?

Chemistry is the study of matter and how matter changes. When chemists watch chemicals explode they are actually studying how those chemicals change, into light, sound, and heat specifically, when they are combined.

There are five main types of chemistry: physical, analytical, biochemical, organic, and inorganic. The different types focus on different aspects of matter. Let's take a closer look at each one.

Physical Chemistry

Physical chemistry is the study of how matter behaves and its physical arrangement. This includes rates of reactions, or what causes a reaction to occur quickly or slowly. For example, when we mix baking soda and vinegar we almost immediately see intense foaming. This has a quick rate of reaction. And yet, if we subject iron to air and water, it has a much slower rate of reaction and may take years to rust.

Physical chemistry can also study how light interacts with matter. This is important for spectroscopy. Spectroscopy is a method that we use to determine what type of chemicals are in a substance. Since different types of matter will interact with light differently, we can identify it based on how it interacts with light. This has helped us know what faraway planets are made of. Other examples includes studying the shape of a molecule, and how stable a substance is. In general, physical chemistry studies matter on an atomic level.

Analytical Chemistry

Analytical chemistry focuses on identifying and quantifying matter. It asks 'What is this? How much is there is in this substance? It may use some of the techniques from physical chemistry, among others, in order to determine this.

There are many methods to identify and quantify matter. This may be as simple as measuring the ionic concentration to determine how much salt is in a material, or as complex as seeing how much a specific microbe grows to determine the amount of folate is in a material. Both of these methods identify and quantify matter.

Biochemistry

Biochemistry looks at chemical principles in biology. For example, in the human body, oxygen attaches to hemoglobin when we breathe, which is then transported to the blood. This oxygen is then used to react with other substances, allowing us to survive. Another example is the different reactions that occur when sunlight hits a plant, which is then converted to energy.

Biochemistry is an important aspect in the medical world. It helps us to know what nutrients we need in our body, or diagnose mysterious symptoms. By knowing how the body is supposed to work we can figure out how to fix it when it doesn't.

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