Inorganic chemistry works in tandem with many other branches of chemistry, providing practical solutions to various issues we encounter in life. Besides, it would be hardly possible to understand other scientific principles without inorganic chemistry. The reason for this is that every single branch of chemistry overlaps with inorganic chemistry at some point. If its significance is still not clear enough, here are ten reasons why inorganic chemistry is so important:
#1. Inorganic Chemistry Studies Inorganic Molecules and Compounds
Inorganic molecules are defined as molecules lacking carbon-hydrogen bonds. In other words, molecules that are not organic are considered inorganic. Just as simple as that! On the other hand, inorganic compounds are those consisting of inorganic molecules. While you may not even notice, inorganic compounds are everywhere. Whether you are cooking dinner or doing laundry, you are encountering plenty of inorganic chemicals, such as baking soda, table salt, food colorings, or bleaching agents. Without inorganic chemistry, we would not have been able to use these compounds as effectively as we do today.
#2. Inorganic Chemistry Studies Metals and Nonmetals
Along with studying inorganic compounds, inorganic chemistry explores metals and nonmetals specifically. Without inorganic chemistry, it would have been impossible to use metals or nonmetals in various aspects of our lives. For instance, metals are widely used for making machinery, industrial gadgets, kitchen utensils, jewelry, coins, electrical wires, and musical instruments. On the other hand, nonmetals are used as water-purifying agents, insecticides, and fumigants. Nonmetals are also widely used in the manufacturing process of rubber tires, fireworks, and matches.
#3. Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry Deals with the Synthesis of Inorganic and Organometallic Compounds
Inorganic chemistry is essential for understanding how inorganic compounds are synthesized. Inorganic synthesis uses various redox reactions for synthesizing inorganic compounds, such as sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, and many more. Besides, scientists sometimes use an electrochemical cell to synthesize inorganic compounds while improving selectivity and yield. Although organometallic compounds are clearly organic, synthetic inorganic chemistry is still essential for understanding the reaction mechanisms and synthesizing them in labs.
#4. Inorganic Chemistry Is Fundamental to Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis
While qualitative and quantitative experiments are performed by analytical chemists, inorganic chemistry plays a crucial role in determining the composition of a given sample or the concentration of an analyte in a sample. This is because many compounds used during the process are inorganic. You may need to make aqueous solutions of inorganic compounds. Or you may even need to determine how much of an inorganic compound is present in a given sample.
#5. Inorganic Chemistry Is Involved in the Production of Medicines
Inorganic compounds are commonly used as drugs or diagnostic agents. Medicinal uses of inorganic compounds make inorganic chemistry even more critical. Some of the most common inorganic pharmaceuticals include silver sulphadiazine (antibacterial), aluminum and magnesium hydroxides (antacids), barium sulfate (X-ray contrast), iodine (antiseptic), zinc oxide (skin ointment), magnesium oxide (antacid, laxative), and lithium carbonate (bipolar disorder).
#6. Inorganic Compounds Are Commonly Used in Fertilizers
Inorganic chemistry allows scientists to produce commercial fertilizers containing various inorganic compounds. If you are looking for a fast way to provide your plants with nutrients, you should definitely consider using inorganic fertilizers. Typically, commercial fertilizers are classified into different categories based on their composition. Some of the most common inorganic compounds found in commercial fertilizers are ammonia, nitrates, orthophosphates, potassium, sulfur, calcium, and magnesium.
#7. Inorganic Chemistry Is Important for Agricultural Pest Control
Inorganic chemistry also plays a key role in the production of agricultural pesticides. Some of the most widespread inorganic pesticides contain sulfates, arsenates, and chlorides. Lead and copper are also commonly used as pesticide ingredients. In addition, some metals (silver and copper) and metal oxides (silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and aluminum oxide) are used for the production of inorganic nanopesticides. Since these inorganic compounds offer high effectiveness against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and insects, they are widely used in the agricultural industry.
#8. Inorganic Chemistry Is Essential for Producing Paints and Coatings
Inorganic chemistry facilitates the production of various paints and coatings. While organic compounds are also present in paints, the pigments are often inorganic. Most of the time, inorganic pigments are based on oxides, hydroxides, sulfides, silicates, sulfates, or carbonates. In some cases, simple metal oxides act as excellent pigments for industrial paints and coatings. Since inorganic chemistry allows pigment formulators to modify inorganic compound content and composition, inorganic colored pigments are pretty versatile and stable.
#9. Inorganic Chemistry Is Key to Understanding Biochemistry
As mentioned earlier, inorganic chemistry works in tandem with many other branches of chemistry and biochemistry is one of them. Without inorganic chemistry, scientists would never be able to understand how vital processes in living beings work. Knowledge of inorganic chemistry helps biochemists explore reaction mechanisms involved in metabolism. Inorganic chemistry also explains the role of metals in biological systems and studies the reactivity of different elements that we usually take as food supplements.
#10. Inorganic Chemistry Plays a Crucial Role in Organic Synthesis
Organic synthesis allows scientists to produce various organic compounds efficiently. While organic synthesis provides essential organic chemicals, such as drugs, the overall process usually involves the use of inorganic compounds as well. For instance, metal or metal oxide catalysts are widely used in organic synthesis reactions. Besides, activated carbon is used to remove impurities from crude organic reaction products. Moreover, aqueous solutions of inorganic compounds may also be used during the filtration of newly-synthesized organic compounds.