CHEMY203-21A (HAM)

Inorganic Chemistry

15 Points

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Division of Health Engineering Computing & Science
School of Science
Chemistry and Applied Physics


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Paper Description

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This paper covers aspects of inorganic chemistry including structure and reactivity of the main-group elements; point-group symmetry; molecular orbital and crystal field theories; transition metal coordination complexes. The concepts studied in this paper provide the framework for the study of inorganic chemistry at higher levels e.g. CHEMY303.

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Paper Structure

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This paper is taught through:

- 24 lectures

- one three hour laboratory session every second week plus laboratory reports

- an essay on an individual assigned topic in inorganic chemistry.

- an assignment on symmetry.

- an assignment using the Cambridge Structural Database (CSD)

A one-hour tutorial will generally be held each week, to discuss various aspects of the course, including revision of lecture content, essay preparations, and interpretation of laboratory results etc.

Important note for international students: For international students in New Zealand under student visas, regular attendance is part of your visa obligation and is checked as a requirement on the University under the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students, to which the University is a signatory. Academic staff are formally required to monitor attendance in classes and submission of compulsory assessment events/items and to report to Waikato International in the event that any problem with irregular attendance or non-submission is not resolved.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • ...........
    1. Rationalise important trends in structure, bonding and reactivity in main group elements and their compounds of groups 1-2 and 13-18.
    2. Use valence shell electron pair repulsion (VSEPR) theory to predict the geometries of polyatomic compounds.
    3. Identify symmetry elements in simple polyatomic compounds and assign a point group.
    4. Apply a qualitative description of molecular orbital (MO) theory to simple diatomic and polyatomic compounds (organic and inorganic) and to use MO methods in rationalisation of molecular properties such as magnetism and bonding characteristics.
    5. Apply an understanding of electron configurations, and crystal field theory to account for the properties of transition metal coordination complexes (excluding organometallic compounds) and to interpret structural, spectroscopic and magnetic data for transition metal compounds.
    6. Apply the rules of nomenclature to name transition metal coordination complexes.
    7. Identify different types of isomerism commonly found in coordination complexes.
    8. Carry out syntheses of transition metal coordination complexes and/or main group compounds under direction, and characterise the products as appropriate by magnetic susceptibility measurements, UV-visible spectroscopy, IR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry or NMR spectroscopy.
    9. Search for structures using the Cambridge Structural Database, and to extract information and generate appropriate diagrams using the software.
    10. Carry out qualitative investigations into the chemistry of transition metal compounds and to account for experimental observations.
    11. Write concise and clear reports with coherent discussion supported by appropriate referencing and using appropriate language and formatting.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Important note:

At this stage it is assumed that all assessment items will occur on campus and in person.

These items will NOT be open-book.

In the event of a lockdown preventing in person assessment, each assessment item will be replaced by a 50:50 mark split between an online open-book written assessment and an individual oral examination; the latter will NOT be open-book. In the event that your mark for the oral assessment is significantly lower than your mark for the written assessment, you will have an opportunity to sit a second oral assessment and if there continues to be a disparity between your performance in the two parts of the assessment you will be required to undertake an in-person written test. In the event that the oral examination occurs via Zoom or some similar program, you will be required to have video operating, to look at the camera during the examination and to have your hands in view. If you do not operate with video, you will be deemed not to have undertaken the oral assessment item.

We have been obliged to impose these measures because in 2020 a significant number of students were caught taking advantage of online assessment to cheat.

Your attention is directed to the student code of conduct which specifically excludes plagiarism or copying the written material of others and purchasing answers from online agencies.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 60:40. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 40% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 60:40 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 40% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Essay
1 Apr 2021
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Test 1
9 Apr 2021
12:00 PM
  • In Class: In Lecture
3. Symmetry Assignment
14 May 2021
4:00 PM
  • Email: Lecturer
  • Hand-in: In Lab
4. Cambridge Structural Database assignment
28 May 2021
4:00 PM
  • Email: Lecturer
  • Hand-in: In Lab
5. Laboratory performance
  • Other:
6. Laboratory reports
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
  • Hand-in: Faculty Information (FG Link)
7. Exam
  • Other:
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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A number of textbooks relevant to CHEMY203 can be obtained, in e-book format, for no charge, through Waikato Reading Lists.

For students continuing to inorganic chemistry at Level 3, Inorganic Chemistry, by C. E. Housecroft and A. G. Sharpe (Pearson), available in the Library at QD151.3 .H68 2012 is a very useful resource. The Library also contains a number of other general inorganic and coordination chemistry textbooks that will be of use.

For students proposing to advance inorganic chemistry to MSc level, the following is recommended: N.N. Greenwood and A. Earnshaw, Chemistry of the Elements (Pergamon), or F.A. Cotton and G. Wilkinson, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (Wiley-Interscience).

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Recommended Readings

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Practical Skills in Chemistry, second Edition, J. R. Dean et al, Prentice Hall, 2001 is a very useful resource; several copies are available in the Library. This book contains material on general skills (study and examination skills, IT and library resources, communicating information and presenting data), together with information directly relevant to the paper (writing essays, reporting practical work, writing literature reviews. It also contains information on essential practical skills in chemistry (recrystallisation, reflux, evaporation, infrared spectroscopy, NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry). QD33.2 .P73 2011

d-Block Chemistry

Chemical Bonding

Both these very readable titles are by M.J. Winter, and published by Oxford University Press. A limited number of copies are available in the library.

A variety of Library resources are available for the assignment, and include a variety of reference works such as Encyclopedias and multi-volume reference works. Details of these will be provided on the Moodle page.

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Other Resources

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Lecture notes can be downloaded and printed from the Moodle page. The laboratory manual can likewise be self-printed, or a bound copy purchased from Waikato Print.

Lectures will be recorded using Panopto, though we are unable to guarantee the quality or even existence of recordings in the unlikely event that serious technical issues arise.

A molecular model kit will be a valuable tool for the three-dimensional visualisation of molecules. These can be bought from internet trading companies, or alternatively the Chemistry Programme has a limited number for sale. To view and/or purchase one of these please contact Bill Henderson in the first instance.

All students taking CHEMY203 must have a laboratory coat, which will be required for all laboratory classes. This can be purchased from the Science Store if you do not already have one.
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Online Support

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This paper has a Moodle page ( where you will be able to access lecture notes, the laboratory manual, and other useful resources.

PLEASE NOTE: Moodle will be used for class notices etc. and it is your responsibility to check the site regularly. Instructions provided on Moodle and in laboratory classes are considered to be given to the class as a whole.

A number of online quizzes will be available on Moodle, and students are strongly recommended to complete these as an aid to understanding the lecture content.

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The total workload expected for this paper is 150 hours.

There are a total of 24 hours of lectures, plus up to an additional 12 hours of tutorials. Students are required to complete 18 hours of laboratory work.

The remaining hours are to be managed by the student to complete the weekly laboratory reports, complete various learning activities, work on the essay and assignment, and to study for the test and final exam.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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This paper is required for the Chemistry major.
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Prerequisites: CHEMY101 or CHEM111




Restricted papers: CHEM203, CHEM211, CHEM213

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