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qualitative chemical analysis

branch of chemistry that deals with the identification of elements or grouping of elements present in a sample. The techniques employed in qualitative analysis vary in complexity, depending on the nature of the sample. In some cases it is necessary only to verify the presence of certain elements or groups for which specific tests applicable directly to the sample (e.g., flame tests, spot tests) may be available. More often the sample is a complex mixture, and a systematic analysis must be made in order that all the constituents may be identified. It is customary to classify the methods into two classes: qualitative inorganic analysis and qualitative organic analysis

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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