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6 Sub Branches of Inorganic Chemistry – Defination – Fields – Theories

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Inorganic chemistry is one of the Branches of Chemistry, involves all element as the study domain of organic chemistry meant to be study of hydrocarbon then inorganic chemistry study everything else. This statement means inorganic chemistry has wider study because it involves all of element written on periodic table as well as carbon who has significant role in inorganic chemistry.


The organometallic field bridges these two area of study since it compounds containing metal-carbon bonds plus it is also includes catalysis of many organic reaction. Bioinorganic chemistry bridges biochemistry with inorganic chemistry and has prominent position on medical application. In short, inorganic study is a vast subject with limitless areas for investigation and potential practical application.

Not to confuse between organic and the inorganic chemistry. Technically, the difference between organic and inorganic chemistry is on its coordination number, while organic chemistry has maximum coordination number of 4 inorganic chemistry has coordination number exceed of 4. Inorganic chemist usually solve problems to fix the properties, structures, and reactivity’s materials. So, they must concern with a great method of synthesis, manipulation, and characterization of inorganic compounds.

Most of inorganic compound are formed of ionic compounds consist of cations and anions joined by ionic bonding. Some of classes in inorganic compounds are oxides, the carbonates, the sulfates, and halides most of them could be characterized by its high melting point. Thus, after the Branches of Organic Chemistry fields, now is the explanation of the branches of inorganic chemistry.

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1. Nuclear Chemistry

An atom consist of a positively charged nucleus who has extra-nuclear electrons around it. The effect of nucleus despite of the fact that  the mass of atom is almost entirely concentrated in it. On chemical behavior is exerted through its influence on the number, and hence the arrangement of the electrons.

It can be argued that discussion of nucleus or nuclear is more appropriate as physic but since changes in the nucleus in an atom must be followed with chemical behavior. Also, as it’s because of the increasing interpenetration of physic and chemistry the study of nuclear transformation is the domain for chemistry study.

Nuclear changes can and occur in unknown time as it could be happened spontaneously, as the phenomena of radioactivity which is the main deal of nuclear chemistry along with nuclear processes. Nuclear transmutation and nuclear properties but some of it can be brought about experimentally in the laboratory. As mention above, these changes can and will be classified as (i) natural radioactivity; (ii) changes caused by the bombardment of nuclei; (iii) nuclear fission and (iv) nuclear fusion.

  • Natural Radioactivity

Radioactivity is now to be seen as a property of the nucleus and as consequence of the inherent stability of some nuclei. Thus, the nuclei of the atoms of all naturally occurring element whose atomic members are greater than 82 are unstable and so undergo slow decay. These elements are said to be radioactive, to exhibit radioactivity and to undergo radioactive disintegration or decay.

The natural radioactivity of elements has been used in practical world such as medicine in the treatment of cancer and other malignant growth. For the manufacture of luminos enamels and as one means of calculating the age of the earth.

The elements such as radium and radon are used for the treatment of cancerous growth. The process start with the radiations from these elements who are capable to destroy the cancerous cell on the human tissue. Thus, the side effect they can also destroy healthy tissue so it is needed to protect the healthy areas when the treatment is on progress by shielding it.

  • Transmutation by Nuclear Bombardment

The transmutation of elements is applied on base metals into gold, who has fascinated mankind for many centuries which clearly because of the operation of the alchemist. As we know, the changes by radio elements like transmutation is taking place naturally but so far there is no method found to altering. Even in slightest degree, the rate at which these changes are going on until these recent years.

The transmutation is mainly about the conversion of one chemical element or an isotope into another. Because istope is defined by its proton number, nuclear transmutation occurs in any process that make changes in proton or neutron number.

  • Nuclear Fission

Firstly, found by German Otto Hahn and his assistant Fritz Strassmann in 1938 nuclear fission later explained theoretically by Lise Meitner and her nephew Otto Robert Frisch a year later. Fission is a form of nuclear transmutation which is happened because of the process of splitting an atom into smaller part called nuclei, which generating free neutrons and gamma photons  other than generating neutrons and gamma photon. It also releases very large amount of energy by energetic standards or radioactive decay.

Typically, the two nuclei produced are comparable and have different sizes. The energy released contained in nuclear fuel is times the amount of free energy contained in a similar mass of chemical fuel such as gasoline, making nuclear fission a very dense source of energy.

  • Nuclear Fusion

In principle, nuclei is very light and it can be combined to form a heavier ones and release bigger energy as well as the light one. This process called fusion the contrast of fission but also resulting energy because of the difference in mass arises due to the difference in atomic binding energy between atomic nuclei before and after reaction. Such process are the main source of the energy generated in the sun and the other stars. These process also form the basis of the hydrogen bomb.

Today, research is focusing on way to adapt nuclear fusion process to the controlled, sustained generation of energy but the practical result is still far from now. The reason that fission and fusion are sources of nuclear energy can be understood by referring to a plot of the binding energy per nucleon as function of mass number.

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2. Thermochemistry

Thermochemistry is the branches of inorganic chemistry. This field concerns on chemical reactivity. Meanwhile, here is the sub branches of Thermochemistry.

  • Chemical Energy

The study of the heat changes followed by chemical action is often referred to  as the study of Thermo-chemistry. All chemical substances or element are associated with intrinsic energy, which mostly in the form of heat which go less or higher degree when it undergoes a chemical reaction.

Any chemical system either single substance or consist of group of substances contains an amount of energy this amount are influenced by the mass of its substance, chemical nature and physical condition of the system.

This condition will remain constant until a reaction takes place. Thus, the production of the reaction will constitute a chemical system of different intrinsic energy. Even though, we could not know the absolute value of a total energies stored in intrinsic energy, we could determined  the change in total energy when the initial system passes into a new system and if there was no external work has been done the decrease in intrinsic energy will be equal to the heat evolved, or vice versa. Endothermic reaction occurs when system absorb heat whilst exothermic is a term for reaction when system releasing heat.

  •  Heat of Reaction

Experiment shows that the heat effect with any given chemical changes has a constant value for a given quantity of reactants. When this value is expressed as the quantity of heat liberated or absorbed during the reaction of the gram-molecular quantities of the reacting substances as indicated  by the equation for the reaction known as the Heat of Reaction. The amount of heat is usually represented in Kilograms-calories.

The heat of reaction will depend on physical state of reacting substances and of the products of reaction. Thus, this ought to be indicated when giving the value of heat reaction. The quantity of heat liberated or absorbed when one gram-molecule of a compound is formed from its element called the Heat of Formation of compound, whilst the quantity of heat liberated when one gram-molecule of an element or compound is completely oxidized is called the Heat of Combustion.

  • Hess’s Law

In 1840, G.M. Hess measured the heat developed during the formation of a compound by several experiment and come to conclusion that “the amount of heat evolved during the formation of a given compound is the same whether the compound is formed directly all at once or slowly.”

This means if a chemical change in different routes the overall enthalphy change remain the same. Hess’s law can be used to determine the overall energy required for a chemical reaction. When it can be divided into synthetic steps so it will be easier to characterize. This may be used as a basis to design complex syntheses.

  • Thermochemistry Process

A process happened if one or more properties of a system changes. Process could be divided into three categories; Isobaric means the process occurs when the pressure of system remaining constant; Isothermal means the process occurs when the temperature of system remaining constant; Adiabatic means process occurs without any heat exchange.


3. Theoritical Chemistry

Theoritical chemistry is a study focusing on explanation of chemical and physical observation of atom, this study includes physic law as its base such as Columb’s law which describes force interacting between static electrically charged particles, Kinetics energy which explain that an object has energy because of it motion,virial theorem and so on other laws.

Appropriate level of theory is needed to explain an observation thus some theoritical method has to be match its own observation or in other word the right theoritical method or approach is needed to explain an observation to decrease the bias degree of the theory made.

  • Quantum Theory

One of the most interesting and also one of most important problems in the early development of chemistry is the nature of radiant energy. In eighteenth century, most of scientist accepted the idea that visible light consisted of small particles that were emitted from the source like bullets. Such theory was propose by Sir Isaac Newton in Royal Society in 1675, and most of universe accepted his views.

Moreover, quantum chemistry has been focused on the application of quantum mechanic in physical models and experiments of chemical system, which commonly also known as molecular quantum mechanic because of its strong relation with molecule.

  • Computational Chemistry and Mathematical Chemistry

Either computational or mathematical, both of them are tools to re-model structure of molecule by terms of prediction. These method used as alternative so it is not necessarily referring to quantum mechanic. In mathematics, topology can be used to predict properties of flexible finite size bodies like clusters.

The application of computer codes allows us to predict the molecular shape properly by using some method such as  Hartree–Fock, post-Hartree–Fock, density functional theory, semi empirical methods (such as PM3) or force field methods. Besides of predicting the shape of molecule properly computer is able to predict vibrational spectra and vibronic coupling, also acquire and  transform Infra-red data into frequency information. The use of computer and informational techniques, applied to crop information to solve problems in the field of chemistry also called Cheminformatics.

  • Molecular Dynamic and Molecular Mechanic

In molecular dynamic, we apply the classical mechanic to simulate the movement of nuclei (smaller part of nuclear) in its process of assembling of atoms and molecules. Van der Waals forces controlled the rearrangement of molecules and promoted by temperature.

If molecular dynamic apply the classical mechanic to simulate the movement of nuclei, molecular mechanic tries to use classical mechanic to model the molecular system. So, it could be easier to calculated the potential energy stored in molecular system by using force fields.

Moreover, the method used to modelling the structure of atoms called Molecular Modelling such as  molecular docking, protein-protein docking, drug design, combinatorial chemistry

4. Photochemistry

Photochemistry is a branch of chemistry that domain of study involves chemical reaction caused by the absorption of ultraviolet. When a molecule absorb a photon of light, this changes the electronic structure, and it reacts differently with other molecules. The result of the energy absorbed from light  are photochemical changes in the absorbing molecule, or in an adjacent molecule for example photosintization.

The energy  also can be formed as heat, or as lower energy light, for example fluorescence or phosphorescence, in order to return the molecule to its ground state. Each type of molecule has a different preference for which of these different mechanisms it uses to get rid of absorbed photon energy, for example some molecule because of it type prefer fluorescence than chemistry.

  • Photochemistry Applications

As mention above there several photochemistry reaction because of each type of molecule prefer different ways to release the energy they have been absorbed, some of application example of photochemistry reaction are :

  • Photosythesis: the process where plant uses ultraviolet energy to convert dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen.
  • Bioluminesence: fireflies produce enzym in their belly to generate light.
  • Photodynamic Theraphy: the use of light to destroy tumor on human body by the action of singlet oxygen generated by photosensitized reactions of triplet oxygen. Typical photosensitizers include tetraphenylporphyrin and methylene blue.
  • Photoresist: is a light-sensitive material used in several processes to form a patterned coating on a surface which has significant role in the whole electronic industry.

The Photochemistry Law

Laws in photochemistry can be used and developed in the study of photochemistry there are a lot of rules that applied for this area of study but some of them are :

  • The First Law of Photochemistry states that light must be absorbed for photochemistry to occur. This is a simple concept, but it is the basis for performing photochemical and photobiological experiments correctly.
  • The Second Law of Photochemistry states that for each photon of light absorbed by a chemical system, only one molecule is activated for a photochemical reaction.
  • The Bunsen-Roscoe Law of Reciprocity states that a photochemical effect is directly proportional to the total energy dose, irrespective of the time required to deliver the dose.

These laws has effected the study in photochemistry and could be used in certain situation as these term and condition applied for each of this rule.

5. Geochemistry

Geochemistry is a study that bridges earth study which the focus is understanding earth system with chemistry, in other word to put this explanation of geochemistry is geochemistry use chemistry as it approach to deepen understanding of how earth system works. Sub-disciplines of geochemistry  include biogeochemistry, organic geochemistry, trace and elemental geochemistry, and metamorphic and igneous-rock geochemistry.

In 1838, a Swiss-German chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein was the first person who use term of geochemistry in his paper by stating a prediction that a new field of study will be born “In a word, a comparative geochemistry ought to be launched, before geochemistry can become geology, and before the mystery of the genesis of our planets and their inorganic matter may be revealed” He said.

  • Biogeochemistry

As mention above, there are sub-fields of geochemistry such as biogeochemistry which focusing on the effect of life on chemistry point of view on earth.

  • Organic Geochemistry

Organic geochemistry who involves the study of role processes and derived compounds  from living or once-living organisms.

  • Trace Elemental Geochemistry

The trace elemental geochemistry which focusing on understanding the origin and evolution of rocks.

  • Metamorphic Igneous-Rock Geochemistry

Thus, metamorphic igneous-rock geochemistry which the main field study is the transformation of rock in chemistry point of view.

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6. Solid State Chemistry

Solid state chemistry usually refer to term of material chemistry, a study about synthesis, structure, and properties of solid phase materials, particularly, but not necessarily exclusively of, non-molecular solids.

  • Solid State Chemistry Fields

Moreover, solid state chemistry is mainly about understanding of the processes that occur during formation and growth of crystals and its application into the prediction and control of crystal morphology and perfection.

The field of solid state inorganic chemistry is very wide area with enermous practices.  There are a lot of method involves in sythesizing of state compound some of them are oven techniques, melt methods, solution methods, gas reaction and air & moisture sensitive materials. Each of this techniques differs because of differentiation of character of solid state compounds.

Meanwhile, there six sub-branches of Inorganic Chemistry. These knowledge is important in producing new compound that could be useful in life. Indeed, chemistry held the basic compound to create new invention whether in industry field, technology, or space.

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Post Date: Monday 13th, March 2017 / 09:23 Oleh :
Kategori : Inorganic Chemistry