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Tips On How To Improve Your Research With Chemistry Qualitative Analysis

Chemistry Qualitative Analysis

chemistry qualitative analysisIn chemistry, a good way to determine whether or not a substance is present in a sample is through qualitative analysis. Chemistry only uses qualitative analysis to determine whether or not a substance is present. The amount of the substance present will have to be determined using quantitative methods. Although chemistry qualitative analysis as well as qualitative analysis in marketing or qualitative market research isn’t as accurate as quantitative methods, it can be done relatively quickly. Rather than a system of measurements, qualitative analysis involves observing results in the form of reactions to various tests that are used. Many substances will react in a specific way every time when mixed with another substance, when heat is applied or when some other form of test is done. By comparing observations with known reactions of different substances, the chemical makeup of a substance can be determined.

Basic Tests and Experiments Used in Qualitative Analysis

There are numerous tests that a sample may be put through to arrive at what substances are present. Just as it is known how a substance will react in certain conditions, information is also available as to how other substances will react to the same conditions. Conducting a series of different tests, observing reactions, and process of elimination will eventually result in learning all substances present. Basic tests that may be performed on a sample include:

  • Appearance – The most basic of tests, the color of the substance should be noted, and its shape if it is in solid form.
  • Heating affect – Heating a substance in a test tube may cause condensation to form or could give off a gas. Color and odor of gas should be recorded as well as the presence of condensation.
  • Solubility in water – There are basic solubility rules such as all nitrates are soluble and all carbonates, sulfites and phosphates are insoluble except for sodium, potassium and ammonium.
  • Reaction when mixed with various chemicals– Mixing a known substance with your unknown sample may or may not produce a reaction. The lack of reaction or type of reaction should be recorded. Some reactions can be startling and care should be taken always.

The above are just a fraction of the numerous tests a substance may be subjected to. Reactions may include color changes, breakdown of compound, gas emissions or any of a multitude of other possibilities. These should always be recorded and described to the best of your abilities.

Techniques and Suggestions for Chemistry Qualitative Analysis

There are some techniques and methods for performing various functions of qualitative analysis in chemistry that will help in producing better results. Some of these suggestions include:

  • Make sure all test tubes and stirring rods are clean. For reagents used on a regular basis, dedicate a dropper for that particular reagent. Results could be affected by dirty equipment.
  • Adding reagents – Always use clean droppers. Never allow the dropper to touch a test solution.
  • Substance descriptions – Always describe the sample before a test is performed, describe any reaction, and describe the appearance of the sample after the test.
  • Always exercise caution. Reactions can be unexpected and sometime hazardous if care isn’t taken.

Qualitative analysis is a useful tool in chemistry as well as other sciences. To learn more visit the Center For Science and Engineering Statistics at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/.

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