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The 9 differences between organic and inorganic compounds

The 9 differences between organic and inorganic compounds

June 17, 2024

Chemistry is the scientific discipline whose object of study is the composition of matter and the reactions that cause their interactions. Although there are very different types of chemistry depending on the object of study of the branch in question, traditionally there has been the distinction between organic and inorganic.

But, What differences are there not between types of chemistry but directly between the types of compounds they study? In this article we analyze the main differences between organic and inorganic compounds.

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The chemical compounds

Before seeing what are the differences between them, we will briefly define each of the concepts.

In the first place, we understand as a chemical compound all that material or product resulting from the interaction and combination of two or more elements. There are many different types of chemical compounds that can be classified according to different criteria, such as the elements that configure it or the way in which its union takes place. Among them one of the most basic divisions occurs between organic and inorganic compounds.

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Organic compounds are all those compounds that are part of living beings or their remains , being based on carbon and its combination with other specific elements.

As far as the inorganic compounds are concerned, it is those that are not part of living organisms , although any element of the periodic table can be found in them (including carbon in some cases). In both cases they are compounds that are present in nature, or synthesizable from it in the laboratory (especially inorganic ones).

Differences between organic and inorganic compounds

Organic matter and inorganic matter have great similarities, but they also have distinctive elements that allow them to be distinguished. Below are some of the main differences.

1. Elements that usually configure each type of compound

One of the differences between organic and inorganic compounds more marked and at the same time easier to understand is the type of elements that are part of them.

In the case of organic compounds, they are based mainly on carbon and its combination with other elements. They are usually formed by carbon and hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and / or phosphorus.

On the other hand the inorganic compounds can be formed by any element of the periodic table, although they will not be based on carbon (although they can contain carbon in some cases, such as carbon monoxide).

2. Type of main link

As a general rule, it is considered that all or almost all organic compounds are formed by the union of atoms through covalent bonds. In inorganic compounds, however, ionic or metallic bonds prevail, although other types of bonds may also appear.

3. Stability

Another difference between organic and inorganic compounds is found in the stability of the compounds. While inorganic compounds tend to be stable and not undergo major modifications unless more or less powerful chemical reactions come into play, organic compounds are easily destabilized and decomposed.

4. Complexity

While it is possible for inorganic compounds to form complex structures, they usually tend to maintain a simple organization. However, organic compounds tend to form long chains of varying complexity.

5. Heat resistance

Another difference between organic and inorganic compounds is found in the amount of heat necessary to produce an alteration such as fusion. Organic compounds are easily affected by temperature, requiring relatively low temperatures to melt them. However, inorganic compounds tend to require a very high level of heat to enter the melting process (for example, water does not boil to one hundred degrees Celsius).

6. Solubility

Dissolving an organic compound is usually very complicated unless a specific solvent (such as alcohol) is available, due to its covalent bonds. However, most inorganic compounds, as the ionic type bonds prevail in them, are easily soluble.

7. Electric conduction

As a general rule, organic compounds tend not to be electrically conductive and insulating, while inorganic components (especially metals) do so with great ease.

8. Isomer

Isomerism refers to the ability of compounds to appear with different chemical structures despite sharing the same composition (for example, a different order in the chain that forms a compound will result in compounds with different characteristics). While it can occur in both organic and inorganic compounds, it is much more prevalent in the former due to its tendency to create chains of linked atoms.

9. Reaction speed

Chemical reactions in inorganic compounds tend to be rapid and do not require the intervention of other elements than the reactants. By contrast, the chemical reactions of the inorganic compounds have a variable speed and may require the presence of external elements to initiate or continue the reaction, for example in the form of energy.

Difference between Organic and Inorganic Compounds (June 2024).

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