In this article, the author has explained What is inorganic chemistry and different types of inorganic compounds. This blog post also discusses the scope and applications of the inorganic chemistry in daily life.
What is inorganic chemistry?
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Inorganic chemistry is a branch of chemistry that deals with the study of inorganic substances. These are chemical compounds that do not contain carbon. There are many different types of inorganic compounds, and they can be classified based on their electron configuration, bonding type, or their reactivity to other substances.
In contrast to organic compounds, inorganic substances do not contain Carbon (C). This distinction can be most easily seen when considering the difference between coal and diamond: Coal contains carbon and thus is an Organic compound; Diamond does not have Carbon as its main component and so it would classified as an Inorganic compound.
Father of Inorganic Chemistry
The first person to use the term “inorganic chemistry” was the German chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius in 1808. Berzelius is also credited with developing many of the fundamental concepts of inorganic chemistry, such as the atomic theory of matter and the law of definite proportions.
The father of inorganic chemistry is considered to be Alfred Werner. He was a Swiss chemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1913 for his work on the coordination theory of inorganic complexes. Werner’s theory revolutionized our understanding of the structure and bonding of inorganic compounds, and it is still used today by chemists all over the world.
Werner was born in Mulhouse, Alsace, in 1866. He studied chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and he received his PhD in 1890. After graduation, Werner worked as a research assistant at the University of Zurich, and he eventually became a full professor in 1902.
history of inorganic chemistry
Inorganic chemistry is one of the most complex and interesting branches of science. It’s history is not as old as of organic chemistry. Lets explore its origins and some fascinating moments in history!
The first person to study inorganic compounds was not a chemist at all – it was Antoine Lavoisier (1743-94). One day he mixed together mercury with nitric acid, which resulted in oxidizing ‘mercury calx’ into red mercuric oxide.
This process would come to be known as oxidation. He then added hydrochloric acid, which reduced the mercuric chloride into metallic mercury on top of what had been left behind by the nitric acid! His experiment showed that metals could react with acids or other chemicals just like non-metallic substances could.
In 1807, John Dalton published what he called the ‘New System of Chemical Philosophy’. The main idea behind it was that all matter is made up of tiny particles (atoms) which combine in definite ratios to form molecules.
These atoms are indivisible and cannot be reduced further by any chemical process – a radical concept at the time! This basic understanding would later lead to an explosion in research into everything from acids to gases.
Chemists were not only interested in describing how different materials reacted together; they wanted to know why these reactions occurred when certain chemicals mixed together but not others, or why some items turned red while others stayed whiteish after being exposed to heat for a long period of time.
In 1811, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac found that when a gas is heated its volume increases – this was called the law of gases and it explained why substances react differently to heat than they would if left alone.
Types of inorganic compounds
Inorganic compounds are those that do not contain carbon. All other elements mostly metals in the modern periodic table results into inorganic compounds. They can be either elements, which cannot be separated into simpler substances by chemical means, or they may have a molecular structure that does not include the element carbon.
There is no clear cut-off between organic and inorganic compounds: there are some complex classes of inorganic compound (such as metal oxides) for which it is difficult to say exactly where on the spectrum any individual member should belong; but most chemists would regard even these as ‘inorganics’.
There are several different types of inorganic compounds though the most common ones include metal hydroxides, oxides, hydrides, sulfates and halides. Metal ions can combine with other elements to create salts such as sodium chloride which is also known as table salt.
In order for these reactions to take place there needs to be a bonding force between molecules that compete against one another called a valence or difference of oxidation state.
Nitrates are made up of nitric acid and nitrogen dioxide gas dissolved into water while carbonic acids contain hydrogencarbonate ion (HCO–), bicarbonate ion (HCO–) and carbon dioxide(CO).
Scope of inorganic chemistry
The scope of inorganic chemistry is the study of properties and reactivity patterns in compounds with at least one element other than carbon.
It includes all chemical aspects of living organisms, including biochemistry which encompasses organic chemistry; and geochemistry, which deals with non-living material on Earth’s surface.
It also includes physical chemists who work to understand more about these areas through mathematical modeling and simulation or by being able to do experiments that are not possible outside a laboratory setting.
The field is historically significant because it has contributed to development of major advancements such as steel manufacturing processes, synthetic chemicals used for fertilizer production (elements include nitrogen), fertilizers themselves (phosphates) etc., silicone polymers now found in everything from automobiles to cookware make up roughly 60% of the chemistry market, polymers that are used in plastics for food packaging and other items make up roughly 40% of the industry.
Inorganic chemists study elements such as aluminum, calcium, copper, helium, gold or iron which compose a large percentage of our Earth’s crust; those who work with heavy metals like mercury or lead often have to take precautions due to their toxic nature.
The field is also home to many types of engineering careers from designing new materials through finding ways to recycle old ones (elements include silicon) – there’s no end in sight when it comes to what can be learned about these properties and reactivity patterns.
Applications of inorganic chemistry
- You may not think of inorganic chemistry as the most exciting branch of science. However, it does have plenty to offer that has contributed immensely to our lives and society in general. For example:
- Inorganic materials are used for many things such as foods, clothing, medicine, etc.;
- It is a key component in everything from making computer chips to constructing buildings;
- They play an important role in environmental protection because they can help with pollution control or cleaning up oil spills;
- The study of atoms and molecules involved helps us understand how we work on a molecular level which leads scientists to make new discoveries about human health.
- Used in food additives such as colors or flavors;
- Found in prescription medicines including especially products, paint pigments or etc.;
- Plays a significant role in environmental protection helping with pollution control or cleaning spills;
- Allows scientists to study basic properties of matter that often go unnoticed by they are so small atoms) which leads them to make new discoveries about human health.
- Some common classes of inorganic substances include metal ores like iron ore or copper ore which are used for production of metals such as steel, aluminum, lead, copper etc.; oxides like ferric oxide or zinc oxide which provide coloration; salts such as sodium chloride or potassium nitrate which are found in fertilizers among many other things; and a large class of substances called minerals which are extracted from the earth.
- The study of inorganic chemistry is used extensively to extract valuable metals and ores for use in manufacturing processes, but it can also be applied more broadly to studying how water behaves as an example of something that isn’t organic, or what happens when salt comes into contact with metal.
Read all articles related to inorganic chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry- History, Scope, And Applications
- Peculiar behavior of lithium(Li)-A detailed overview
- Alkali metals-occurrence, Properties, and periodic trends
- Position of Hydrogen in the periodic table-Easy guide
- Oxides-Classification and periodic trends of oxides
- Hydrides-Types of hydrides and periodic trends
- Halides-Covalent halides|Ionic halides|metal halides and applications
- Hydration energy trends in periodic table[Explained]
- Electrical conductivities of elements in periodic table | Periodic table conductivity
- Oxidation state-Oxidation number-A detailed overview
- Periodic trends of Ionization energy, atomic radius, electron affinity, metallic character
- Modern Periodic Table-Groups, Periods, Families, and Blocks
- Development and History of periodic table-A brief overview