What Is Inorganic Chemistry?

Inorganic Chemistry - Sulfuric AcidInorganic chemistry is a broad field that involves compounds without carbon to hydrogen bonds. One of the major aspects of descriptive inorganic chemistry (a subset of inorganic chemistry) is being able to categorize a molecule and determine where the bonds are occurring. This is primarily done through three theories:

  • Molecular orbital theory
  • Hybridization
  • Point group symmetry

Solid state chemistry involves categorizing lattice structures of solids which allow certain differences in properties to be explained when comparing different metals and alloys. When describing a complex, crystal field theory is used to do so. This theory helps explains several characteristics of complexes; most notable are color and magnetic properties.

Inorganic Chemistry - Molecular Orbital DiagramMolecular orbital theory describes the bond between two atoms within a molecule. It shows the overlap of electrons shared by each orbital and can predict properties such as magnetism and bond strength. The basics of molecular orbital theory involve atoms using the s and p orbitals (described below). In a molecular orbital diagram, there are four distinct sets of lines, which each line represents an orbital, that are shown. The very bottom of the diagram is the bonding orbital. On the left and right sides, at approximately midlevel of the diagram, are the sets of orbitals of each molecule contributing electrons to the bond. At the top is the anti-bonding orbitals.

If the diagram is for s orbitals, then there is only one orbital (one line) in each of these sets. If a p orbital is being represented, then there are three orbitals represented. For the bonding and anti-bonding sets in the p orbital diagram, they are drawn in a pair and a single set of lines, forming a sort of triangle in each line. To determine whether the pair is above or below the single line depends on which atoms are forming the bond.