Analytical chemistry is often described as the area of chemistry responsible for characterizing the composition of matter, both qualitatively (what is present) and quantitatively (how much is present). This description is misleading. After all, almost all chemists routinely make qualitative or quantitative measurements. The argument has been made that analytical chemistry is not a separate branch of chemistry, but simply the application of chemical knowledge. In fact, you probably have performed quantitative and qualitative analyses in other chemistry courses. For example, many introductory courses in chemistry include qualitative schemes for identifying inorganic ions and quantitative analyses involving titrations.
Many problems in analytical chemistry begin with the need to identify what is present in a sample. This is the scope of a qualitative analysis, examples of which include identifying the products of a chemical reaction.
- Qualitative analysis: An analysis in which we determine the identity of the constituent species in a sample.
- Quantitative analysis: An analysis in which we determine how much of a constituent species is present in a sample.
- Characterization analysis: An analysis in which we evaluate a sample’s chemical or physical properties.
- Fundamental analysis: An analysis whose purpose is to improve an analytical method’s capabilities.
We will study two important chapters:
Basic Tools of Analytical Chemistry
Titrimetric Methods of Analysis