3 Jun 2017

Literature Discussion of R3CH→ SiFR3 Agostic Interactions

Literature Discussion

Submitted by Tanya Gupta, South Dakota State University

The set of questions in this literature discussion activity is intended to engage students in reading and interpreting scientific literature and to develop a clear and coherent understanding of agostic interactions. The activity is based on a paper by Dorsey & Gabbai (2008). The paper describes agostic interactions in a silicon-based compound (R3C-H→SiFR3). The set of questions in this literature discussion activity is appropriate for an upper division course in inorganic chemistry. The research described in the article ties together concepts of agostic interactions and their impact on the coordination geometry of a Lewis acidic species. The discussion activity includes guided questions for students to understand and determine the presence of agostic interactions experimentally and through computational methods. The activity has specific questions related to bonding, structure, synthesis, characterization, theoretical and computational methods used in the literature. The activity may require reviewing some secondary sources.

Learning Goals: 

Students will be able to..

  • Define an agostic interaction and relate it to other types of bonding.

  • Describe how the agostic interaction affects the coordination geometry of a Lewis acidic atom.

  • Provide examples of how the presence of an agostic interaction can be determined experimentally and through computational methods.

  • Differentiate between computational methods in terms of the information they can provide.

  • Find related sources of information to aid in comprehension of the concepts in the article.


Implementation Notes: 

This literature discussion was developed at the VIPEr 2017 workshop at Franklin and Marshall College so it has not yet been implemented. The authors believed that implementation of this article is best for an inorganic course that is post-organic, post-spectroscopy. It could be helpful after a discussion of 3-center 2-electron bonding and/or Lewis acidity/basicity. As with all lit. discussion LOs, this article also provides a valuable experience in reading the literature, including an interpretation and analysis of the experimental section. There are many questions included in this activity and instructors may want to pick and choose these questions and adapt it to their class.

Time Required: 
1 class (50 minutes)
Evaluation Methods: 

Some discussions questions can be taken out and used for exams, quizzes or problem sets.

The instructor can develop a rubric to evaluate these questions based on their needs.

Evaluation Results: 

Monitoring student discussions, or grading student written responses based on implementation.

Creative Commons License: 
Creative Commons Licence


6-14-17 I'm still working on this. JLS

This is a really interesting paper!

I have a few questions and suggestions.

1. First, the handout needs to be proofread one more time. There are some repeated words.

2. For this learning goal, what does "information" mean?

Differentiate between computational methods in terms of the information they can provide.

3. The last learning goal in the handout isn't listed here in the LO. (●      Extract information regarding to the methods used to generate the data presented in the article from the experimental section.) I recommend deleting it from the handout.

4. While there may have been a reason for bulleting the questions in the handout, I think they should be numbered.

5. Students may benefit from a little more guidance in the question "Compare the Si-H interaction in this paper with the bonding in diborane." What do you want them to compare? All of the bond lengths and angles?


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