Elizabeth, a Licensed Massage Therapist, has a Master's in Zoology from North Carolina State, one in GIS from Florida State University, and a Bachelor's in Biology from Eastern Michigan University. She has taught college level Physical Science and Biology.
The Study of Matter
There is one common thread that is shared by everything on Earth: we are all made of matter. Though we may be built with different types of atoms and molecules, at our core, this is the basic structure of every living and non-living thing. The study of matter and its properties is the field of chemistry. While chemistry does involve some cool explosions and bubbly solutions, there's far more to it than this. In fact, chemistry can be divided into two categories: pure and applied.
Scientists love to do research, and one type of research they perform is pure research. This is the ''how,'' ''what,'' and ''why'' of science. Pure chemistry then is pure research in the field of chemistry.
This branch of research asks questions such as these:
- What are the properties of this gas?
- How do these two chemicals behave together?
- Why did that just explode?
Pure chemistry looks at what you might call the ''raw'' aspects of matter. How things work, why they work, what they are made of, and how they behave are all things that pure chemistry tries to understand. In essence, you are looking at the nuts and bolts of chemistry. You want to define, describe, clarify, and comprehend matter.
If you are a curious person that loves to take things apart and see what makes them tick, then pure chemistry just might be for you. For example, mercury is an interesting element because it is a metal that is liquid at room temperature. Understanding why this is true is a question for pure chemistry. Another good question for pure chemistry is why water expands when it freezes. This is also a unique property among elements and an interesting one to explore and learn about.
On the other hand, applied research looks at how our knowledge of things can be useful. In other words, it's about applying our knowledge to improve things or find solutions to problems. Therefore, applied chemistry uses our existing knowledge about all things chemistry (often from pure chemistry) and tries to make it useful.
For example, applied chemistry isn't a field concerned with identifying new properties of candle wax, but it is definitely interested in designing a variety of different scents. This field is also not going to present us with major revelations about the properties of soap, but it just might give us soaps that clean our floors more efficiently or leave our windows with fewer streaks.
Petroleum companies are very interested in applied chemistry because they want to improve how vehicles use their product. From the gasoline that powers our engines to the oils and lubricants that keep everything moving smoothly, applying our knowledge of this natural resource can lead to better fuel efficiency, less wear and tear, and even fewer emissions.
Remember that liquid metal mercury? Applied chemistry makes use of its properties in thermometers and barometers. Knowing how mercury works, we can apply that knowledge to create useful measuring devices for things that you might not normally associate with a metallic element.
All right, let's take a moment to review what we've learned. Pure and applied chemistry are different branches of the field of chemistry, which is the study of matter and its properties.
Though they're separate fields, pure chemistry, or pure research in the field of chemistry, which is part of pure research which looks at the ''how,'' ''what,'' and ''why'' of things, can inform applied chemistry, which is the application of our chemistry knowledge, which is part of applied research, which looks at how our knowledge of things can be useful. In fact, without the knowledge gained from pure chemistry, we might not have many of the developments that have come from applied chemistry. From thermometers and petroleum to soaps and even air fresheners, both pure and applied chemistry play important roles in understanding matter and applying that knowledge in new and useful ways.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack
Resources created by teachers for teachers
I would definitely recommend Study.com to my colleagues. It’s like a teacher waved a magic wand and did the work for me. I feel like it’s a lifeline.