Salts and Inorganics

Inorganics are elements and compounds, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonates, cyanides, cyanates, and carbides, that do not contain a carbon-hydrogen bond. This group also includes carbon allotropes such as graphite and graphene.

Because organic chemicals include only those that contain carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms, the majority of elements in the periodic table and most substances in the material world are inorganic chemicals.

In addition to precious metals, examples of common everyday inorganic compounds include water, sodium chloride (salt), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), calcium carbonate (dietary calcium source), and muriatic acid (industrial-grade hydrochloric acid).

Inorganic compounds typically have high melting points and variable degrees of electrical conductivity. These properties make them useful in a wide range of applications:

  • As a nitrogen source in fertilizers
  • As catalysts in the production of plastics, fibers, and, polyurethanes
  • In jet and rocket fuels and explosives
  • As reagents in polymers like polyvinyl chloride and agrochemicals such as pesticides and soil treatments
  • In pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • As chemicals for water treatment and sterilization
  • As pigments in paints, paper, ink, plastics, fibers, food, cosmetic, and other products

Inorganic compounds can be classified based on their components, and the bonds between them may be ionic or molecular.

Binary ionic compounds are among the simplest inorganic compounds. These include salts comprising related numbers of positive ions or cations and negative ions or anions so that the final compound is electrically neutral.

Inorganic compounds are named after the parent element of the cation, followed by the root of the anion element and the suffix “–ide.”

Examples of these salts include sodium chloride (NaCl), potassium bromide (KBr), calcium chloride (CaCl2), and magnesium bromide (MgBr2).



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