Resolution of Werner complexes -- the COVID edition

Submitted by Adam Johnson / Harvey Mudd College on Fri, 02/05/2021 - 12:44

This is a classic experiment that has been revised and updated numerous times over the years. The experiment can be found in Girolami, Rauchfuss and Angelici, 3rd edition, but that edition removed some purification steps that were present in the earlier edition which has plagued generations of my students with poor resolution of the enantiomers. Marion Cass published a J. Chem. Educ. article in 2015 that included a pH determination and added back in the recrystallization step. This allowed my students to achieve higher yields and greater resolution in Spring 2020.

First Look at Coordination Complexes

When transitioning into inorganic chemistry from organic chemistry, students are surprised by the complexity of metal complexes. To ease this transition, students are asked to look at the crystal structure of a coordination complex [(+/-)cis-dichloro-bis(ethylenediamine)-cobalt(III) chloride monohydrate], make some observations about what they see, and provide a list of questions that they would like answered. Students usually note that there are atoms/ions that are "floating" and are seemingly unattached to anything else in the structure.

Anthony L. Fernandez / Merrimack College Sun, 09/06/2020 - 15:08
Jahn-Teller effect, theory and examples

At a recent SLiThEr workshop, a request was put out for an introduction to the Jahn-Teller effect. I had already prepared several slides showcasing single crystal X-ray data for my class this spring so I put this together with some additional examples from my lab and the literature.  Single crystal XRD data is presented to support the claims.

Adam Johnson / Harvey Mudd College Thu, 08/06/2020 - 18:44

Ferrocene acylation - The Covid-19 Version

Submitted by Chip Nataro / Lafayette College on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 12:56

This is the classic Chromatography of Ferrocene Derivatives experiment from "Synthesis and Technique in Inorganic Chemistry" 3rd Ed. (1986 pp 157-168) by R. J. Angelici.

Job's Method - The Covid-19 Version

Submitted by Chip Nataro / Lafayette College on Thu, 03/19/2020 - 23:03

This is the classic Job's Method experiment from "Synthesis and Technique in Inorganic Chemistry" 2nd Ed. (1977 or 1986 pp 108-114) by R. J. Angelici. There are slight changes from the experiment published in the book but they just include running solutions with ethylenediamine mole fractions of 0.67 and 0.75, so details will not be provided. What is provided are a series of pictures and videos showing the experiment being performed. Also included are the raw files of the absorbance spectra in EXCEL.

Solid State Structures tutorial

Submitted by Terrie Salupo-Bryant / Manchester University on Sat, 03/14/2020 - 12:19

This tutorial will introduce students to some of the three-dimensional crystal structures exhibited by ionic and metallic solids.  They will examine the simple cubic, body-centered cubic, face-centered cubic, and the hexagonal closest-packed systems.  To facilitate visualization of the structures at the atomic level, they will use the Crystal Explorer website at Purdue University.

iPad Screen Recording

Submitted by Anthony L. Fernandez / Merrimack College on Thu, 03/12/2020 - 10:46

Many faculty and students now have iPads and Apple Pencils for use in their classes. At Merrimack, we have a 1:1 iPad program (called Mobile Merrimack) in which all students and faculty are provided an iPad and students are also given an Apple Pencil and a keyboard.


ChemCrafter, from the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation), is a free iPad app that mimics a classic chemistry set. It is set up as a game, with three sections: reactions with water, reactions with acid, and salts. The app shows the progress of the reaction (smoke, color change, etc.) when two elements are mixed in a reaction vessel, and also gives the change in enthalpy of the reaction.

Michelle Personick / Wesleyan University Mon, 03/02/2020 - 16:24

Marvin suite from ChemAxon

Submitted by Anthony L. Fernandez / Merrimack College on Thu, 01/09/2020 - 12:10

It is important for students to be able to effectively communicate the results of their scientific work. This does not only inlcude written and oral communication, but the creation of appropriate representations of the complexes they have investigated. It is crucial that students learn how to draw molecules using electronic structure drawing programs, but site licenses for structure drawing programs can be prohibitive for some institutions.