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What is inorganic chemistry?

As the name suggests, inorganic chemistry is the branch of chemistry that specializes in inorganic elements and compounds. It is the counterpart of organic chemistry

What are inorganic compounds?

They are compounds that do not have carbon-hydrogen bonds. In nature, inorganic compounds occur as minerals; they can even be found in pure form. Inorganic compounds exist in less quantity and variety than organic ones.  Like organic compounds, they can be made synthetically.

What is the difference between organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry?

Both branches of chemistry study chemical and molecular bonds, but organic chemistry looks at compounds based on carbon and hydrogen, while inorganic chemistry covers all other chemical elements.

There is a branch of chemistry where the organic and inorganic areas overlap: organometallic chemistry, which studies chemical compounds that possess at least one bond between an organic carbon atom and a metal atom.

How are inorganic compounds classified?

Binary compounds

  • Metal oxides: also called basic oxides, these are made up of a metallic element plus oxygen.
  • Anhydrides: also called non-metallic oxides or acidic oxides, they are composed of a non-metallic element and oxygen.
  • Peroxides: these are made up of certain metals plus binary combinations of oxygen (peroxide ion).
  • Hydrides: also called metal hydrides, these are made up of a metallic element and hydrogen.
  • Volatile hydrides: they are made up of hydrogen plus one of the following elements: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), arsenic (As), antimony (Sb), carbon (C), silicon (Si), and boron (B).
  • Hydracids: also known as non-metallic hydrides or hydroacidic acids, they are binary combinations between hydrogen, along with the halogens fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), and iodine (I) — excepting astatine (At)— with the amphigenes sulfur (S), selenium (Se) and tellurium (Te) — excepting oxygen (O).
  • Binary salts: these are the combination of any two elements besides hydrogen and oxygen.
    • Neutral salts: these result from the union of a metallic and a non-metallic element.
    • Volatile salts: these result from the union of two non-metallic elements.

Ternary compounds

  • Hydroxides: although their formulation and nomenclature are the same as that of the binary elements, they are ternary ionic compounds made up of a metal and an element from the hydroxy group.
  • Oxoacids: these are made up of hydrogen, a non-metal, and oxygen. Sometimes, they may contain a metallic element that acts as a non-metallic one in a high oxidation state.
  • Oxysales: also known as ternary salts, these are made up of a metal, a non-metal, and oxygen.

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