# The 18 Electron Guideline: A Primer

## In-Class Activity

Submitted by Nancy Scott Burke Williams, Scripps College, Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna CollegeThis consists of two parts (and a solution, which is linked below under "Related Resources", but for which you will need a faculty privileges): a primer for students (best if handed out prior to class so that students can read it beforehand, or delivered in pre-lecture format) and a worksheet. The worksheet is designed to be done in small groups with assistance from an instructor. In very large classes, in which the instructor cannot circle amongst the groups, the instructor can work through each example after the groups have a few minutes to work the problem on their own.

The idea is for the students to learn to "count to 18" by figuring out their *own *rules, given that the compounds are 18 (or 16) electron compounds rather than *telling* them the rules for various ligands.

Omitted from this worksheet are the more complex cases: compounds with metal-ligand multiple bonds and nitrosyls, since these are often handled later in the organometallics unit by many instructors and since instructors and textbooks differ in their treatment of these ligands.

Attachment | Size |
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18ElectronRulePrimer.doc | 64.5 KB |

18ElectronRulePrimer.pdf | 97.81 KB |

18ElectronGuidelineWorksheet.pdf | 204.53 KB |

18ElectronGuidelineWorksheet.doc | 353 KB |

Students will be able to determine d^{n} electon counts, oxidation states, and overall electron count for most organometallic complexes.

Students will be able to explain the rationale behind the counting schemes and to articulate the pros and cons of each method.

Students will be able to identify and become familiar with a number of common ligands without time being specifically dedicated to a survey of these ligands.

Students. Implements of writing.

See above.

## Comments

## Can't wait to use this.

This looks great, Scott! I really like the way the worksheet guides the students, with a short explanation about the complex and a table that leads them through the counting. And I like the fact that the students have to count electrons "both ways." I will definitely use this next time I teach inorganic!

## Counting to 18 can be hard!

## I used this in Inorganic II

I used this in Inorganic II this semester. It saved me when I was mixing up the two methods myself.

Sheila SmithAssociate Professor of ChemistryUniversity of Michigan- Dearborn313-583-6399(office)734-788-8144 (cell)

## Glad to help out!

## I used this activity in my

## I teach this method almost

I teach this method almost exactly the same exact way you do. I have a similar handout which I will post and link back to here. Generally, most students work through the examples I provide and don't have any problems. The hardest part I have found is for students to recognize which ligands are X's and which are L's.

Adam

## I have used this as a handout

I have used this as a handout for when I had to be gone to a conference. I used the "Shark Tank" method - no introduction other than "here's your assignment for when I'm gone". It was very successful. I had to help them with a few of the concepts, but overall a great assignment.

## Can anyone (Nancy) explain

Can anyone (Nancy) explain why [Fe(CO)

_{4}]^{-}is drawn in what appears to be a see-saw geometry on question 1 on the worksheet? I have used this worksheet before, but today I noticed that the geometry was significantly different from the tetrahedral geometry that I expected. I thought perhaps this was an organometallic thing that I just didn't know, so I looked and found this paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja00446a022. The widest C-Fe-C angle they mention is 154.7° when Cd^{2+}is the counterion, but the angles are close to 109° when the counterion is K^{+}or Na(crypt)^{+}. Is there a story here? Or is this really just chemdraw?Above notwithstanding, I also like this worksheet because it does a good job helping students learn to identify L and X ligands for themselves rather than memorizing a bunch of rules. In their preclass responses (JiTT) for this section, my students cry out for practice, and this worksheet answers the call.

## I may be the first person

I may be the first person ever to get through the entire primer, but today my students noticed that the Ni allyl dimer (or dimmer?) in the last problem, has the formula of allyl given as C

_{3}H_{3}-. Double checked with Nancy and this is, indeed, an error. (What?!! I'm a bioinorganic chemist, what do I know?)I made a pencast to correct the issues that we had in class. Happy to share, but that doesn't seem to be allowed on a comment

## I used some of the practice

I used some of the practice problems today as well as Adam's one-page intro. It worked well - a good progression of difficulty. Thanks, Nancy and Adam!

## We totally need the CBE

We totally need the CBE version of this. Maybe the next time someone teaches electron counting, they could assign students to do that! In the mean time, there are some great CBE resources already on VIPEr.