Introduction to Chemical Analysis
Complex materials (mixtures and compounds) can be analysed to identify the ingredients, source and possibly the production method. Chemical analysis starts by reviewing everything that is already known about a substance. Information such as the use, function, and physical properties (such as color, odor, appearance) of a substance can help us determine what methods we may use for complete identification and what precautions and instruments are required.
A chemical analysis project may involve material separation, elemental analysis, molecular analysis, microscopy as well as physical analysis.
Unknown materials may pose varieties of risks during analysis. Explosions, release of poisonous gases, biological/ allergic reactions are all possible while analyzing a substance. We reduce such risks by giving priority to non-contact and non-destructive test methods. We also minimize the amount of materials being tested to as little as possible. All unknown materials are considered harmful to human and environment until otherwise is shown.
Elemental analysis is identifying the amount of different elements in a substance. There are different methods for elemental analysis and often preparation is required prior to the analysis. For minerals and metals, elemental analysis using XRF spectrometer may be all it is needed to identify the elements in a substance. For inorganic salts and polymers, elemental analysis is just part of the overall process.
For organic chemicals, solvents and petroleum compounds, Gas Chromatography can be used for qualitative and quantitative analysis of a substance with relatively high accuracy.