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Inorganic Chemistry


Inorganic chemistry is a 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. 

The term inorganic chemistry originally meant nonliving chemistry, and it was that part of chemistry that had arisen from the art and recipes dealing with minerals and ores. The determination of the structures of molecules and extended structures is fundamental to the understanding of inorganic chemistry. The inorganic chemist thus face the problem of ascertaining the structures, properties and reactivity’s of an extraordinary range of materials, with widely differing properties and with exceedingly complicated patterns of structures and reactivity.

What is Inorganic Chemistry?

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Inorganic chemistry definition is given as
"Inorganic chemistry is the study of all chemical compounds except those containing carbon, which is the field of organic chemistry."
Introduction to Inorganic chemistry is very important in industry. Current advances in inorganic chemistry include the discovery of new catalysts, superconductors and drugs to combat disease, green revolution in farming, which allows us to feed the earth’s population, is based on the inorganic chemist's ability to produce fertilizer from cheap raw materials.

Examples of Inorganics include salts, metals, substances made from single elements etc.

1)Table salt or sodium chloride, NaCl
2)Carbon dioxide, CO2

Is Inorganic Chemistry Hard?

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Students usually find it difficult to excel in Inorganic Chemistry because of its theoretical and factual nature. Inorganic chemistry involves acids, bases, salts, elements and the physical state of matter in which they are found. Organic chemistry involves compounds that contain carbon. The definition of matter is anything that occupies space and has mass. Learning this subject will undoubtedly help you in Organic and Physical Chemistry too as many concepts taught here are used in these fields too.

Study the properties of individual elements by comparing with other elements in different groups. This will not only increase your interest in this subject but also help you to build a strong foundation for the topic. Once you have grasped the concept you will be able to write most of the reactions yourself. Always balance your reactions.
Matter can exist in solid, liquid or gaseous forms. Temperature and pressure can affect the physical state of a chemical but not its properties. The hazards presented by a chemical may not be the same, depending on the physical state of the material.

Inorganic Chemistry has applications in each aspect of the chemical substance industry including catalysis, materials science, paints, surfactants, coatings, medicinal drug, fuel, and farming. Their study is based on realizing the behavior and the analogues for inorganic compounds. Toxic metals and metalloids and their compounds are foremost among the inorganic substances of concern.

Inorganic processes such as dissolution and precipitation are used to collect and treat contaminated environmental resources.

Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry

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Inorganic chemistry is a broad and complex field. The underlying principles and theories are normally dealt with at high level in a course that is normally taught at the senior level. Considerable descriptive inorganic chemistry deals with reactions. Although theories of structure and bonding are covered in the advanced level, the concepts are so useful for predicting chemical properties and behavior that they must be included to some extent in the descriptive inorganic chemistry.

Atomic structure, molecular structure, chemical bonding and other principles of inorganic chemistry is necessary for an understanding of the structure and properties of inorganic substances of all classes.

Features of Inorganic Chemistry

1)Inorganic chemistry is a branch of chemistry dealing with compounds lacking carbon.
2)Inorganic substances are not, and never were alive.
3)Metals, minerals, pure water and clean air are examples of inorganic substances.
4)Inorganic substances do not burn.

Examples of Inorganic Chemistry

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Inorganic compounds are used as catalysts, pigments, coatings, surfactants, medicines, fuels, and more. They often have high melting points and specific high or low electrical conductivity properties, which make them useful for specific purposes. 

Example: Ammonia, Chlorine, Titanium dioxide, Calcium chloride, Carbon monoxide, Carbonic acid, Hydrogen chloride, Iodine trichloride, Lithium peroxide, Nitrogen dioxide, Nitrosylsulfuric acid, Ozone, Sulfurous acid, Xenon difluoride, Minerals like gypsum etc.

Crystal Field Theory

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Crystal field theory gives satisfactory explanations of color as well as of structures and magnetic properties for many coordination compounds. In its original form it is assumed that the bonds between ligand and metal were completely ionic.
The periodic table of the elements is a wonderful mnemonic and a tool that serves to organize the whole of chemistry. All of the various periodic tables that have been produced are attempts to depict the periodic system. A periodic table is a tabular arrangement of the chemical elements, organized on the basis of their atomic numbers i.e. the numbers of protons in the nucleus, electron configurations, and recurring chemical properties. There are almost 120 known elements in the periodic table. (117 as we write)
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Atomic structure is the most important and vital aspect of the study of chemistry. Dalton's atomic theory proposed a simple description of matter as composed of atoms. Atomic structure is the positively charged nucleus and the negatively charged electrons circling around it, within an atom.
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The three dimensional arrangement of a molecule containing atoms are called molecular structure. Molecular structure is also called molecular geometry.
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The main group elements and their chemical compounds cover a wide range of bonding types, from ionic through polymeric to molecular. The general features of main group elements are known by using the variation in electronegativity of the elements as a qualitative tool for rationalizing the features.
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An organometallic compound is generally defined as one that possesses a metal carbon bond. Organometallics must be "ionic or covalent, localized or delocalized between one or more carbon atoms of an organic group or molecule and a transition, lanthanide, actinide or main group metal atom."
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Coordination Compound or complex is formed when a ligand is attached to an acceptor by means of a lone pair of electrons. Coordination compounds contain complex ions or molecules.
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Formation of bonds to transition metals and inner transition metals has occupied a prominent place in inorganic chemistry. The inner transition metals are more limited in metal-metal bond formation.
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In the last decade of the twentieth century, research into solid state chemistry expanded very rapidly. To understand the solid state we need to have some insight into the structure of simple crystals and the forces that hold them together.
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Almost all inorganic compounds and many organic compounds can be classified as acids, bases or salts. Acids, bases and salts are vitally involved with life processes, agriculture, industry and the environment.
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The structure of atoms is described successfully by the theory of quantum mechanics, and there is no doubt that in order to understand atomic structure one has to learn quantum mechanics.
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Solutions are prepared for various reasons. For instance most chemical reactions are run in solution. Also solutions have particular properties that are useful.
Molecular geometry describes the arrangement in space of the central atom. The bond angles for molecules in molecular geometry are predicted by VSPER model. Molecular geometry is a three dimensional geometry of molecules and ions.
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Born Haber Cycle

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A Born Haber cycle is a thermo-chemical cycle that includes all the enthalpy changes involved in the formation of an ionic compound. It is an approach to analyze reaction energies. The cycle is concerned with the formation of an ionic compound from the reaction of a metal with a halogen.

Writing Chemical Equations

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A chemical equation is the symbolic representation of a chemical reaction in terms of chemical formulas.

Types of Chemical Reactions

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Chemical reactions are grouped in categories. The reactions most often encountered in general chemistry experiments fall into two categories.
  1. Oxidation-reduction reactions
  2. Metathesis or double displacement reactions

Acid Base Equilibrium

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An acid base reaction occurs so rapidly that its equilibrium is affected only by the relative energies of the reactants and products. By taking specific example we can predict in which direction the acid base equilibrium lies.

Molecular Equation

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Molecular Equation is a complete balanced chemical equation in which the equation is expressed in molecules instead of ionic components.
Limiting reactant must be used as the basis for calculating the maximum possible amount of product because the limiting reactant limits amount of products that can be formed. The moles of products formed are always determined by the starting number of moles of the limiting reactant.
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Equations that excludes "spectator ions" that is which take no part in the reaction are refers to as net ionic equations. They have a much wider applications.
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The chemical reaction in which a solid forms from solution is a precipitation reaction ans the solid is called a precipitate. In a precipitation reaction ions in solution combine to form a solid salt.
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VSEPR Theory

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VSEPR theory is also called valence shell electron pair repulsion theory. This is used to predict the shapes of the molecules.

Inorganic Chemistry Problems

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Example problems based on inorganic chemistry concepts are given below.

Solved Examples

Question 1: Using nitric acid how will we obtain the following in one step.
  1. Hydrogen
  2. 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: Write equations for the action of strong heat on borax and green vitriol.
  • Na2B4O7.10H2O(Borax) $\xrightarrow[-10H_{2}O]{Heat}$ Na2B4O7 $\rightarrow$ 2NaBO2 + B2O3
  • FeSO4.7H2O (Green vitriol) $\rightarrow$ FeSO4 + 7H2O
  • 2FeSO4 $\rightarrow$ Fe2O3 + SO2 + SO3