The University of Southampton

CHEM1036 Fundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry II

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this course is to provide a core for future studies in chemistry and allied subjects, in aspects of inorganic chemistry as specified below and an introduction to basic practical skills including safe working practices (risk, hazard and control measures), laboratory report writing (written and verbal communication of results), error and accuracy Teaching in this course recognises the diversity of our intake in terms of A level syllabus followed and choice of non-Chemistry A level subjects (maths, physics, etc.). Lecture component: The aim of the NMR section of the unit is to provide an introduction to modern NMR spectroscopy, and structure prediction and solution using the technique. The aim of the Transition Metal Elements section of the unit is to provide an introduction to coordination chemistry and the chemistry of compounds of the transition metal elements. The primary objective of the Main Group Elements section of the unit is to provide an introduction to the ‘descriptive chemistry’ of the elements and to demonstrate how electronic properties can influence reactivity, atomic size and other physical and chemical properties of the elements. Practical component: The aim of the practical component of the module is to provide students with the skills that will be needed in their future practical work. Instruction is provided regarding the in the presentation of practical reports, awareness of health and safety procedures, practical skills in the laboratory (and the theory on which they are based) and problem solving in the practical situation. Students will undertake a series of experiments based on the following topics: • Transition metal complexes • Copper glycinate • Iodine clock • pKa of an indicator • Siloxanes • Demonstration chemistry Each experiment is also preceded by a prelaboratory exercise that involves a combination of audio visual resources, accessible via Blackboard, that will help prepare you for the experimental work. A short quiz based on this content is to be completed before starting practical work. There are separate learning outcomes for each experiment and these are further specified in the practical scripts.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the physical basis, the limitations and the information available from NMR spectroscopy as a structural method.
  • Present the results of a practical investigation in a concise manner.
  • Qualitatively predict and/or interpret the NMR spectra of simple molecular species.
  • Qualitatively discuss simple trends in the physical properties of transition metals and their formation of coordination complexes with ligands.
  • Describe bonding models that can be applied to a consideration of the properties of transition metal compounds.
  • Recognise fundamental variables and general trends across the periodic table and predict molecular geometries and structures, recognising the importance of inert-pair effect, coordination geometries, oxidation state, electronegativity, ionisation energy, VSEPR, etc..
  • Identify the structures and properties of some important Groups 13-18 elements and their compounds with a view to gaining a better understanding of broad diversity in their chemical properties, their importance in the natural environment and their role in the development of bonding theories.
  • Evaluate the risks associated with an experiment and understand how to mitigate against those risks.
  • Set up glassware and apparatus to conduct experiments in Inorganic Chemistry.
  • Interpret data from a range of physical techniques to characterise inorganic componds.


• Topic 1 – Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy • Basis of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy • Chemical shift, chemical shielding, coupling, decoupling and isotopomers • Application to general molecular species including main group and transition metal examples • Emphasis placed on and spectral prediction from structure and structural elucidation from spectra • Topic 2 - Transition Metal Chemistry • Properties of the d-block elements, ligands, dn configurations, oxidation states and trends • Electrode potentials, Latimer and Frost diagrams • Coordination geometries, isomerism in coordination complexes • Ligand classifications and bonding interactions • Crystal Field Theory; common crystal field splittings (octahedral, tetrahedral and square-planar) • High and low spin cases, Crystal Field Stabilisation Energy (CFSE), and its structural and thermodynamic consequences • The spectrochemical series, and other factors affecting the crystal field splitting parameter, ? • The Jahn-Teller effect • Colour, electronic spectroscopy (d¹) and selection rules • Magnetism and determination of number of unpaired electrons • Complex stability and the chelate effect • Topic 3 - Main Group Chemistry • Periodicity – variations in electronegativity, oxidation state, metallic character, atomic size and ionisation energy within the periodic table • Comparative main group chemistry • Trends in the chemistry of the elements of Groups 13, 14, 15; bond character and strengths; acid-base chemistry, Brønsted-Lowry systems, Lewis systems and donor-acceptor compounds • Trends in the chemistry of the elements of Groups 16, 17 and 18; investigation of their natural occurrence, halides, hydrides, oxides, oxoacids and interhalogen chemistry • Completion of four practical experiments and associated reports covering a range of topics and skills in inorganic chemistry including the application of a variety of advanced techniques and methodologies (including spectroscopy) to the synthesis and analysis of molecules and materials; the ability to understand and communicate the experimental methods and outcomes; understanding the importance of experimental safety and time management.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, problem-solving Seminars with group working and tutor support Practical chemistry: Prelaboratory e-learning; pre-lab skills lectures/ Seminars; practical sessions, supporting demonstrations, group and one-to-one tuition Practical hours includes pre-laboratory e-learning.

Preparation for scheduled sessions48
Follow-up work24
Wider reading or practice15
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

J S Ogden. Introduction to Molecular Symmetry. 

Andrew Burrows, John Holman, Andrew Parsons, Gwen Pilling, and Gareth Price (2013). Chemistry3: Introducing inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. 

D M P Mingos (1995). Essentials of Inorganic Chemistry 1. 

W G Richards and P R Scott. Energy Levels in Atoms and Molecules. 

M J Winter. Chemical Bonding. 

C. E. Housecroft and A. G. Sharpe (2012). Inorganic Chemistry. 

James Keeler and Peter Wothers (2008). Chemical Stucture and Reactivity. 


Assessment Strategy

The practical and examination components must be passed separately at the module pass mark for the student’s programme, i.e. 40% if core, 25% if compulsory or optional (if compensation is allowed). All absences from practical sessions must be validated. Unexcused absences will result in failure of the module.


In-class Test


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 75%
Practical write-ups 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 75%
Practical write-ups 25%
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