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The University of Southampton

CHEM1053 Main group and transition metal chemistry

Module Overview

This module will provide an introduction into the fundamentals of main group and transition metal chemistry, and introduce NMR.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Describe the background to nuclear magnetic resonance, and explain or predict spectral features including chemical shift, coupling, decoupling and isotopomers
  • Discuss aspects of d-block element chemistry including dn configurations, oxidation states and trends, Electrode potentials, Latimer and Frost diagrams, Coordination geometries, isomerism, ligand classifications and bonding interactions
  • Use crystal field theory to explain and predict a range of properties of transition metal complexes
  • Explain periodic trends including variations in electronegativity, oxidation state, metallic character, atomic size and ionisation energy within the periodic table.
  • Describe the structure and chemical properties of elements in Groups 13-18
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Meet the learning outcomes of a co-requisite practical module.


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. 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. Main Group Chemistry: Periodicity – variations in electronegativity, oxidation state, metallic character, atomic size and ionisation energy within the periodic table; 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.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, small group tutorials and laboratory sessions.

Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Wider reading or practice40
Assessment tasks20
Total study time149

Resources & Reading list

C. E. Housecroft and A. G. Sharpe (2018). Inorganic Chemistry. 


Assessment Strategy

Final exam, tutorials and laboratory marks. The latter are accumulated under the co-requisite lab module.


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessed Tutorials 10%
Final Assessment   (2 hours) 60%
Laboratory practicals 30%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

External repeat only possible if lab module is already passed.


To study this module, you will need to also study the following module(s):

CHEM1056Introduction to Practical Chemistry II


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Printing and Photocopying Costs

Students will often be expected to bring a copy of notes that are provided electronically in advance to lectures. This can involve an electronic device (laptop or tablet) or printed copies.


The textbook recommended in this core module may have been purchased in semester 1. It will continue to be used in future core modules and students will benefit from owning their own copies. Some copies are also available in the library.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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