All organic compounds contain long chains of carbon atoms. Generally, organic chemistry involves carbon-based molecules, while inorganic chemistry is the study of non-carbon containing molecules. However, not all compounds containing carbon are organic.Continue Reading
When early chemists started studying living organisms, they found that nearly all of the structures and substances present were based on carbon atoms. They called such molecules organic because they thought that only living things could create them. These chemists suspected that living things injected something called a life force into such molecules. This line of thought was soon discarded. Modern chemists understand that there's little fundamental difference between organic and inorganic molecules.
Some examples of organic chemicals are methane, ethane, butane and pyruvic acid. Carbon is involved in so many molecules because it's a flexible atom that can bond with up to four other atoms. This makes it possible to build long, complex molecules from carbon atoms.
Living organisms must use inorganic molecules to live. One important inorganic compound all life requires is water. Water is made of two hydrogen atoms, one oxygen atom, and no carbon atom chain, so it's inorganic. Carbon dioxide, which contains one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms, is not organic because it doesn't have a long carbon chain.Learn more about Organic Chemistry
Ionic compounds form when electrons from an electropositive metal are transferred to an electronegative nonmetal to complete the outer shells of both atoms, forming positive and negative ions that are electrostatically attracted to one another. The attraction between the two ions results in an ionic bond.Full Answer >
One of the main chemical properties of carbon is that it can easily bond with other elements in long chains. This the main reason is why carbon the basis for life on Earth.Full Answer >
Combining hydrogen and carbon produces a group of organic compounds called hydrocarbons. Depending on the specific molecular formula, there can be many different types of hydrocarbons, such as the fuels propane and octane. The simplest hydrocarbon is methane, which has the chemical formula CH4.Full Answer >
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.Full Answer >