Inorganic Substances vs. Organic Substances

What's the Difference?

Inorganic substances and organic substances are two distinct categories of compounds with different chemical compositions and properties. Inorganic substances are typically derived from non-living matter and do not contain carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms. They often consist of minerals, metals, and nonmetals, and are characterized by their high melting points, low volatility, and lack of flammability. On the other hand, organic substances are derived from living organisms and contain carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms. They are commonly found in nature as carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, and are known for their lower melting points, higher volatility, and flammability. Additionally, organic substances are often associated with complex molecular structures and are essential for life processes, while inorganic substances play crucial roles in various chemical reactions and physical processes.


AttributeInorganic SubstancesOrganic Substances
CompositionDo not contain carbon-hydrogen bondsContain carbon-hydrogen bonds
SourceGenerally derived from non-living matterDerived from living organisms
ExamplesWater, minerals, metalsCarbohydrates, proteins, lipids
SolubilityVaries, but many inorganic substances are soluble in waterVaries, but many organic substances are soluble in organic solvents
FunctionOften involved in structural support, electrolyte balance, and chemical reactionsPlay diverse roles in metabolism, energy storage, and cellular processes

Further Detail


In the world of chemistry, substances can be broadly classified into two categories: inorganic substances and organic substances. These categories are based on the composition and properties of the substances. In this article, we will explore the attributes of both inorganic and organic substances, highlighting their differences and similarities.

Inorganic Substances

Inorganic substances are compounds that do not contain carbon-hydrogen (C-H) bonds. They are typically derived from minerals and non-living sources. Inorganic substances can be found abundantly in nature, and many of them play crucial roles in various chemical and biological processes.

One of the key attributes of inorganic substances is their stability. Due to the absence of C-H bonds, they are generally more resistant to heat, light, and chemical reactions. This stability makes them suitable for applications in industries such as construction, electronics, and manufacturing.

Inorganic substances often exhibit high melting and boiling points. This is because the ionic or covalent bonds present in these compounds are generally stronger than the intermolecular forces found in organic substances. For example, sodium chloride (NaCl), a common inorganic compound, has a high melting point of 801°C due to the strong ionic bonds between sodium and chloride ions.

Furthermore, inorganic substances are known for their electrical conductivity. Many inorganic compounds, such as salts and metals, can conduct electricity due to the presence of free ions or delocalized electrons. This property is essential in applications like batteries, electrical circuits, and electrolysis.

Inorganic substances also exhibit a wide range of colors. Transition metal compounds, for instance, often display vibrant colors due to the presence of d-orbitals that can absorb and emit specific wavelengths of light. This property is utilized in various fields, including pigments, dyes, and photography.

Organic Substances

Organic substances, on the other hand, are compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen (C-H) bonds. They are primarily derived from living organisms, including plants and animals. Organic substances are the building blocks of life and play a fundamental role in biological processes.

One of the defining attributes of organic substances is their ability to form covalent bonds. Carbon, with its four valence electrons, can readily bond with other elements, including carbon itself, to form long chains and complex structures. This property allows for the vast diversity of organic compounds found in nature.

Organic substances are generally characterized by their low melting and boiling points. This is due to the relatively weak intermolecular forces, such as van der Waals forces, present between organic molecules. For example, ethanol (C2H5OH), a common organic compound, has a boiling point of only 78.4°C.

Another important attribute of organic substances is their combustibility. Due to the presence of carbon-hydrogen bonds, organic compounds can undergo combustion reactions, releasing energy in the form of heat and light. This property is harnessed in various energy sources, such as fossil fuels and biofuels.

Organic substances also exhibit a wide range of solubilities. Many organic compounds are soluble in organic solvents, such as ethanol or acetone, but insoluble in water. This property is crucial in applications like extraction, purification, and synthesis of organic compounds.

Furthermore, organic substances often possess chirality, meaning they exist in two mirror-image forms known as enantiomers. This property has significant implications in pharmaceuticals, as enantiomers can exhibit different biological activities. Thalidomide, for example, exists as two enantiomers, with one enantiomer causing birth defects while the other is an effective sedative.


In summary, inorganic substances and organic substances have distinct attributes that arise from their composition and properties. Inorganic substances, lacking carbon-hydrogen bonds, are known for their stability, high melting points, electrical conductivity, and vibrant colors. On the other hand, organic substances, containing carbon-hydrogen bonds, exhibit covalent bonding, low melting points, combustibility, solubility, and chirality.

Both inorganic and organic substances have immense importance in various fields, ranging from industry and technology to biology and medicine. Understanding their unique attributes allows scientists and researchers to harness their properties for the development of new materials, drugs, and technologies.

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