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What Is the Difference Between Organic and Inorganic?

What Is the Difference Between Organic and Inorganic?

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This is a glass molecular model of benzene. Benzene is an example of an organic compound.

Benzene is an example of an organic compound. Benzene is made of carbon atoms bonded to other carbon atoms and to hydrogen atoms.

Chad Baker, Getty Images

Question: What Is the Difference Between Organic and Inorganic?

Organic compounds and inorganic compounds form the basis for chemistry. Here is a look at the difference between organic and inorganic compounds, plus examples of each type.

Answer: The primary difference between organic compounds and inorganic compounds is that organic compounds always contain carbon while most inorganic compounds do not contain carbon. Also, almost all organic compounds contain carbon-hydrogen or C-H bonds.

Examples of Organic Compounds or Molecules

Molecules associated with living organisms are organic. These include nucleic acids, fats, sugars, proteins, enzymes and many fuels.
  • DNA
  • table sugar or sucrose, C12H22O11
  • benzene, C6H6
  • methane, CH4

Examples of Inorganic Compounds

Inorganics include salts, metals, substances made from single elements and any other compounds that don't contain carbon bonded to hydrogen.
  • table salt or sodium chloride, NaCl
  • carbon dioxide, CO2
  • diamond (pure carbon)

Organic Compounds Without C-H Bonds

There are few organic compounds that don't contain carbon-hydrogen bonds. Examples of these exceptions include:
  • carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)
  • urea [CO(NH2)2]

Learn More

Intro to Organic Chemistry
Organic Functional Groups
10 Carbon Facts

 

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