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In
chemistry Chemistry is the scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the elements that make up matter to the compounds made of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties ...
, an inorganic compound is typically a
chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) containing atoms from more than one chemical element held together by chemical bonds. A homonuclear molecule, molecule co ...
that lacks carbon–hydrogen bonds, that is, a compound that is not an
organic compound In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen or carbon-carbon chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Catenation, catenate (form chains with other carbon atoms), millions of organic c ...
. The study of inorganic compounds is a subfield of chemistry known as ''
inorganic chemistry Inorganic chemistry deals with chemical synthesis, synthesis and behavior of inorganic compound, inorganic and organometallic chemistry, organometallic compounds. This field covers chemical compounds that are not carbon-based, which are the subj ...
''. Inorganic compounds comprise most of the
Earth's crust Earth's crust is Earth's thin outer shell of Rock (geology), rock, referring to less than 1% of Earth's radius and volume. It is the top component of the lithosphere, a division of Earth's layers that includes the Crust (geology), crust and the ...
, although the compositions of the deep mantle remain active areas of investigation. Some simple
carbon Carbon () is a chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol C and atomic number 6. It is nonmetallic and tetravalence, tetravalent—its atom making four electrons available to form covalent bond, covalent chemical bonds. It belongs to gro ...
compounds are often considered inorganic. Examples include the allotropes of carbon (
graphite Graphite () is a crystalline A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituents (such as atoms, molecules, or ions) are arranged in a highly ordered microscopic structure, forming a crystal lattice that extends in al ...
,
diamond Diamond is a solid form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal structure In crystallography, crystal structure is a description of the ordered arrangement of atoms, ions or molecules in a crystal, crystalline material ...
,
buckminsterfullerene Buckminsterfullerene is a type of fullerene with the formula C60. It has a cage-like fused-ring structure (truncated icosahedron) made of twenty hexagons and twelve pentagons, and resembles a soccer ball. Each of its 60 carbon atoms is Chemical ...
, etc.),
carbon monoxide Carbon monoxide (chemical formula CO) is a colorless, poisonous, odorless, tasteless, flammable gas that is slightly less dense than air. Carbon monoxide consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom connected by a triple bond. It is the simple ...
,
carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide ( chemical formula ) is a chemical compound made up of molecules that each have one carbon Carbon () is a chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol C and atomic number 6. It is nonmetallic and tetravalence, tetraval ...
,
carbide In chemistry, a carbide usually describes a binary phase, compound composed of carbon and a metal. In metallurgy, carbiding or carburizing is the process for producing carbide coatings on a metal piece. Interstitial / Metallic carbides The ca ...
s, and the following salts of inorganic
anion An ion () is an atom or molecule with a net electric charge, electrical charge. The charge of an electron is considered to be negative by convention and this charge is equal and opposite to the charge of a proton, which is considered to be po ...
s:
carbonate A carbonate is a salt (chemistry), salt of carbonic acid (H2CO3), characterized by the presence of the carbonate ion, a polyatomic ion with the formula . The word ''carbonate'' may also refer to a carbonate ester, an organic compound containin ...
s,
cyanide Cyanide is a naturally occurring, rapidly acting, toxic chemical that can exist in many different forms. In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers th ...
s, cyanates, and
thiocyanate Thiocyanate (also known as rhodanide) is the anion . It is the conjugate base of thiocyanic acid. Common derivatives include the colourless salts potassium thiocyanate and sodium thiocyanate. Mercury(II) thiocyanate was formerly used in pyrot ...
s. Many of these are normal parts of mostly organic systems, including
organism In biology, an organism () is any life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by taxonomy (biology), taxonomy into groups such as Multicellular o ...
s; describing a chemical as inorganic does not necessarily mean that it does not occur within living things.


History

Friedrich Wöhler's conversion of ammonium cyanate into
urea Urea, also known as carbamide, is an organic compound with chemical formula . This amide has two Amine, amino groups (–) joined by a carbonyl functional group (–C(=O)–). It is thus the simplest amide of carbamic acid. Urea serves an impor ...
in 1828 is often cited as the starting point of modern
organic chemistry Organic chemistry is a subdiscipline within chemistry involving the science, scientific study of the structure, properties, and reactions of organic compounds and organic materials, i.e., matter in its various forms that contain carbon atoms.Clay ...
. In Wöhler's era, there was widespread belief that
organic compound In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen or carbon-carbon chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Catenation, catenate (form chains with other carbon atoms), millions of organic c ...
s were characterized by a vital spirit. In the absence of vitalism, the distinction between inorganic and organic chemistry is merely semantic.


Modern usage

*The
Inorganic Crystal Structure Database Inorganic Crystal Structure Database (ICSD) is a chemical database founded in 1978 by Günter Bergerhoff (University of Bonn) and I. D. Brown (University of McMaster, Canada). It is now produced by FIZ Karlsruhe in Europe and the U.S. National Inst ...
(ICSD) in its definition of "inorganic" carbon compounds, states that such compounds may contain ''either'' C-H or C-C bonds, but not both. *The book series ''
Inorganic Syntheses ''Inorganic Syntheses'' is a book series which aims to publish "detailed and foolproof" procedures for the synthesis of inorganic compounds.IUPAC The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC ) is an international federation of National Adhering Organizations working for the advancement of the chemical sciences, especially by developing nomenclature and terminology. It is ...
does not offer a definition of "inorganic" or "inorganic compound" but does define
inorganic polymer An inorganic polymer is a polymer with a skeletal structure that does not include carbon atoms in the backbone. Polymers containing inorganic and organic components are sometimes called hybrid polymers, and most so-called inorganic polymers are hy ...
as "...skeletal structure that does not include carbon atoms."


See also

* Inorganic compounds by element * List of inorganic compounds * List of named inorganic compounds *
Mineral acid A mineral acid (or inorganic acid) is an acid derived from one or more inorganic chemistry, inorganic compounds, as opposed to organic acids which are acidic, organic compounds. All mineral acids form Hydrogen ion, hydrogen ions and the conjugate ...


References

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