Q:

What are examples of inorganic substances?

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Quick Answer

Examples of inorganic substances include all metals, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, chlorine, salt, minerals such as gypsum and generally all compounds that do not contain carbon-hydrogen bonds. By definition, an inorganic substance is a substance that does not contain carbon.

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Inorganic substances are often compared with organic substances. Unlike inorganic substances, organic substances contain carbon bonds. If a substance is not organic, it is considered inorganic.

Both inorganic and organic substances have differing properties and uses. Inorganic substances in most cases have high melting points and particular high or low electrical conductivity properties, they do not burn, they are not and never were living, and they are not produced by growth. Inorganic substances are used in many applications and in various fields such as medicine. Often, they are used as coatings, catalysts, medicines, pigments and fuels.

While inorganic substances do not contain carbon, some compounds that contain carbon are traditionally deemed as inorganic such as carbonates, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. In inorganic chemistry, many living species are not intrinsically compounds, but ions such as proteins. Other types of ions that are essential for life include phosphate, chloride and sodium ions. Some inorganic molecules are also essential for life, such as water, oxygen and carbon dioxide.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the difference between organic and inorganic compounds?

    A:

    The distinction between the two terms is primarily that organic compounds contain carbon, while almost all inorganic compounds do not. There are, however, some inorganic compounds that still contain carbon, such as carbon dioxide. Almost all organic compounds contain carbon-hydrogen bonds, and, as of 2014, some scientists have recommended that this requirement be included in the definition of organic compounds.

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  • Q:

    What are the properties of organic and inorganic compounds?

    A:

    Inorganic compounds form ionic bonds, have high melting points and are made from either single elements or compounds that do not include carbon and hydrogen. In solutions, they break down into ions that conduct electricity. Organic compounds have a carbon-based structure with covalent bonding and are often volatile in nature. Even in liquid state, they do not conduct electricity unless they are salts formed with inorganic acids and bases.

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  • Q:

    What is the difference between organic and inorganic acids?

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    An organic acid is an organic substance that has the properties of an acid, while inorganic acids, also known as mineral acids, come from inorganic substances. Some examples of inorganic acids include suphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, boric acid and hydrofluoric acid.

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  • Q:

    What are characteristics of the carbon family?

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    Carbon can exist in several forms, including graphite, one of the softest naturally occurring substances, and diamond, one of the hardest naturally occurring substances. Carbon has the highest melting point of all the elements and, in the diamond form, has the highest thermal conductivity of any element.

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