CHEM40080 Reactivity and Change

Academic Year 2024/2025

The course deals with reactivity and change in inorganic chemistry. It is split in three parts. The first part will deal with the use of transition metal catalysis in polymerisation chemistry. The use of early and late transition metal complexes in polymer synthesis will be presented. Monomers, i.e. the principal building blocks will include linear and cyclic olefins and enyne compounds. The two main types of polymerisation methods presented here are migratory insertion polymerisation and ring-opening olefin metathesis polymerisation. Related polymerisation methods, which involve the use of other transition metal complexes, will be discussed as well. Conventional multi-component catalysts and well-defined single component and single site catalysts will be presented. Specialised catalyst systems that promote polymer chain growth in two or more directions are also included.
In the second part of this module, the focus is on functional materials. Topics to be covered include solid-state batteries, metal-organic frameworks and crystalline photovoltaics. The properties of each class of material will be rationalised through understanding their structure and the means of describing network topologies will be demonstrated.
The third part of the module will cover advanced chemistry of the main group elements and their uses. There will be a brief summary of the s-block elements and their uses as reductants and catalysts but the main focus will be the p-block elements. Common structures and bonding of the compounds of p-block elements will be discussed. The Lewis acidity and basicity of the compounds of the p-block will be examined, including their use as Frustrated Lewis Pairs and in catalysis. The formation and reactivity of low- and high-valent main group species will be considered. The practical aspects of multinuclear NMR spectroscopy used to study main group compounds will be covered

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Following completion of this module the students will be expected to
i) demonstrate knowledge of polymerisation methodologies that involve the use of transition metal alkyl and carbene compounds,
ii) understand features of early and late transition metal catalysts in olefin polymerisation chemistry.
iii) describe polymerisation processes that are important in academia and industry
iv) explain transition metal - promoted polymerisation processes that involve linear olefins, strained cyclic olefins and enyne compounds.
v) outline ring-opening polymerisations with polymer chain growth in one and more directions.
demonstrate knowledge of olefin/carbon monoxide alternating copolymerisations.
vi) rationalize reaction mechanisms, polymer stereochemistry, structural analysis, polymer morphology and the relationship between structure and thermo-mechanical properties of polyolefin compositions that are obtained via transition metal catalysis.
vii) understand the concepts behind lithium ion batteries, MOFs and perovskite-type photovoltaics.
xviii) demonstrate a knowledge of network topology and describe topolgies using Schlafli notation
ix) demonstrate an understanding of structure=-property relationships in the solid state
x) demonstrate knowledge of and predict the structure and bonding of main group compounds (using VSEPR, Wade’s rules etc.)
xi) explain how Lewis acid and basic main group species can be used to enhance reactivity and describe the concept and application of Frustrated Lewis pairs.
xii) predict and explain the reactivity of low- and high-valent main group species.
xiii) show how NMR spectroscopy can be used to elucidate the structure of main group compounds and explain and predict the properties of NMR spectra.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This is a predominantly lecture-based module. Teaching will include online course delivery. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

This module is intended for students in the final year of an Honours Chemistry degree program or post graduate students in a Chemical discipline. Other students wishing to take this module must have a comparable background in chemistry and must consult the School.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
CHEM40780 - Bond activation, taught MSc

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
Summer Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

The class will be given the correct answers to the continuous assessment exercises after they have done the exercises and typical errors/mistakes observed will be outlined and discussed.

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