A White Solid Has No Odor, Is Soluble In Water, And Is Not Flammable. Would You Expect It To Be Organic Or Inorganic? Why?


2 Answers

Katie Harry Profile
Katie Harry answered
I would say that the substance is inorganic. That is because all of its characteristics exhibit the characteristics unlike those of organic compounds and like those of inorganic compounds.

Let us look at each of the properties given above:

Most organic compounds are volatile and may be aromatic. This means that organic compounds do mostly have odor. On the other hand, inorganic compounds are generally not volatile and most are odorless.

Organic compounds are mostly non-polar in nature and most inorganic compounds are polar. Water is polar (it has a dipole in its molecule: Positive hydrogen end, negative oxygen end). Now, you must already know that likes dissolve likes. Thus, water dissolves inorganic (polar) compounds but not organic compounds (which are non-polar). There are some exceptions to this rule, like ethanol and sugar which are organic. However, there molecules are slightly polar and so, they are able to dissolve in water.

Organic compounds have a backbone of carbon and hydrogen and catch flame very quickly. That explains why oil and coal burn so well. However, inorganic compounds are not very inflammable. For example, if you put common table salt near a fire, it will not catch fire.

Since, all the conditions point at an inorganic compound, we conclude that the substance in question is also an inorganic compound.
Katie Harry Profile
Katie Harry answered
I would expect it to be inorganic because none of the characteristics shown by the compound conform with the general properties of organic molecules. Let us take each property one by one:

No Odor:

Organic compounds may be volatile and thus may have an odor. Aromatic organic compounds, those with benzene, are the substances used in perfumes etc because of their aromatic property. On the other hand, inorganic compounds almost never have an odor especially solids.

Soluble in Water:

Likes dissolve in likes. Water is polar. Therefore, to dissolve in water, the other substance also has to be polar. Most inorganic salts are soluble in water with a few exceptions, of course. Organic compounds would be less willingly soluble in water. In fact, only a few do and most are hydrophobic.


Organic compounds are known for their capacity to catch fire and burn. That means they are inflammable. They are mostly used to generate energy when combusted. However, the compound in question is non-flammable.

Hence, all things point to the fact that the compound in the question is inorganic.

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