This learning object focuses on evaluating catalysis data in high impact journals. I use a communications article published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (Reek et al. "High-Precision Catalysts: Regioselective Hydroformylation of Internal Alkenes by Encapsulated Rhodium Complexes," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 11344-11345) and have the students calculate the turnover (TON) and turnover frequency (TOF) for a given catalytic system published in the literature.
There are various goals for this activity, which reinforces fundamental inorganic chemistry concepts learned in early courses.
1) The student will apply concepts focused on determining the oxidation state and electron counting for a given metal center.
2) The student will apply concepts focused on bonding theories (e.g. Crystal Field Theory).
3) The student will apply concepts focused on structural analysis using NMR spectroscopy.
4) The student will calculate the turnover, actual turnover, and TOF using the data provided in the paper.
All students are required to read the 2006 JACS article focused on the rhodium catalysts. Prior to reading the article, it is best to give a general lecture focused on an introduction to catalysis. I have used lecture notes posted online by Prof. George Stanley in the Department of Chemistry at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA). The students can then work in teams (2-3) to complete the in-class exercise.
The students report out their answers to the problems as a team and explain their solutions to the entire class.The instructor provides feedback focusing on level of knowledge demonstrated and balanced contributions from team members.