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Inorganic Chemistry

Inorganic chemistry is the branch of chemistry which analyses the deduction and behavior of inorganic and organic metallic chemical compounds. Inorganic chemistry is concerned with the properties and reactivity of all chemical elements. Descriptive inorganic chemistry focuses on the classification of compounds based on their properties it refers to materials not containing carbon-hydrogen bonds. Examples of Inorganics include salts, metals, substances made from single elements etc.
1) Table salt or sodium chloride, NaCl
2) Carbon dioxide, CO2

It has applications in each aspect of the chemical substance industry including catalysis, materials science, paints, surfactants, coatings, medicinal drug, fuel, and farming. Inorganic chemists are working in various disciplines such as mining and microchip industries, ecology, and education. Their study is based on realizing the behavior and the analogues for inorganic compounds.

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What is Inorganic Chemistry?

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Inorganic Chemistry Definition
"A branch of chemistry which deals with the study of elements in the periodic table, their physical and chemical properties, their occurrence in the earth’s crust etc. is called as Inorganic Chemistry. Inorganic Chemistry deals with all topics except a part of carbon chemistry, which is dealt with under organic chemistry."

The three branches of chemistry, physical, organic and inorganic are not completely demarcated. One branch of chemistry overflows into the other, thereby, interlinking all of them.

Advanced Inorganic Chemistry

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Apart from the above mentioned common topics studied under inorganic chemistry, the new and advanced inorganic chemistry deals with a lot more topics. Advanced inorganic chemistry is related to topics from biology, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, etc.
1) Chemistry of alloys, clathrates, isopolyacids and heteropolyacids, etc. is studied under advanced inorganic chemistry.
2) Fuels and furnaces: This topic in inorganic chemistry studies the types of fuel available, both natural and artificial, their chemical and physical properties, essential requirements of a fuel etc. The use of fuels in furnaces, types of furnaces etc. are also dealt with under this topic. This topic provides a link to the engineering chemistry and applied chemistry.
3) Spectroscopy: This topic is widely learned in physical, organic and inorganic chemistry too. Though it’s a part of analytical chemistry, spectroscopy and different topics related to it are learned as advanced inorganic chemistry too.
4) Organometallic compounds: The term organometallic is usually restricted to those compounds which have a metal atom (including non-metallic elements like Boron, silicon, phosphorus, arsenic, etc.), which are less electronegative than carbon, and is bonded directly to a carbon atom of at least one organic group radical or molecule. Organometallic compounds are studied under advanced inorganic chemistry and it forms a link to coordination chemistry, chemical bonding, etc.

5) Inorganic Polymers: Polymers are usually studied widely under organic chemistry. But there are certain polymers, called ‘Inorganic polymers’. All macromolecules which are not having carbon in their backbone are called inorganic polymers. Molecules like silica, graphite, and many other covalently bonded crystals like halides and oxides come under this topic, so study of inorganic polymers is taken care of under advanced inorganic chemistry.
6) Study of lanthanides and actinides: The ‘ f ’ block in the periodic table is complicated because of its incomplete nature. This is usually dealt with under advanced inorganic chemistry.
7) Corrosion and passivity: This topic is again a link between inorganic and applied or engineering chemistry, and is dealt with under advanced inorganic chemistry.
8) There are many metals, which find their way into the biological systems. They are Sodium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium etc. The topic inorganic element in biological systems bridges the gap between inorganic chemistry and biology. It is the latest inclusion under advanced inorganic chemistry. It studies real life complexes like hemoglobin, chlorophyll, etc.
9) Thus, inorganic chemistry deals with a lot of topics and is interlinked to biology, other parts of chemistry and engineering.

Inorganic Chemistry Topics

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The topics usually included are:

Atomic Structure

The history of atomic structure is studied under inorganic chemistry. Though atomic structure is studied under physical chemistry too, in inorganic chemistry, the structure of atom, atomic mass, number, electronic configuration, etc are learned.

Study of Periodic Table

Inorganic Chemistry Examples in periodic table exclusively deals with the aspects of the periodic table like arrangement of elements, the concept of periods and groups, how properties of elements differ with their position in the periodic table, periodic properties of elements in a particular period and group etc.

Study of Individual Group Elements and Block Elements

Each group contains some elements whose properties are similar to each other. Similarly, each block contains elements which have similar electronic configuration. All these things are studied under inorganic chemistry, as separate topics. The blocks s, p, d and f are usually studied separately and then the groups under these blocks, the elements in them, etc are studied separately.

Ores and Alloys

When studying the individual groups, usually, the ores from which the group elements are extracted, alloys (combination of two or more metals) formed from these elements etc are studied under inorganic chemistry.

Chemical Bonding

Since elements exhibit different types of chemical bonding to form a compound, elements are studied under inorganic chemistry; the chemical bonding is also a very important topic studied under Inorganic chemistry. Though some part of chemical bonding is also studied under physical chemistry, main idea about it and the reason behind an element forming a particular bond is obtained from Inorganic chemistry.

Concept of Acids and Bases

A chemical substance can be acidic or basic. It is very important to study the property of acids and bases to understand why a particular compound behaves as an acid or a base. The concept of acids and bases, the theories that explain the behavior of acids and bases etc are studied under Inorganic chemistry.

Coordination Chemistry

This part of Inorganic chemistry deals with the study of complexes. The coordination complexes are very important in day to day life. So, studying them is necessary to understand them better. The ligand attached to it, is important, and the geometry of the complexes are studied under inorganic chemistry.

Nuclear and Radioactivity

The phenomenon of radioactivity is studied both under physical and inorganic chemistry. Though physical chemistry studies the theories related to radioactivity, Inorganic chemistry deals with reactions based on radioactivity, nuclear reactions, etc. Radioactivity here helps us understand the formation of new daughter nuclei from a parent nuclei, isotopes, etc.

Types of Chemical Reactions

There are many types of chemical reactions such as decomposition, combustion, acid- base reaction, etc. All these are studied under chemical reactions. It also deals with a very important type of reaction, called redox reaction, or reduction and oxidation reaction. Balancing a chemical reaction and a redox reaction is a topic in itself. Balancing of a redox reaction is more difficult and complicated than balancing a normal chemical reaction. These are studied thoroughly under inorganic chemistry.

Individual compounds like inter halogen compounds, silicates, phosphazenes, carbides, hydride, halides, chelates, etc are studied under separate topics usually in inorganic chemistry.

Periodic table is the most important tool box for chemists. It helps us to bring an order into inorganic chemistry. Periodic table is considered as center of study of inorganic chemistry. It systematizes and rationalizes the chemical facts and helps in predicting new ones. It suggests fruitful areas for further research.

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Extraction of Metals from its Ores and Purification

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The extraction of metals from its ores involves a series of steps. First, the ore should be crushed and ground and then it should be concentrated by using specific methods based on the nature of the ore. The next step is roasting and calcination. Then, it is reduced by using chemical or electrolytic method. Once refining is done, pure metal is obtained.

Transition Metal Chemistry

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Transition metal chemistry depends on all views of each and every preparation of transition metal-based chemical compounds of most forms. Analyzes structural, physical, kinetic and biologic attributes. Recapitulations are utilized in chemical substance deduction and also practicals application.

Metal Ions Present in Biology

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Bio metals offer a forum for innovative research and clinical results on the structure and function of metal ions, metal chelates, metal containing proteins, bio minerals and bio systems etc.

Catalysis is the process of increasing the rate of the reaction by adding a specific substance called catalyst. Catalyst is not consumed in the reaction; instead it takes part in a chemical reaction and separates automatically once the reaction gets over.

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Organometallic Chemistry

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Organometallic chemistry unites the view of inorganic chemistry plus organic chemistry. Organometallic chemistry is the analysis of chemical compound holding chemicals bond between carbon and a metallic element.

Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry

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Concepts and models of inorganic chemistry is neither an encyclopedia of descriptive inorganic chemistry nor a textbook of structural inorganic chemistry. Instead information regarding chemical reactions is presented within a framework of concepts and models that help students to organize and retrieve chemical knowledge.

Organic vs Inorganic Chemistry

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Inorganic chemistry embraces all of the elements. Inorganic chemistry is not only concerned with molecular substances similar to those encountered in organic chemistry but is also concerned with the wider varieties of substance that include atomic gases, solid that are non-molecular extended arrays, air sensitive compounds that are soluble in water and other polar solvents as well as those that are soluble in non-polar solvents. In short, inorganic chemistry encompasses a greater variety of substance than the organic chemistry.

Inorganic Chemistry Problems

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Some of the inorganic chemistry practice problems are given below.

Solved Examples

Question 1: Using nitric acid how the following compounds are obtained in one step.
  • Hydrogen
  • Phosphoric acid
Stating the conditions of the reaction give balanced chemical equations.

  1. Mg + 2HNO3 (very dilute) $\rightarrow$ Mg(NO3)2 + H2
  2. P4 (red phosphorus) + 20HNO3 (conc) $\overset{heat}{\rightarrow}$ 4H3PO4 (phosphoric acid) + 20NO2 + 4H2O


Question 2: Which of the following metals cal be obtained by the electrolytic reduction of aqueous solution of their salts.
Al, Na, Cu and Ag?

  • Copper and silver metals can be obtained from the electrolysis of their aqueous solutions because copper and silver have higher reduction potentials than water.
  • Aluminum and sodium have lower reduction potentials than water and are therefore not discharged at the cathode.
  • Instead hydrogen gas is evolved.


More topics in Inorganic Chemistry
Structure of an Atom Periodic Table
Atomic Structure Molecular Structure
Main Group Elements Organometallics
Coordination Compound Inner Transition Metals
Solid State Acids Bases and Salts
Solutions Molecular Geometry
Born Haber Cycle Writing Chemical Equations
Types of Chemical Reactions Acid Base Equilibrium
Molecular Equation Limiting Reactant
Net Ionic Equation Precipitation Reaction
VSEPR Theory Crystal Field Theory
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