CHEM20140 Introductory Transition Metal Chemistry

Academic Year 2024/2025

This course is an introduction to transition metal chemistry, examining the formation, shape, and properties of metal-ligand complexes. Recent literature complements fundamental background in the subject along with examples from industrial and research chemistry. This material gives an insight into macroscopic properties such as colour, reactivity and magnetic properties of transition metal complexes as a result of crystal field considerations. Topics covered include: Atomic structure and orbitals; Prediction of molecular geometry; Molecular orbital theory for simple diatomics; Symmetry elements and point groups; Lewis acids and bases; Metal-ligand bonding and coordination; Coordination geometry and conformation; Chelate and macrocyclic effects; Crystal field theory.
The laboratory component reinforces the above topics and provides instruction in the synthesis and characterisation of coordination complexes and the use of coordination complexes in analytical techniques.
Learning is reinforced by small group tutorial sessions and practice questions.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students are expected to:
- understand the nature of and predict the shape of atomic orbitals from the fundamental quantum numbers
- understand and predict the nature of bonding interactions in diatomics using molecular orbital theory
- distinguish and illustrate covalent and coordination bonds
- identify and predict the geometry of metal complexes
- assign oxidation states to ligands and metal ions
- apply the hard-soft-acid-base principle and chelate effects to determine relative product stability
- predict the magnetic behaviour and stability of complexes and their crystal field stabilisation energy

Indicative Module Content:

* Fundamentals of atomic structure and form of the periodic table.
* Bonding and molecular orbital theory for diatomics.
* General properties of the transition metals as elements and ions.
* Ligands and bonding to metals.
* Formation and stability of metal-ligand complexes
* Chelation and macrocyclic effects.
* Naming complexes.
* Molecular symmetry and point groups.
* Crystal field theory: fundamentals, applications and limitations.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours






Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The material is presented in lectures, which is reinforced by small-group tutorials and practice question sheets. Students will undertake autonomous learning to expand upon the themes and topics covered, using appropriate textbooks and online resources. Material learnt in the lectures will be underpin the laboratory practical sessions, where students will undertake the synthesis and characterisation of ligands and transition metal complexes, accompanied by analytical determination experiments. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade

Not yet recorded.

Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive feedback on tutorials and lab reports through the semester. Question sheets used during the course are worked through in detail towards the end of the course ahead of the exam.

Name Role
Dr Tom Hooper Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor James Sullivan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer