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Unit information: Intermediate Inorganic & Materials Chemistry in 2020/21

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Unit name Intermediate Inorganic & Materials Chemistry
Unit code CHEM20170
Credit points 30
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Hall
Open unit status Not open

CHEM10003, CHEM10004, CHEM10900 (or equivalent mathematics unit as approved by the School).



School/department School of Chemistry
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit develops the introduction to inorganic chemistry given in CHEM10003 to provide the essential base of inorganic chemistry required for advanced study at Levels 6 and 7 (Years 3 and 4). It covers the main areas of the subject e.g. main group chemistry, the organometallic and coordination compounds of transition metals including catalysis, materials chemistry and applications of NMR spectroscopy and an introduction to group theory.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Recognise and define symmetry elements and point groups;
  • Use character tables and irreducible representations to predict the vibrations spectroscopy and molecular orbitals of a molecule;
  • Discuss the basic limitations/extent of information obtained from NMR spectroscopy;
  • Be able to calculate the equilibrium number of defects in a crystal;
  • Be able to state how magnetic domains give rise to magnetic hysteresis;
  • Be able to distinguish between hard and soft magnets and the features that give rise to both;
  • State which elements will produce energy from fission or fusion;
  • Be able to state the difference between fissile and fertile nuclei;
  • Be able to calculate the physical properties of superconductors using the critical magnetic field equation.
  • Be able to explain the deficiencies of Crystal Field Theory and thus explain the basics of Ligand Field Theory;
  • Describe the kinetics of complexation and inorganic reaction mechanisms;
  • Apply Molecular Orbital Theory to the construction of Ligand Group Orbitals;
  • Understanding trends and periodicity in the chemistry of the s and p-block elements;
  • Brief introduction to main group polymers and other selected topics;
  • Application in Wade’s rules in boron hydride cluster chemistry;
  • Recognise the fundamental steps in an organometallic catalytic cycle and how to combine them to form whole cycles;
  • Define the principles of organometallic chemistry;

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a blended combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions. Synchronous sessions include lecture style and interactive delivery and workshops. Workshops will in particular provide opportunity for live interaction with groups of students, feedback on exercises set as independent study and preparation for forthcoming material. There will be associated asynchronous activity involving independent study, problem solving and self-directed exercises. Synchronous revision sessions as well as drop-in clinics will be offered.

Assessment Details

'Materials' Coursework which will include an online quiz and a set of asynchronous tasks based on the lectures. (20%) End-of-TB2 timed, open-book examination (80%)

Reading and References

Essential reading will be from the following books:

Inorganic Chemistry 6th Edition, M Weller, T Overton, J Rourke and F Armstrong, Oxford University Press 2014.

Further reading from: Introduction to Organic Spectroscopy, L. M. Harwood and T. D. W. Claridge, Oxford Chemistry Primer 1997; Periodicity and the s- and p-block Elements, N C Norman, Oxford Primer, 1997.