Difference Between Organic Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry

Chemistry Page
3 min readMay 4, 2023

Chemistry, the science that studies the structure and properties of matter and it is divided into two large areas:

> Organic chemistry

> Inorganic chemistry

When we talk about organic chemistry we refer to all those compounds that have carbon and hydrogen bonds. For this reason, organic chemistry is also known as carbon chemistry.

organic and inorganic chemistry

On the other hand, compounds that do not have carbon-hydrogen bonds are included within the branch of inorganic chemistry, which is also known as mineral chemistry.

The difference between organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry manifests itself in the properties of chemical compounds. For starters, the melting and boiling points of organic compounds are lower than inorganic compounds. The former are also usually poorly soluble in water and their molecular structure is more complex.

A little history

The importance of carbon lies in its ability to form bonds with a large number of elements. Originally, carbon-based chemistry was called organic chemistry because it was believed that such chemical compounds could only come from living things. This theory was called vitalism or vital force theory.

However, it was refuted in 1828 thanks to the German chemist Friedrich Wohler, who synthesized urea (an organic compound present in the urine of living beings) from ammonium cyanate (an inorganic compound). With this experiment he demonstrated that carbon compounds could have an inorganic origin.

Organic Chemistry: Examples

As we have commented, to be included within organic chemistry, a compound must have carbon and hydrogen bonds. Carbon has a great capacity to form bonds with a large number of elements and as a consequence, we have a huge variety of chemical compounds within organic chemistry.

Some examples of organic chemistry are proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, lipids, and hydrocarbons. As we have advanced above, organic chemistry studies some of the compounds that are part of living beings but also everyday products such as plastics, synthetic fibers and surfactants.

Due to the wide variety of compounds that carbon is capable of creating, there is great interest in organic chemistry and it is currently evolving at a rapid pace. This branch of science constitutes an enormous source of new materials, which is why research on it is promoted.

Inorganic Chemistry: Examples

Some examples of inorganic chemistry are minerals, water (H2O), salts such as sodium chloride (NaCl) or common salt, sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and many more. As we have mentioned, they are all compounds that do not have carbon-hydrogen bonds.

The applications of inorganic chemistry in industry are wide and it contributes to sectors as different and necessary as agriculture, medicine or materials science.

Organic and inorganic chemicals

As you can see, the difference between organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry lies in the elements that constitute them. It has nothing to do with the origin of the substances, which can be both natural and synthetic in both disciplines.

Despite this, it is still common to associate the products of organic chemistry with what is natural and, in turn, what is natural is associated with the most beneficial. This does not make any scientific sense since the properties of a substance are determined by its molecules, regardless of their origin.

A clear example is vitamin C or ascorbic acid: in an orange, vitamin C is a molecule with the formula C6H8O6 and when it forms part of a food supplement or cosmetic product its formula remains C6H8O6.

Thanks to research and development in chemistry, both organic and inorganic.

Today we have a deep understanding of matter and its properties. This knowledge has contributed to improving people’s quality of life and to developing more efficient industrial processes and everyday products that we could not even imagine before.

For this reason, science and its development must be valued as a whole, without the need to make distinctions between organic or inorganic.

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