Inorganic chemistry is the branch of chemistry concerned with the properties and behavior of non organic compounds. This field covers all chemical compounds except the myriad organic compounds (carbon based compounds, usually containing C-H bonds), which are the subjects of organic chemistry. The distinction between the two disciplines is not absolute as there is much overlap. The the sub-discipline of organometallic chemistry addresses the "gray" area of Chemistry between Organic and Inorganic.
Inorganic chemistry is the branch of chemistry concerned with the
properties and behavior of inorganic compounds.
Many inorganic compounds are salts, consisting of
cations and anions joined by ionic bonding. Examples of salts are magnesium
chloride MgCl2, which consists of magnesium cations Mg2+ and chloride anions Cl−;
or sodium oxide Na2O, which consists of sodium cations Na+ and oxide anions O2−.
In any salt, the proportions of the ions are such that the electric charges
cancel out, so that the bulk compound is electrically neutral. The ions are
described by their oxidation state and their ease of formation can be inferred
from the ionization potential (for cations) or from the electron affinity
(anions) of the parent elements.
Important classes of inorganic salts are the oxides, the carbonates, the
sulfates and the halides. Many inorganic compounds are characterized by high
melting points. Inorganic salts typically are poor conductors in the solid
state. Another important feature is their solubility in e.g. water (see:
solubility chart), and ease of crystallization. Where some salts (e.g. NaCl) are
very soluble in water, others (e.g. SiO2) are not.
The simplest inorganic reaction is double displacement when in mixing of two
salts the ions are swapped without a change in oxidation state. In redox
reactions one reactant, the oxidant, lowers its oxidation state and another
reactant, the reductant, has its oxidation state increased. The net result is an
exchange of electrons. Electron exchange can occur indirectly as well, e.g. in
batteries, a key concept in electrochemistry.
When one reactant contains hydrogen atoms, a reaction can take place by
exchanging protons in acid-base chemistry. In a more general definition, an acid
can be any chemical species capable of binding to electron pairs is called a
Lewis acid; conversely any molecule that tends to donate an electron pair is
referred to as a Lewis base. As a refinement of acid-base interactions, the HSAB
theory takes into account polarizability and size of ions.
Inorganic compounds are found in nature as minerals. Soil may contain iron
sulfide as pyrite or calcium sulfate as gypsum. Inorganic compounds are also
found multitasking as biomolecules: as electrolytes (sodium chloride), in energy
storage (ATP) or in construction (the polyphosphate backbone in DNA).
The first important man-made
inorganic compound was ammonium nitrate for soil fertilization through the Haber
process. Inorganic compounds are synthesized for use as catalysts such as
vanadium (V) oxide and titanium (III) chloride, or as reagents in organic
chemistry such as lithium aluminum hydride. Subdivisions of inorganic chemistry
are organometallic chemistry, cluster chemistry and bioinorganic chemistry.
These fields are active areas of research in inorganic chemistry, aimed toward
new catalysts, superconductors, and therapies. - From Wikipedia
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