Questions tagged [inorganic-chemistry]

Inorganic compounds generally do not have C-H bonds, while organic compounds do have such bonds. The distinction between inorganic and organic chemistry, however, is far from absolute.

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Why is gold golden?

Bulk gold has a very characteristic warm yellow shine to it, whereas almost all other metals have a grey or silvery color. Where does this come from? I have heard that this property arises from ...
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Do all salts taste salty?

Recently, I am learning the production of soluble and insoluble salts. My friend and I have done this experiment at the school lab. We wanted to taste them to see whether they are salty are not. The ...
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Why do compounds like SF6 and SF4 exist but SH6 and SH4 don't?

Both $\ce{SF6}$ and $\ce{SH6}$ and $\ce{SF4}$ and $\ce{SH4}$ have the same central atom and the same hybridization, but my teacher specifically mentioned that $\ce{SH6}$ and $\ce{SH4}$ don't exist. I'...
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Why do we write NH3?

We've learnt that the electropositive element is written first. Then why is ammonia written as $\ce{NH3}$ ?
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Is carbon dioxide organic or inorganic?

Today in chemistry class we were discussing Organic Chemistry. We discussed what organic compounds basically are and then I asked the teacher whether $\ce{CO_2}$ is organic or not. She told that it is ...
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Why is an S-S bond stronger than an O-O bond?

I'm wondering why exactly the single bond between two sulfur atoms is stronger than that of two oxygen atoms. According to this page, an $\ce{O-O}$ bond has an enthalpy of $142~\mathrm{kJ~mol^{-1}}$, ...
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Why does sulfur, but not oxygen, catenate?

Oxygen is a rather boring element. It has only two allotropes, dioxygen and ozone. Dioxygen has a double bond, and ozone has a delocalised cloud, giving rise to two "1.5 bonds". On the other hand, ...
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Does heavy water taste sweet?

In this YouTube video from Cody's Lab, Cody claims that heavy water tastes sweet. He does some fairly convincing comparisons but still expresses a little doubt that the effect is real. Has this been ...
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What is the inert pair effect?

I was reading about the p-block elements and found that the inert pair effect is mentioned everywhere in this topic. However, the book does not explain it very well. So, what is the inert pair effect? ...
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Why is the vanadium(3+) ion paramagnetic?

I know that the electron configuration of vanadium is $[\ce{Ar}]\mathrm{4s^2 3d^3}$. None of the electrons in the 3d subshell are paired. Once it loses these three electrons, shouldn't the remainder ...
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Why is arsenous acid denoted H3AsO3?

Inspired by this question, I'm wondering why arsenous acid is frequently denoted $\ce{H3AsO3}$, as opposed to $\ce{As(OH)3}$, which would appear to more accurately reflect its connectivity? [edit] I ...
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Why is BCl3 a monomer whereas AlCl3 exists as a dimer?

What makes dimerization possible in $\ce{AlCl3}$? Are there 3c-2e bonds in $\ce{Al2Cl6}$ as there are in $\ce{B2H6}$?
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Which "exotic salt" can lower water's freezing point by 70 °C?

The Medium.com article Mars Phoenix Lander, 10 Years Later shows several remarkable images and discoveries on Mars by the Mars Phoenix Lander circa 2008. One image (shown below) shows what looks like ...
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Why does potassium react more violently with water than lithium?

Recently, I was telling my friends about the violent reaction that takes place when you throw potassium into water. Soon after, a friend of mine claimed that lithium would react more violently than ...
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What do the prefixes meta, ortho, pyro mean in inorganic chemistry?

In inorganic chemistry, when is the prefix meta used? (as in metaborate and metasulphite) What about the terms pyro and ortho (as in orthophosphorous acid)? For example, I recently came to know about ...
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Why does basicity of group 15 hydrides decrease down the group?

In my textbook it is written that the order of basic strength of pnictogen hydrides is $$\ce{NH3 > PH3 > AsH3 > SbH3 > BiH3}$$ I tried but could not find any explanation as to why this ...
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Why is [PdCl4]2- square planar whereas [NiCl4]2- is tetrahedral?

The molecule $\ce{[PdCl4]^2-}$ is diamagnetic, which indicates a square planar geometry as all eight d electrons are paired in the lower-energy orbitals. However, $\ce{[NiCl4]^2-}$ is also $\mathrm{d^...
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"Middle row anomaly" of the periodic table

I was studying about the periodic table recently, and was reading a topic associated with oxides of halogens, and came across the following line The bromine oxides, $\ce{Br2O}$, $\ce{BrO2}$, $\ce{...
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9 answers
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Would it be possible to destroy gold?

I'm a writer. I have a scenario in which a sizable amount of gold needs to be rendered unusable, preferably completely destroyed. I know an acid like aqua regia is able to dissolve gold, but would ...
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Does O2 have a color in the gas phase

I have noticed that liquid $\ce{O2}$ (I clarify it as $\ce{O2}$ because oxygen exists in several other forms which have different colors in the liquid state than $\ce{O2}$) has a light blue color to ...
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What makes Gorilla Glass more durable with each generation?

Gorilla Glass (GG) is one of the most recognizable brands of toughened glasses today, thanks to their marketing and widespread usage in various gadgets and automobile industry. According to Wikipedia,...
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What metals aren't dissolved in/attacked by aqua regia?

Aqua regia (Latin: Royal Water) is one of the strongest acids known in Chemistry, and is capable of dissolving gold and platinum. My copy of the Oxford science dictionary goes on to say (under the ...
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How to name binary (inorganic) compounds given their chemical formula, and vice-versa?

I wish to understand how to name binary (inorganic) compounds when given their formula. When I am a given compound like $\ce{B2F2}$ or $\ce{N2O4}$, I have little to no clue on how to write their ...
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Are graphite and hexagonal boron nitride aromatic

Are graphite and hexagonal boron nitride aromatic? Graphite has a planar network of 6-membered rings with each carbon connected to three other carbons. Since the valency of carbon is not satisfied, ...
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What is Drago's rule? Does it really exist?

My textbooks states the Drago's rule in inorganic chemistry as follows: The more electronegative atom prefers the orbital having more $\mathrm{p}$ character, and lone-pairs or less electronegative ...
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2 answers
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Why is snow white?

I know that this is a rather ambiguous question; but my question is, whenever we take water and freeze it in the freezer, it still tends to stay clear. Since snow is just frozen water, why is it white?...
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Is activated carbon classified as organic or inorganic?

Organic compounds are typically defined as “molecules containing carbon”. Wikipedia states that there for some historical (read: non-logical) reasons, a few types of carbon-containing compounds ...
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28 votes
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Can magnetic fields affect a chemical reaction?

This question was asked recently in an interview and I just said that "Yeah, like if the reaction involves ions or paramagnetic species". But the interviewer went on and asked me to elaborate on HOW ...
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Why is lithium the most reducing alkali metal, and not caesium?

Caesium has a larger size, and the effective nuclear charge that the valence electron experiences will be far less compared to that of lithium's, right? But lithium is still considered the strongest ...
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Why do the alkali metals form different products upon combustion in air?

From Wikipedia's article on sodium: When burned in dry air, it forms primarily sodium peroxide with some sodium oxide. We know that sodium has a strong reducing capacity, so why does it produce a ...
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How can there be decimal subscripts in a molecular formula?

While learning about how batteries work I have encountered the following notation for a Li-ion cathode: $\ce{Li_{0.5}FePO4}$.[1] According to Wikipedia, the subscript number in a reaction equation ...
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Melting and boiling points of transition elements

The melting and boiling points of transition elements increases from scandium ($1530~\mathrm{^\circ C}$) to vanadium ($1917~\mathrm{^\circ C}$). They increase because as we go across the group, we ...
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Please explain why dioxygen difluoride is so dangerous

I just read this article that mentioned that dioxygen difluoride is very dangerous. The terms it uses are "awful", "violently hideous" and "deeply alarming". But I couldn't get a handle on exactly ...
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Storing hydrofluoric acid before the invention of plastics

The first person to synthesize hydrofluoric acid in large quantities was Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1771. This acid is known for its ability to corrode glass and metals. What materials were the ...
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Will gaseous ionic compounds be free moving ions?

I knew while learning about electrolysis that if the ionic compound is molten it becomes free moving ions. If that is the case, what will happen if I continued heating till it reaches the boiling ...
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Why does mercury decolourise a gold ring?

I saw that a gold ring decolourised as it got in contact with mercury . Why does this happen ? Is there any way to reverse this?
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24 votes
3 answers
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Solutions of Group 1 and Group 2 metals in Ammonia

When we add Group-1 and Group-2 metals to liquid ammonia, they dissolve to form metal cations and solvated electrons. $$\ce{M + NH3(liq) -> M+ + e-}$$ Now, when the G-1 solutions evaporate, we get ...
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Why can't rust form without water?

Shouldn't iron oxide be able to form without water? It is just iron and oxygen. I don't really understand what the dot followed by the $\ce{H2O}$ means either. I was reading on wikipedia, but I have a ...
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2 answers
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Why are silicon analogs of alkenes or alkynes so difficult to make?

We know that there are silicon analogs of alkanes, but according to Wikipedia, silicon analogs of alkenes or alkynes are virtually unknown. How come?
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23 votes
1 answer
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What is the mathematical basis behind the Jahn-Teller effect?

Both first-order and second-order Jahn-Teller distortions play a very important role in chemistry. It is often said that the Jahn-Teller effect is based on symmetry arguments, and hence nothing can ...
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What is the meaning of the "-osic" suffix on a metal (e.g., cobaltosic oxide)?

I just came across the term cobaltosic for the first time in the abstract of Ind Eng Chem Res 52(18): 6076, 2013 (emphasis added): A nanocomposite of cobaltosic oxide and nitrogen-doped graphene ($\...
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23 votes
2 answers
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What is the smell of 'burning' metal?

When a pass a construction site where someone is welding two pieces of metal together there is a very distinct smell that I associate with 'burning' metal, although I am not quite sure it is burning ...
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23 votes
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Why does hydrogen fluoride have a boiling point so much lower than that of water?

$\ce{F}$ has more unshared electron pairs and is very electronegative, so $\ce{H}$ of another $\ce{HF}$ molecule can $\ce{H}$-bond with it. $\ce{HF}$ has normal boiling point of $\pu{19.5^oC}$ while $...
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Why is distillation not a viable way to separate ammonia from water?

Since the steam pressure of ammonia is higher than that of water, I would expect distillation to be a reasonable way of separating a mixture of both. However, in industrial applications known to me ...
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1 answer
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Why do thiols have such a propensity for bonding with mercury?

Historically, thiols $\ce{-SH}$ were known as "mercapto-" due to their strong propensity to bond with mercury. Certain drugs still carry this designation, though mercaptopurine has an $\ce{=S}$ group ...
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22 votes
2 answers
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Why do XeO and XeF8 not exist?

Since Neil Bartlett's 1962 discovery that xenon was capable of forming chemical compounds, a large number of xenon compounds have been discovered and described. Almost all known xenon compounds ...
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22 votes
2 answers
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What is the favoured geometry of chlorine trifluoride?

Why is the first structure on the left more stable than the second one on the right? In the first one the angle between the two pair of nonbonding electrons is about 120° which is a lot less than ...
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22 votes
1 answer
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Why does mercury have low melting and boiling points?

Many metals have relatively high melting and boiling points, but mercury has relatively low melting and boiling points. What are the possible reasons for this?
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22 votes
3 answers
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Why is the inversion barrier larger in PH3 than it is in NH3?

The inversion barrier in $\ce{NH3}$ is approximately $5~\mathrm{kcal~mol^{-1}}$ and that of $\ce{PH3}$ is $35~\mathrm{kcal~mol^{-1}}$. This has well-known stereochemical consequences in that amines ...
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Structure of Br3O8

What is the structure of $\ce{Br3O8}$? It has an odd number of electrons; does that make it a free radical? The structure given in my book shows Where did the 7th electron of the central atom go? ...
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