What makes inorganic chemistry inevitable?
Inorganic chemistry deals with elements or compounds that contain elements other than Carbon and hydrogen. This part of chemistry deals with the formation, production and understanding the properties of compounds other than hydrocarbons.
Examples: Ammonia, Hydrochloric acid
Inorganic substances are categorized as
1) Simple substances. These substances contain only on element or atom
Example: Nickel, sodium
2) Complex substances (or chemical compounds). Molecules consist of different type atoms (atoms of different chemical elements). Examples: Al2O3, Fe2O3.
Some of the important inorganic chemicals that are regularly used are water (also named as universal solvent), iron, Sodium chloride, sodium hydroxide and sulphuric acid. In spite of availability of so many chemicals (both inorganic as well as organic), the inorganic chemical sulphuric acid is named as "King of Chemicals" , which suggests the significance of inorganic chemicals. Moreover, sulphuric acid it is involved in the manufacture of some chemicals or the other and the industrial development of country is measured in terms of production of sulphuric acid.
The industrial applications of inorganic chemicals are extended to catalysts in the manufacture of important products, water for power generation, Flocculants for environment pollution, Metals and plastics for biomedical applications, chemicals like ammonia and ammonium phosphate as Fertilizers.
Catalysts: Inorganic chemicals like potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide and sulphuric acid are used as catalysts in bio-diesel production . Vanadium Pentoxide is used as catalyst for production of SO3 by contract process . Iron is used as catalyst for Production of ammonia by Haber process .
a) Power generation: The radioactive materials like Uranium (in the form of Uranium oxide) can be used for power generation without the concern of global warming . Hydrogen produced from chloral alkali industries can be used for power generation . Heavy water (D2O) is also used as moderator in nuclear reactors.
b) Waste water treatment :
• Coagulants like ferrous sulphate, aluminium sulphate (also known as alum), and Ferric chloride is useful for waste water treatment... .
• Chemical oxygen demand is determined by use of strong oxidizing agents like potassium dichromate.
c) Biomedical applications :
Since water occupies 60% of human body, it is an important component of human beings . Water serves as a lubricant and cushion in human beings. Water is used by body in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other body functions. Tissues, spinal cord and joints are protected by Water.
Teeth contain significant amount of Calcium phosphate as well as boned. Dietary fats are broken by means of bile salts produced by the liver help .
Hydrochloric acid is a strong acid released from cells which ensures in digestion and killing of ingested microbes. When food combines with hydrochloric acid, the burning of small intestine is prevented by Bicarbonate, which is a weak base, .
Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic used on the skin to prevent infection of minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. It can also be used as a mouth rinse to help remove mucus or to relieve minor mouth irritation .
In total hip arthroplasty (also known as total hip replacement), the damaged bone and cartilage is removed and replaced with prosthetic components. The damaged femoral head is removed and replaced with a metal stem that is placed into the hollow center of the femur. Various kinds of cements will be used for positioning the prosthesis components to bone .
d) Fertilizer industries: Agricultural productivity can be increased by use of Fertilizers... About 40% of world fertilizer production is based on synthetic ammonia . Ammonia is produced from N2 and Hydrogen and will be useful for production of Urea as well as Ammonium nitrate.
The above mentioned nutrients are macro nutrients. There are some micronutrients like sulphur and calcium which are also inorganic.
Some other applications of inorganic chemicals are
e) Heat exchanger tubes are made of metals and their surface tends to foul during heat transfer. This adds additional resistance to heat transfer leading to reduction in efficiency of heat exchangers . This may leads to failure of the equipment as well and this can be prevented by acids for removing the dirt on the surface of heat exchangers.
f) Refractory materials are defined according to ASTMC71 as "non-metallic materials having those chemical and physical properties that make them applicable for structures, or as components of systems, that are exposed to environments above 600 deg.c . They are used in linings for furnaces, kilns, incinerators and reactors. They are also used to make crucibles and moulds for casting glass and metals. Depending upon the application, these are categorized as acidic, basic and neutral.
Acidic refractoriness consists of alumina (Al2O3) and silica (SiO2). They are generally not attacked or affected by acidic materials, but easily affected by basic materials.
Basic refractoriness' are used in areas where slags and atmosphere are basic; they are stable to alkaline materials but react with acids. Magnesia (MgO) is a very common example.
Neutral refractories are used in areas where slags and atmosphere are either acidic or basic and are chemically stable to both acids and bases. Example: Al2O3.
All the above application suggests the importance of inorganic chemicals and their use is inevitable.