Chemical Analysis: Breaking Down Materials

Amy Hawthorne

by Amy Hawthorne

13th November 2014

I spoke to the Head of Quality Assurance at ReAgent, who was able to explain in detail about what chemical analysis is and how we carry out testing in our laboratory, using specialised chemical analysis equipment.

We carry out chemical analysis in our lab facility onsite so we can be sure we know exactly what our products consist of and can confidently pass this information on to our customers.

What is Chemical Analysis?

Chemical analysis involves testing raw materials in a lab to ensure they meet a certain specification. We’re able to study the chemical composition of a substance and obtain its exact chemical information to understand its properties.

Chemical analysis can be divided into qualitative analysis (which elements and compounds are present in a material?) and quantitative analysis (what’s the amount and weight of elements and compounds present?)

Here in the ReAgent lab, we study the separation and identification of chemical components in materials. Any product we sell starts with a raw material that we usually purchase from one of our suppliers. Often, these raw materials come with a Certificate of Analysis (C of A) which gives us insight into the exact composition of the material.


At ReAgent, we study the separation and identification of components in materials through a process called Chemical Analysis

However, sometimes products require additional testing, even if they come with a C of A. We may just need to check the density or work out the alcohol content of some products, but others require more in-depth testing.

Each company is different – some suppliers may do a test that others don’t. We need to determine the chemical composition of every material we use so we can provide the best possible products to our customers, alongside consistent and relevant information.

Testing Raw Materials in the Lab

There’s no one fixed way to carry out chemical analysis – processes involving pharmaceutical products are much more stringent than general chemicals.

Methods depend on the chemical you’re testing and the information you’re looking for. We test materials using methods we’ve developed, customer-supplied methods or industry-developed methods.

We use basic wet chemistry to carry out numerous tests, and a lot of testing is carried out on our autotitrator.

We may also use products such as indicators to test other chemicals. Indicators cause a colour change when they’re added to a product, which can help us differentiate between chemicals.

Why do we Test Materials?

There are recognised industry standard methods for carrying out chemical analysis, which all comes down to the grade of the produce we’re supplying. For example, AR grade (Analytical Reagent) signifies that we need to do some extra testing because it is of a higher quality. Tech grade products are for general usage and usually don’t require extra testing.

As well as testing chemicals to ensure we meet British Standards, we also do it so we know exactly what comprises the products we sell to our customers. We can pass the information on to customers and confidently state that we’re supplying a particular product. We’re able to prove that our products have been tested and thoroughly checked.

Chemical analysis allows us to check the quality of the material and see for ourselves that the material is what it says it is and isn’t full of contaminates.

Recently, we received a product that had a funny smell. When we tested the product, we found that it had been contained in a contaminated vessel and wasn’t as pure as it should have been. This information helps us to ensure we’re delivering products of a consistently high standard to our customers.


Gold test kits allow you to analyse gold and test for impurities

Chemical Tests at Home

For your convenience, we sell testing kits that allow you to carry out chemical analysis on a small scale, even for those with little to no chemistry experience.

We supply gold test kits that come with simple instructions and a range of solutions. The bottles contain acids of different strengths, which are suitable for testing different qualities of gold. For example, hydrochloric acid would be used to carry out testing on 18-24 carat gold.

You may have also heard of ‘marquis reagent test kits’. These are simple home kits that are used to test the presence of drugs. The solution provided will change colour with the presence of drugs and you will be instructed on how to identify the type of drug.

For any more information on how our in-house chemistry experts ensure our products are pure, please get in touch. There are known risks involved with working with chemicals, so we always follow guidelines on protecting workers from chemical hazards to minimise risks. 


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