Unknown Substance essay

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Each and every substance in the world has unique properties that uniquely identify them. Chemical properties is just one way, however, there are numerous other ways through which a substance would be identified. This includes spectroscopy, physical properties and x-ray crystallography.

Spectroscopy is the study of the spectra used to determine the physical and chemical composition of a substance. In this case, the strength of light that is emitted or reflected by the substance is used to determine the properties of the unknown substance. All that is required is to shine light to the substance then determine the energy emitted or absorbed by that substance. Since every element has a unique energy level, then one can identify the element through identification of the amount of energy it absorbs or reflects. Different methods of spectroscopy that do not affect the chemical properties of the substance exist. These include infrared spectroscopy, ultraviolet visible spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (Chemfiesta, 2010). All this involves subjecting the sample of light of different wavelengths then checking the amount of light absorbed or emitted. Obviously this does not change the physical properties of the substance.

Some combinations of physical properties are unique to a given substance. The smell, color and density of the substance can be compared with those of known substance that will make the unknown substance be known (Katz, 2009). The density of a substance is the mass of the substance per unit volume. In the situations where boiling or melting would not change the chemical properties of the substance, then the boiling points and the melting points which are unique to a given substance, can be used to determine the substance. However, caution would need to be taken to consider the room temperature while considering these physical properties. Change in room temperature can cause change in density, boiling point and the melting points.

X-ray crystallography is the process through which x-ray is shown on the substance to reveal the chemical and crystal composition of the substance that makes up the substance (Chemfiesta, 2010). The process is further supported by powerful computers that are able to view to the slightest detail of the substance. This is a highly precise means of determining the substance without changing the substance. 

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