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CHY1301 : Fundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Simon Doherty
  • Lecturer: Dr Hanno Kossen, Dr Andrew Pike, Dr John Errington, Dr Mike Probert, Dr Paul Waddell, Professor Andrew Benniston
  • Practical Supervisor: Dr Johan Eriksson
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To present the basic ideas and nomenclature of inorganic chemistry; to teach the basic theoretical skills needed to rationalise structure and reactivity; to present the principles of atomic and molecular orbital theory; to introduce symmetry theory and teach the recognition of symmetry in compounds; to introduce the principles of structure; to introduce transition metal coordination chemistry; to teach elementary practical techniques in inorganic chemistry.

Outline Of Syllabus

Semester 1
Atomic and Molecular Orbitals
Dr AR Pike

1-2 Wavefunctions
3 Atomic orbital contour plots, planar nodes, orthogonality
4 Spherical nodes, radial plots, radial distribution
5 Energy levels, degeneracy; Pauli, Aufbau
6 Shielding, penetration, Slater's Rules, valence shell versus core
7 LCAO MO theory for H2
8 MO scheme for first period diatomic species without sp mixing
9 Bond order, magnetic properties; effect of sp mixing
10 Electron deficient and heteronuclear diatomics
11 MO scheme for CO2
12 Revision dry lab on MOs

Basic Principles of Inorganic Chemistry (I)
Dr H Kossen

1 Introduction to the periodic table; the elements and their positions; trivial names of certain groups of elements
2 Quantum mechanical basis of periodicity; electron configuration of the elements; Ionization potentials; systematic trends and discontinuities along periods and down groups
3-5 The jargon of inorganic chemistry; oxidation state, coordination number, overall charge, donor atom, ligand (monodentate, polydentate, macrocyclic, ambidentate), chelate ring
6 Revision

Structural Inorganic Chemistry (I)
Dr S Doherty

1 Introduction to structure in chemistry. What is structure?
2 Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion Theory
A comprehensive coverage with examples for tutorial work
3-6 Symmetry in chemistry
• What are symmetry elements
• Symmetry operations
• Point Groups. What are they and how do we determine them
• Properties of Point groups
• What is a character table
• Symmetry and chirality
• Revision

Semester 2
Structural Inorganic Chemistry (II)
Dr MR Probert

1-3 Structural Models
• Crystal lattices
• The Unit Cell
• Close packing of Spheres as a Model: Efficiency
• Interstitial Sites and radius ratio rule
• Structure of Metals
4-6 Structure and Energetics of Ionic Compounds
• Structure of ionic solids
• Rock salt and Cesium Chloride
• Zinc Blende and Wurtzite
• Rutile and Perovskite
• Structure rationalisation
• Lattice enthalpy and the Born-Lande equation
• The Born-Haber cycle
• Experimental and Calculated Lattice Enthalpies
• Applications of Born-Lande equation and B-H cycle
• Madelung constant
• Born-Mayer and Kapustinskii Equation
• Energies and understanding in the solid state
• Revision

Basic Principles of Inorganic Chemistry (II)
Dr H Kossen

1 Stability constants and formation constants; effects of statistics, charge, bulk, spin state; Chelate effect and macrocyclic effect
2-3 Lewis and Brønsted acids and bases; Hard Soft Acid Base Theory; Stabilization of oxidation states, preferences with ambidentate ligands; proton transfer to and from ligands

First-Row Transition Metal Chemistry
Professor AC Benniston

1 Introduction to transition metals; d-orbitals; Definition of formal oxidation state and d-electron count
2 Trends along the period and resulting variations in range and stability of oxidation states
3-5 Bonding ideas: ionic crystal field treatment; occupation of energy levels in transition-metal complexes; magnetic effects; thermodynamic effects
6-7 Crystal field stabilization energies, electronic spectra, Jahn-Teller Distortion
8-10 Factual survey of the chemistry of the elements Sc-Cu, illustrating ideas from previous lectures

Laboratory Course
Course organiser: Dr J Eriksson
1 Preparation of bis-2,4-pentanedionato oxovanadium (IV) and its adducts with nitrogen bases.
2 Preparation of an oxalato complex of iron (III). Redox titrations for analysis
3 Preparation and characterisation of tin (IV) iodide
4 Preparation of a nickel ammine complex and gravimetric determination of nickel
5 Infra-red spectroscopy and linkage isomerisation

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Tutorial based assessments
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion52:0010:00Writing practical reports
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion220:3011:00Revision for end of semester 2 examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion220:3011:00Revision for end of semester 1 examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30End of semester 2 examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30End of semester 1 examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture421:0042:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical56:0030:002x3h Practical sessions take place over 5 weeks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Tutorial/Feedback sessions
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study175:0075:00Background reading of indicated sections of the course texts and revision of material
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students acquire knowledge and understanding through lectures, tutorials and practical work. Tutorials facilitate individual and group participation in solving problems. Students learn good laboratory practices and techniques through practical classes; formative feedback enables progressive development of these skills. Laboratory classes complement and consolidate learning started in lectures. The planning, organisation and write up of experiments is learnt in practical classes.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A35N/A
Written Examination902A35N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M25composed of several individual laboratory reports as specified in the practical course handbook (8 of equal weighting)
Written exercise2M58 tutorial based assessments
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The skills learnt in the practical course are assessed by written reports.

The exams test the knowledge and understanding of basic inorganic and structural chemistry.

Tutorials and associated assessment facilitate individual and group participation in solving problems.

Students are required to obtain at least 35% averaged over the two examination components in order for the laboratory mark to be included in the final module mark.

Students who score

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