Identifying Unknown Compounds | 25 Essential ways to Check Substances

Many compounds are identified and classified for proper use by chemists.

But due to many chemical experiments and space and other explorations, many new compound emerge which need to be identified.

Even if you find one, you can follow few steps mentioned below in identifying the unknown compound

Identifying Unknown Compounds

Compounds can be identified by 2 examinations like

1. Physical evaluation

2. Chemical evaluation

Physical evaluation

relies on physical appearance and characteristics like

  1. Color
  2. Texture
  3. Smell (0d0r)
  4. Tast
  5. Feel

Physical properties like

  1. Solubility
  2. Melting point
  3. Boiling point
  4. Refractive index
  5. Crystalline nature. amorphous nature
  6. Ash value
  7. Residual left over on drying

Chemical properties like

1. pH

2. Conductivity

3. Polarity

4. Functional groups etc.

Electrochemical methods: These methods are done if the above methods are not fruitful like

Spectroscopy methods of analysis

Chromatography method of analysis

Lets us see them in detail

Based on color: Most solids have some or other form of color. Liquids and gases are mostly colorless. But still some possess color. Presence of color easily gives us an idea of the what is the compound.

Bases on texture: Not all substances are of same feel in touch. Some or smooth, rough, powder, sticky, slimy, hairy, slipping etc. Based on these observations also one can identify the compound.

Based on odor or smell: Odor is one of the powerful sense which helps to identify the compounds. If a substance has no odor, it would be tough to rely on this methods. However, there are many compound which have an ordor and be easily spotted and identified.

Based on taste: Our tongue can recognize 4 types of tastes like sweet, salt, bitter and sour. Compounds like sugars are mostly sweet in taste, while unripe fruits like lemon and orange can be salty or sour. Some fruits like bitter guard can be bitter in taste. Hence, taste helps to identify the compounds in most cases. But it is not advisable always as it can lead to toxicity.

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