Inorganic Chemistry (3rd Edition)
If organic chemistry is defined as the chemistry of hydrocarbon compounds and their WHAT IS derivatives, inorganic chemistry can be described broadly as the chemistry of “every- 1 NORCAN lC thing else.” This includes all the remaining elements in the periodic table, as well as car- CHEMISTRY? bon, which plays a major role in many inorganic compounds. Organometallic chemistry, a very large and rapidly growing field, bridges both areas by considering compounds containing direct metal-carbon bonds, and includes catalysis of many organic reactions. Bioinorganic chemistry bridges biochemistry and inorganic chemistry, and environmental chemistry includes the study of both inorganic and organic compounds. As can be imagined, the inorganic realm is extremely broad, providing essentially limitless areas for investigation.
1-2 Some comparisons between organic and inorganic compounds are in order. In both CONTRASTS areas, single, double, and triple covalent bonds are found, as shown in Figure 1-1; for WITH ORGANIC inorganic compounds, these include direct metal-metal bonds and metal-carbon bonds. CHEMISTRY However, although the maximum number of bonds between two carbon atoms is three, there are many compounds containing quadruple bonds between metal atoms. In addition to the sigma and pi bonds common in organic chemistry, quadruply bonded metal atoms contain a delta (6) bond (Figure 1-2); a combination of one sigma bond, two pi bonds, and one delta bond makes up the quadruple bond. The delta bond is possible in these cases because metal atoms have d orbitals to use in bonding, whereas carbon has only s and p orbitals available. In organic compounds, hydrogen is nearly always bonded to a single carbon. In inorganic compounds, especially of the Group 13 (IIIA) elements, hydrogen is frequently encountered as a bridging atom between two or more other atoms. Bridging hydrogen atoms can also occur in metal cluster compounds. In these clusters, hydrogen atoms form bridges across edges or faces of polyhedra of metal atoms. Alkyl groups may also act as bridges in inorganic compounds, a function rarely encountered in organic chemistry (except in reaction intermediates).
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