What are some examples of inorganic chemistry?

1 Answer
Mar 31, 2016

Inorganic Chemistry is actually quite diverse, and generally covers the chemistry of transition metals (orbital diagrams, mechanisms, spectra, etc) and main group elements, but I can show some pretty cool select images from my textbook too.


Some things you might learn in Inorganic Chemistry:

  • Abundance and elemental form of certain elements in nature
  • General rules for polarizability (size and electronegativity, generally), reactivity (Hard-Soft Acid-Base Theory), ionic character (ratio of radii, magnitudes of charge, etc), and so on
  • Crystal lattice structures and their general makeup (cubic close-packed, hexagonal close-packed, face-centered cubic, etc)
  • Thermochemistry (Hess's Law, hydration and lattice enthalpies, etc)
  • Electrochemistry (redox reactions, disproportionation and conproportionation reactions, Pourbaix, Frost, and Latimer diagrams, etc)
  • Acid naming and predicting acid strength (oxoacids, hydrohalogenic acids, etc)
  • Transition metal complexes and their colorful nature
  • Crystal Field Theory (#pi# donors, #sigma# donors, #pi# acceptors, stronger-field/weaker-field ligands, d-orbital splitting diagrams [octahedral, tetrahedral, square planar], etc)

and more!


For fun, here's a revolutionary compound called a carbide cluster you might learn about maybe two or three years afterwards.

Inorganic Chemistry, Miessler et al., pg. 3

Some neat aspects:

  • Notice how carbon is making more than 4 bonds! (Your guess is as good as mine as to how.)
  • There's a bridged #\mathbf("C"="O")# on the upper-left part of the compound connected to two #"Ru"# at once. It is interacting with both via its two antibonding #pi^"*"# MOs.

Here's a cool titanium sandwich!

Inorganic Chemistry, Miessler et al., pg. 502

  • Titanium is actually interacting with all eight carbons at once on the uppermost and lowermost rings.
  • Each titanium is likely also interacting with four carbons at once on the central ring (which I'm assuming is an octatetraene ring).

And finally, for some even weirder stuff, here's a "ring-whizzer" mechanism where a compound gives a single #""^1 "H"# #"NMR"# peak at room temperature but multiple peaks at low temperatures:

Inorganic Chemistry, Miessler et al., pg. 529

Inorganic Chemistry, Miessler et al., pg. 530

  • It generally happens with cyclic ligands that are bound via only one atom to the transition metal (#eta_1-"C"_5"H"_5#), where the proton environment keeps changing. At low enough temperatures, this change is detectable, but at high enough temperatures, the signal is an average and we see no peak splitting!
  • If the ligand is bound by all of its atoms (such as #eta_5-"C"_5"H"_5# meaning that a cyclopentadiene ring is bound via all 5 carbons), then it's a symmetric bond to the ring, and thus, any "ring-whizzing" retains the same proton environment and no peak splitting is seen.