Elements are the simplest substance on Earth and it make up all matter. Most elements exist freely in nature such as silver, gold, sulfur, oxygen, nitrogen, and copper while some are in combined or compound form. When elements combine chemically, they form compounds. And when compounds are formed, they acquire new properties that are different from the elements that originally composed them.
Compounds differ much in their properties. Hence, they are broadly classified into organic and inorganic compound.
What is the difference between organic and inorganic compound?
Organic compounds have one thing in common. They all contain carbon. Living organisms produce organic compounds quite unlike the inorganic substances of the Earth. Yet, both the inorganic compounds and organic compounds or natural elements of the Earth are the raw materials from which living organisms build the substances they need.
What makes carbon the key element in organic compounds?
Carbon is the element which occurs in all living things. It is present in the tissue of our bodies as well as in food. It exists as organic compound like carbohydrate, fats, oils and protein. However, not all carbon compounds are classified as organic. Carbon is present in some inorganic compounds, such as carbon dioxide and carbonates, but these are less complex than most organic compounds. The carbon compounds referred to as organic compound usually come from living matter and their remains, both plants and animals.
Several properties of carbon make it the key element in organic compounds. The electron structure of a carbon atom allows it to form four covalent bonds with other atoms. These bonds may be single, double, or triple, and it depends on how many electron pairs are shared with other atoms. Carbon atoms are link with each other and they can form rings or long chains. Living things synthesize many kinds of organic compounds.
How does it help in industry?
Due to the improvement of technology, numerous organic compounds are produced synthetically by industry and man has transformed inorganic compounds into organic matter. Plastics, medicines, fuels, synthetic fibers, drugs, insecticides, flavorings, and many more industrial products consist chiefly of organic compounds. Fuels contain carbon which comes directly or indirectly from plants. Petroleum, or crude oil, is drilled from the Earth from oil- bearing sedimentary rocks or where marine plants and animals buried under the sand and converted by hydrocarbon for thousands of years. Charcoal appears uniformly black and has excellent characteristics for industrial uses and adsorption applications.
Examples of organic compounds are sugar, alcohol, acetone, butane, formalin or preservative for biological specimens, oil, albumin, vinegar, starch, and perfume.