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The Importance of Inorganic Chemistry to Today’s World

By: , Posted on: March 30, 2016

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Inorganic Chemistry is not an isolated branch of chemistry. This core science is fully integrated with other areas of chemistry such as organic, physical and analytical chemistry. It deals with the chemistry of all non-organic compounds, and mainly involves the chemistry of metals and especially transition metals. These elements play a crucial role in industrial catalytic processes that are required to produce substances and new materials at a rate far exceeding that of natural chemical reactions. Such catalytic processes can take place in solution (homogeneous catalysis) or on the surface of solid materials (heterogeneous catalysis) and usually involve transition metal elements.

However, such elements also play a crucial role in biological processes (so-called bioinorganic chemistry) where metallo-enzymes can activate small molecules like O2, H2O2, NO, H2, CO and CO2, which then act as oxygen transfer reagents, participate in hydration processes, function as messenger molecules or form essential components of redox biology. Furthermore, on the basis of such catalytic reactivity, many metallo-drugs have been developed for the treatment of cancer, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

For example, the anti-tumor drug cisplatin, cis-[Pt(NH3)2(Cl)2]2+, was already developed in the sixties. In the meantime, it is known that it slowly aquates to cis-[Pt(NH3)2(H2O)Cl]+, which can bind to DNA bases in the cell and cause apoptosis of cancer cells. Also in the area of atmospheric chemistry, transition metal catalysts are successfully used for the treatment of gaseous effluents from coal fired power plants, for selective catalyzed reduction (SCR technology) of NOx in exhaust gases from cars and trucks, and pollution caused by heating with low quality coal during winter times.

A huge challenge to inorganic chemists is the drive to optimize existing and develop new technology that will improve the performance of catalysts to save energy and aim for sustainable developments. In this respect, the clarification of the underlying reaction mechanisms in order to understand the underlying chemical processes, whether of industrial, environmental or biological significance, is of utmost importance to the whole world in order to tackle threatening climate changes and severe pollution in densely populated cities. Here inorganic chemistry can indeed have an impact on the quality of life and the wellbeing of the increasing population of the world.

The series Advances in Inorganic Chemistry has over the past 14 years published thematic issues that focused on the latest developments in specific areas of inorganic chemistry as a service to the inorganic chemistry community in particular and the chemistry community in general. The selected topics for these thematic issues indeed cover a wide range of topics and involved contributions from experts in these areas.rudi van eldik

By Rudi van Eldik, Editor, Advances in Inorganic Chemistry

Some examples of the themes covered by the thematic issues are:

Volume 64: Inorganic/Bioinorganic Reaction Mechanisms (2012)

Volume 65: Homogeneous Catalysis (2013)

Volume 66: CO2 Chemistry (2014)

Volume 67: NOx Related Chemistry (2015)

Volume 68: Insights from Imaging in Bioinorganic Chemistry (2016)

Other recent titles that cover this topic include:

Photonic and Electronic Properties of Fluoride Materials (2015)

Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry, 3e (2015)

Essentials of Coordination Chemistry, A Simplified Approach (2015)

My Life in the Golden Age of Chemistry (2014)

All of the above books and many more are available from the Elsevier Store – Use discount code STC215 at checkout and save up to 30%!

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A field as broad as chemistry is cross-disciplinary by nature. Chemistry researchers, in their work or study, may encounter issues in materials science, biochemistry, chemical engineering, or a wide range of other disciplines. In addition to the major areas of organic and inorganic chemistry, Elsevier content covers advanced topics such as quantum chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical and theoretical chemistry, energy generation and storage, nano-chemistry, surface and interface chemistry, and environmental chemistry. This content is available over a spectrum of formats that includes journals, books, eBooks, undergraduate textbooks, multi-volume reference works, and innovative databases and online products like Reaxys. Learn more about our Chemistry books here.