Have you ever asked yourself this question as to why do we study chemistry? What do we get from learning all these elements and compounds and their applications? Does it seem vague to you? Well, it is not! The importance and scope of chemistry are huge! In this chapter, we will look at some of the practical applications of chemistry. However, before we start, can you tell what exactly is chemistry?
What is Chemistry?
Chemistry is that branch of science dealing with the study of composition, structure, and properties of matter. It deals with the study of the changes which different forms of matter undergo under different conditions. Chemistry also had branches that look at the laws governing these changes. Now that we know what chemistry is, let us move on and read about the importance of the same.
Browse more Topics under Some Basic Concepts Of Chemistry
- Atomic Mass and Molecular Mass
- Dalton’s Atomic Theory
- Laws of Chemical Combination
- Mole and Equivalent Weight
- Nature of Matter
- Percentage Composition
- Properties of Matter and Their Measurement
- Stoichiometry and Stoichiometric Calculations
- Uncertainty in Measurement
Importance and Scope of Chemistry
There are many instances in your day-to-day life that involves chemistry, its applications, and its rules. Let us look at them one by one.
1) Supply of Food
The study of chemistry provided the world with chemical fertilizers such as urea, calcium superphosphate, sodium nitrate, and Ammonium Sulphate. These chemicals have helped greatly in increasing the yield of fruits, vegetables, and other crops. Thus, we can cater to the ever-growing demand for food. It has helped to protect the crops from insects and harmful bacteria by the use of certain effective insecticides, fungicides, and pesticides.
Chemistry also led to the discovery of preservatives. These chemicals have greatly helped to preserve food products for a longer period. It has given methods to test the presence of adulterants. This ensures the supply of pure foodstuff.
2) Contribution to Improved Health and Sanitation Facilities
Chemistry provided mankind with a large number of life-saving drugs. We could find a cure for dysentery and pneumonia due to the discovery of sulphur drugs and penicillin. Besides this, life-saving drugs like cisplatin and taxol are effective for cancer therapy and AZT is used for AIDS victim. Some of the common drugs that chemistry has blessed us with include:
- Analgesics: To reduce the pain of different types.
- Antibiotics: To curb infection and cure diseases.
- Tranquillisers: To reduce tension and bring about calm and peace to patients suffering from mental diseases.
- Antiseptics: To stop infection of the wounds.
- Disinfectants: To kill the microorganism present in toilets, floor, and drains.
- Discovery of anaesthetics has made surgical operations more and more successful.
- The use of insecticides such as DDT and Gammexane has greatly reduced the dangers of diseases caused by the rats, mosquitoes, and flies.
3) The Scope of Chemistry in Saving the Environment
Thanks to science, now we have environment-friendly chemicals that help us conserve the nature. One such example is the replacement of CFCs in the refrigerators.
4) Increase in Comfort, Pleasure, and Luxuries
Because of the advancements in science and the discoveries of chemistry, we lead a more comfortable life today. You may ask how? Let us see below.
- Synthetic fibres: These are more attractive, comfortable and durable. The include terylene, nylon, and rayon. They are easy to wash, dry quickly and do not need ironing. Chemistry provides a large number of synthetic dyes which imparts bright and fast colour to the clothes.
- Building materials: By supplying steel and cement, chemistry helps in the construction of safer homes and multi-storage buildings. It also helps in the construction of long-lasting and durable dams and bridges.
- Supply of metals: Metals like gold, silver, copper, iron, aluminium, zinc and a large number of the alloys are used for making various objects. These include ornaments, utensils, coins, and many Industrial and agricultural implements.
- Articles of domestic use: Chemistry has made our homes more comfortable by supplying a large number of articles of domestic uses. Examples include detergents, oils, and fats, sugar, paper, glass, plastic, paints, cosmetics, perfumes, cooking gas etc. We are able to beat the heat in summers by using refrigerants like ammonia, liquid sulphur dioxide, and freon.
- Entertainment: Cinema, video cameras, simple cameras make use of films which are made of Celluloid and coated with suitable chemicals. Fireworks which amuses us on festival and marriages are chemical products. Can you imagine how boring life would have been if you wouldn’t have been able to take all those cute selfies?
- Transport and communication: All means of transport use either petrol or diesel or coal which are all chemical products.
- Nuclear atomic energy: Chemistry has come to the rescue by providing an alternative source of energy which is nuclear energy.
5) The Scope of Chemistry in Industry
Chemistry plays an important and useful role towards the development and growth of a number of industries. This includes industries like glass, cement, paper, textile, leather, dye etc. We also see huge applications of chemistry in industries like paints, pigments, petroleum, sugar, plastics, Pharmaceuticals.
6) The Scope of Chemistry in War
Chemistry plays an important role in the discovery of highly explosive substances such as TNT, nitroglycerine, and dynamite. It also plays a role in finding poisonous gases like mustard gas, Phosgene etc.
Solved Example for You
Q: List down some problems caused by Chemistry.
- Nuclear energy is useful but the disposal of nuclear waste poses a serious problem to humanity.
- Phonograph records have added to our pleasure for listening to music but they are made of polyvinyl chloride. This is produced from vinyl chloride which can cause liver cancer in industrial workers.
- Antibiotics have eliminated infectious diseases but the overuse is very harmful. Chemistry has given drugs like LSD, cocaine, brown sugar. These prove to be a curse to the society.