Inorganic Matter

Definition - What does Inorganic Matter mean?

Inorganic matter is matter which is not derived from living organisms and contains no organically produced carbon. It includes rocks, minerals and metals. Inorganic matter can be formally defined with reference to what they are not: organic compounds.

Although minerals may be of biological origin, they are mainly oxides and sulfides, which are strictly inorganic. In fact, most of the Earth is inorganic.

Inorganic matter has a variety of uses like paint, pigment and coating applications for surface protection from corrosion.

Corrosionpedia explains Inorganic Matter

Matter that does not come from plants and animals is called inorganic matter. The content of the matter is not important, how it was made is the main factor. For example, most organic matter contains carbon, even skin, muscles and seeds. Diamonds are also carbon, but they are not made by a plant or animal, and thus diamonds are inorganic.

The Inorganic Crystal Structure Database (ICSD), in its definition of "inorganic" carbon compounds, states that such compounds should contain either C-H or C-C bonds, but not both. Various inorganic compounds that contain carbon are:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Carbonates
  • Cyanides
  • Cyanates
  • Carbides
  • Thiocyanates

Inorganic materials include stone, metal, ceramic and glass, which are all made from rocks or minerals. Some inorganic materials are found in paper-based formats: photographs contain metallic particles; some pigments and inks contain minerals, metals, or metallic oxides; and metal particles are sometimes found in paper itself. Inorganic materials are generally stable individually, but they can react with other materials to cause deterioration. Like organic materials, inorganic materials can be natural or synthetic (e.g., some pigments occur naturally as minerals but can also be manufactured from other inorganic materials).

Both organic and inorganic matter can cause the corrosion of water pipes. The existence of inorganic material generates interference in pipes, casing deposit formation.

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