Inorganic Compounds Examples
An inorganic compound is any compound that lacks a carbon atom, for lack of a more in-depth definition. Those compounds with a carbon atom are called organic compounds, due to their root base in an atom that is vital for life. There are a small number of inorganic compounds that actually do contain carbon, given its propensity for forming molecular bonds; these include carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, to name a few.
Inorganic compounds are often quite simple, as they do not form the complex molecular bonds that carbon makes possible. A common example of a simple inorganic compound would be sodium chloride, known more commonly as household salt. This compound contains only two atoms, sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl).
1. H2O - Water is a simple inorganic compound, even though it contains hydrogen, a key atom (along with carbon) in many organic compounds. The atoms in a molecule of water have formed very simple bonds due to this lack of carbon.
2. HCl - Hydrochloride, also known as hydrochloric acid when it is dissolved in water, is a colorless, corrosive acid with a fairly strong pH. It is found in the gastric juices of many animals, helping in digestion by breaking down food.
3. CO2 - Carbon dioxide, despite the presence of a carbon atom in the formula, is classified as an inorganic compound. This has caused a dispute within the scientific community, with questions being raised as to the validity of our current methods of classifying compounds. Currently, organic compounds contain a carbon or a hydrocarbon, which forms a stronger bond. The bond formed by carbon in CO2 is not a strong bond.
4. NO2 - Nitrogen dioxide gas presents a variety of colors at different temperatures. It is often produced in atmospheric nuclear tests, and is responsible for the tell-tale reddish color displayed in mushroom clouds. It is highly toxic, and forms fairly weak bonds between the nitrogen and oxygen atoms.
5. Fe2O3 - Iron (III) oxide is one of the three main oxides of iron, and is an inorganic compound due to the lack of a carbon atom or a hydrocarbon. Iron (III) oxide occurs naturally as hematite, and is the source of most iron for the steel production industry. It is commonly known as rust, and shares a number of characteristics with its naturally occurring counterpart.