Chemical analysis is crucial to knowing what substances you are handling and if there are any elements that shouldn’t be there.
The primary means of this is through qualitative chemical analysis.
What is it?
Qualitative chemical analysis is a method of analysing inorganic and organic substances. It is a branch of chemistry that identifies elements and compounds, however, it does not measure the amount of substance but rather its factors such as colour, smell, atomic structure, texture and the ability of the substance to conduct electricity or reflect light.
Qualitative chemical analysis will often work from large to small, thus the largest parts of the sample will be identified first. It will then go down until they are in elemental form.
Methods and tools
For a simple qualitative analysis, no tools may be necessary as factors such as colour and smells can be observed without mechanical assistance. Other preliminary analysis might include the use of simple tools such as cotton swabs and a source of heat like a Bunsen burner.
Some more sophisticated methods and tools will include spectroscopy, fluorescence tests, chromatography, polarography and electrophoresis. Overall, the smaller the part that is needed to be analysed the need for high-tech equipment increases.