Solid State and Materials Chemistry

15 Jun 2018
Evaluation Methods: 

I typically evaluate this activity through class participation although the answer key is posted after class to let the students evaluate their own understanding of concepts.  The students do know that they will be tested on the material within the activity and usually I have a density problem on the exam.

Evaluation Results: 

This activity is designed to give the students more freedom as they move from the first density calculation to the last set of calculations.  Within the last set of calculations, they encounter a hexagonal unit cell so that may require some additional intervention to get them to think about how to calculate the volume of a hexagonal unit cell.

Description: 

This activity is designed to relate solid-state structures to the density of materials and then provide a real world example where density is used to design a new method to explore nanotoxicity in human health.  Students can learn how to calculate the density of different materials (gold, cerium oxide, and zinc oxide) using basic principles of solid state chemistry and then compare it to the centrifugation method that was developed to evaluate nanoparticle dose rate and agglomeration in solution.

 

Learning Goals: 

A student should be able to calculate a unit cell volume from structural information, determine the mass of one unit cell, and combine these two parameters to calculate the density for both cubic and hexagonal structures.  In addition, students will have an opportunity to read a scientific article and summarize the major findings, place data in a table, and explain the similarities and differences between the densities calculated in the activity and the experimental values that are reported in the literature.

Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
Equipment needs: 

None

Prerequisites: 
Implementation Notes: 

I have used this activity in our first semester inorganic chemistry course when we cover solid-state materials.  One thing to note is that I do use 2-D projections to describe structures and we cover that in a previous activity.  You could remove 2-D projections from this activity if it is not something that you previously covered.  

 

Time Required: 
This activity usually takes about 40 to 45 minutes.
3 Jun 2017
Evaluation Methods: 

Evaluation methods could include grading as an in-class worksheet, trading with a partner for peer grading or turned in as an out-of-class graded homework assignment.

Evaluation Results: 

Currently, this activity has not been tested in a classroom.  Please post how your students did!

Description: 

This in-class activity is designed to assist students with the visualization of solid-state close-packed structures, using metal-sulfide nanocrystalline materials as a an example system.  Students will be asked to visualize and describe both hexagonal closest packed (hcp) and cubic closest packed (ccp) structure types, and isolate the tetrahedral and octahedral holes within each structure type.  Lasty, students will be asked to compare and contrast four metal-sulfide unit cells discussed in the paper below.

 

Powell, A.E., Hodges J.M., Schaak, R.E. Preserving Both Anion and Cation Sublattice Features during a Nanocrystal Cation-Exchange Reaction: Synthesis of a Metastable Wurtzite-Type CoS and MnSJ. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 471-474.

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.5b10624

Learning Goals: 

In answering these questions, a student will…

  •  ...develop stronger visualaztion skills for extended, solid state materials;
  •  ...compare the packing sequence of close packed structures;
  •  ...locate tetrahedral and octahedral holes in close packed systems;
  •  ...count the number of tetrahedral / octahedral holes relative to the lattice ions; and
  •  …determine the number of atoms in a unit cell.
Equipment needs: 

The use of software - such as the demo version of CrystalMaker (http://www.crystalmaker.co.uk) or StudioViewer (Esko - app stores) - will be really helpful. StudioViewer can be run on cell phones, tablets, or MacOS devises. CrystalMaker is available for both Mac and PC. 

Instructions on using Studio Viewer to visualize structures on mobile devices are available in the learning object, Visualizing solid state structures using CrystalMaker generated COLLADA files.

 

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Implementation Notes: 

This learning object was developed at the 2017 MARM IONiC workshop on VIPEr and Literature Discussions. It has not yet been implemented.

This could be assigned for homework, but would likely work better in class with guidance. 

Time Required: 
This will probably take 50 minutes depending on how much work with models you do.
3 Jun 2017

Literature Discussion of "A stable compound of helium and sodium at high pressure"

Submitted by Katherine Nicole Crowder, University of Mary Washington
Evaluation Methods: 

Students could be evaluated based on their participation in the in-class discussion or on their submitted written answers to assigned questions.

Evaluation Results: 

This LO has not been used in a class at this point. Evaluation results will be uploaded as it is used (by Spring 2018 at the latest).

Description: 

This paper describes the synthesis of a stable compound of sodium and helium at very high pressures. The paper uses computational methods to predict likely compounds with helium, then describe a synthetic protocol to make the thermodynamically favored Na2He compound. The compound has a fluorite structure and is an electride with the delocalization of 2e- into the structure.

This paper would be appropriate after discussion of solid state structures and band theory.

The questions are divided into categories and have a wide range of levels.

Dong, X.; Oganov, A. R.; Goncharov, A. F.; Stavrou, E.; Lobanov, S.; Saleh, G.; Qian, G.-R.; Zhu, Q.; Gatti, C.; Deringer, V. L.; et al. A stable compound of helium and sodium at high pressure. Nature Chemistry 2017, 9 (5), 440–445 DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2716.

Corequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

After reading and discussing this paper, students will be able to

  • Describe the solid state structure of a novel compound using their knowledge of unit cells and ionic crystals
  • Apply band theory to a specific material
  • Describe how XRD is used to determine solid state structure
  • Describe the bonding in an electride structure
  • Apply periodic trends to compare/explain reactivity
Implementation Notes: 

The questions are divided into categories (comprehensive questions, atomic and molecular properties, solid state structure, electronic structure and other topics) that may or may not be appropriate for your class. To cover all of the questions, you will probably need at least two class periods. Adapt the assignment as you see fit.

CrystalMaker software can be used to visualize the compound. ICE model kits can also be used to build the compound using the template for a Heusler alloy.

Time Required: 
2 class periods
3 Jun 2017

An ion exchange method to produce metastable wurtzite metal sulfide nanocrystals

Submitted by Janet Schrenk, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Evaluation Methods: 

Evaluation methods are at the discretion of the instructor. For example, you may ask students to provide written answers to the questions, evaluate whether they participated in class discussion, or ask students to present their answers to specific questions to the class.

Description: 

In this literature discussion, students use a paper from the literature to explore the synthesis, structure, characterization (powder XRD, EDS and TEM) and energetics associated with the production of a metastable wurtzite CoS phase. Students also are asked define key terms and acronyms used in the paper; identify the goal of the experiments and determine if the authors met their goal. They examine the fundamental concepts around the key crystal structures available.  

 

Preserving Both Anion and Cation Sublattice Features during a Nanocrystal Cation-Exchange Reaction: Synthesis of a Metastable Wurtzite-Type CoS and MnS

Powell, A.E., Hodges J.M., Schaak, R.E. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 471-474.

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.5b10624

 

There is an in class activitiy specifically written for this paper. 

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

In answering these questions, a student will be able to…

  • define important scientific terms and acronyms associated with the paper;

  • describe the rocksalt, NiAs, wurtzite, and zinc blende in terms of anion packing and cation coordination;

  • differentiate between the structure types described in the paper;

  • explain the difference between thermodynamically stable and metastable phases and relate it to a free energy diagram; and

  • describe the structural and composition information obtained from EDS, powder XRD, and TEM experiments.

Implementation Notes: 

This learning object was created at the 2017 IONiC Workshop on VIPEr and Literature Discussion. It has not yet been used in class.

Time Required: 
50 minutes
10 Apr 2017

Redox Chemistry and Modern Battery Technology

Submitted by Zachary Tonzetich, University of Texas at San Antonio
Evaluation Methods: 

I do not grade this activity, but if I did, I would look for class participation in the discussion or assign several of the questions to be turned in at a later date.

Evaluation Results: 

My impression of this activity is that it really helps students see the value of redox chemistry. In my experience, the aspects of redox chemistry we teach students (balancing equations, calculating cell potentials, etc.) seem both difficult and esoteric. This activity reinforces these concepts while demonstrating their importance to modern life. One of the biggest realizations the students come to is the relationship between cell voltage and the mass of the materials involved in the redox reaction.

Description: 

This In-Class Activity is a series of instructor-guided discussion questions that explore lithium-ion batteries through the lens of simple redox chemistry. I use this exercise as a review activity in my Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry course to help prepare for examinations. However, my primary purpose with this exercise is to impress upon students how basic concepts in redox chemistry and solid-state structure are directly relevant to technologies they use everyday. I do not focus too heavily on the design or operation of the batteries themselves, as other exercises published on VIPEr already do a very good job of that. My intention is to demonstrate how a basic knowledge of redox chemistry is the first step in understanding seemingly complex technologies.

Learning Goals: 

The primary goal of this In-Class Activity is for students to solidify their understanding of redox reactions, cell voltages and the relationship between electrical energy and potential. The exercise is also designed to show students how these considerations are part of the design of modern batteries. A secondary aspect of the activity explores the solid-state structure of metal-oxides and how these materials are important to the operation of the battery. At the conclusion of the activity, the student should be familiar enough with calculaing cell voltages and free energy changes that they can critically evaluate the components of a standard battery.

Equipment needs: 

None.

Course Level: 
Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Implementation Notes: 

I display the pdf file on screen and use the white board to work out simple arithmetic aspects of the exercise, while soliciting responses from the class.

Time Required: 
45 minutes
27 Mar 2017

Nanomaterials for Carbon Dioxide Reduction

Submitted by Anne Bentley, Lewis & Clark College
Evaluation Methods: 

The problems presented here represented half the points on the final exam – I have included point totals to give an idea of the weight assigned to each problem.

Evaluation Results: 

Twelve students were enrolled in my course in the fall 2016. The average overall score for these problems was 78%.

For problem 1b, I calculated the oxidation numbers using the familiar general chemistry method of assigning oxygen as –2 and hydrogen as +1. Students recently coming through organic may have some other way to do it, and you may need to provide directions for your students about your preferred method.  I think I could have worded part (c) better to try to emphasize the redox processes involved. I wanted them to think of combustion, but I think they needed to be specifically prompted, such as "Give an example of the combustion processes that generate CO2 and trace the oxidation state of carbon through the reaction." Overall my students scored 86% on problem 1.

The second problem (about another method that could be used to measure d-spacing) was fairly hit or miss.  Five students got full credit, six students got 3 points, and one got zero. Eleven out of twelve did answer part (a) correctly.  I realized as I made this LO that the article says the carbon-based material doesn’t diffract X-rays, but doesn’t actually directly explain whether or not the Cu nanoparticles diffracted X-rays, so you may need to adjust the question to be technically accurate.

Question three (re: surfactants in nanoparticle synthesis) referred back to knowledge from earlier in the course. The overall score was 61%.

Question 4 (define and describe electrodes) was fairly straightforward, and students scored 85%.

Question 5 caused some confusion, as some students missed that I was looking for “carbon-containing” products only. I didn’t count off for that mistake, but it made the problem harder for students who included hydrogen in each box.  Overall, students did very well on this problem (89% correct).

Question 6 – again, not too much trouble here (84% correct).

Question 7 – I was surprised that students didn’t do better on this question, as I thought that water reduction was mentioned often in the article.  Only three (of 12) students scored 5 points on this problem, and the average score was 53%.  This was probably my favorite question, as it foreshadows electrochemistry topics I cover in my inorganic course.

Description: 

This literature discussion is based on an article describing the use of copper nanoparticles on an N-doped textured graphene material to carry out the highly selective reduction of CO2 to ethanol (Yang Song et al., “High-Selectivity Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 to Ethanol using a Copper Nanoparticle / N-Doped Graphene Electrode” ChemistrySelect 2016, 1, 6055-6061.  DOI: 10.1002/slct.201601169). The article provides a good introduction to the concepts of electrochemical reduction, selectivity and recycling of fossil fuels. The literature discussion assignment shared here was used as half of the final exam in a half-credit nanomaterials chemistry course, but could be adapted for use as a take-home or in-class assignment.

Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

After reading this paper and working through the problems, a student will be able to:

  • assign oxidation states to carbon and trace the oxidation and reduction of carbon through fossil fuel combustion and CO2 conversion
  • describe the role of control experiments in studying the CO2 conversion presented in the article
  • define the word “selective” in the context of this research
  • use the proposed mechanism to explain why the electrode studied produces ethanol in such a high proportion
  • identify the primary reaction competing with CO2 reduction for available electrons
Implementation Notes: 

These questions comprised half of the final exam for my half-credit nanomaterials chemistry course in the fall of 2016.  I gave the article to the students one week ahead of time. They were encouraged to read the article, make any small notes they liked, and meet with me in office hours with questions. At the final exam they were allowed to use their copy of the article, but they were also required to hand in their copy with their exam so that I could make sure they hadn't written lots of extraneous information on the exam copy.

The nanomaterials course features near-weekly homework assignments centered around articles from the literature. Because I used this article at the end of the course, students were already familiar with nanomaterials synthesis and characterization techniques. Thus, some of the questions I asked relied on previous knowledge. 

Please feel free to adapt these questions and add some of your own. Leave comments describing any new questions you’ve added.

Time Required: 
one hour
3 Mar 2017

In-class peer review

Submitted by S. Chantal E. Stieber, Cal Poly Pomona
Evaluation Methods: 

Student participation was evaluated during the in-class portion based on the questions students asked. 

The formal peer review homework was evaluated based on completion, level of thought and thoroughness.

Evaluation Results: 

Overall, students were very interested in this topic and had not formally learned about the process before. There was a very lively discussion and a lot of questions were asked. All students received full credit for participation. 

Similarly, once students received their classmate's paper for peer review, they took the process very seriously and carefully went through the paper and answered the worksheet questions. 

I was very impressed by the high quality of the formal peer reviews that were turned in as homework. Students clearly spent a lot of time to carefully think about the paper and craft a reasonable response. Most students received full-credit. 

Description: 

This activity includes questions for students to answer to help guide them through the process of peer review. It was designed to assist students in writing peer reviews for research reports written by their classmates, but could be applied to literature articles as well.

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

A student will be able to:

-Explain how the peer-review process works

-Critically read through a research article

-Carefully review a research article

-Write a professional peer review

Implementation Notes: 

An overview of peer review was given with three powerpoint slides. Students then worked through a modified Q&A of the peer review module "Peer Review - How does it work?" posted by Michael Norris on VIPEr. This provided students with an example of real reviews, along with the resulting article revisions. 

The current worksheet was then passed out to students along with a research report written by one of their classmates (I assigned these and removed names). In class, students answered the questions on the worksheet and were able to ask questions of the editor (the instructor in this case). Following the in-class peer review, students had to write a formal peer review, which was turned in as homework. 

The peer review was a final component of a research report that students had been working on throughout the course. The final report was turned in after students had received the review comments back from their peers. The grade of the final report took into consideration whether or not students had made modifications based on comments by their peer reviewer.

 
Time Required: 
60 min
4 Jan 2017
Description: 

This is a great new textbook by George Luther III from the University of Delaware.  The textbook represents the results of a course he has taught for graduate students in chemical oceanography, geochemistry and related disciplines.  It is clear that the point of the book is to provide students with the core material from inorganic chemistry that they will  need to explain inorganic processes in the environment.  However the material is presented in such a clear, logical fashion and builds so directly on fundamental principles of physical inorganic chemistry that the book is actually applicable to a much broader audience.  It provides a very welcome presentation of frontier orbital theory as a guide to predicting and explaining much inorganic chemical reactivity.  There are numerous very  helpful charts and tables and diagrams.  I found myself using the book for a table of effective nuclear charges when I was teaching general chemistry last semester.  The examples are much more interesting that the typical textbook examples and would be easy to embellish and structure a course around.  There is also a helpful companion website that provides powerpoint slides, student exercises and answers.  The book covers some topics not typically seen in inorganic textbooks like the acidity of solids but the presentation of this information makes sense in light of the coherent framework of the text.  We so often tell our students "structure dictates function".  This text really make good on that promise.  My only complaint is that I wish the title were something more generic so that I could use it for a second semester of introductory-esque material that we teach after students have taken a single semester of intro chem and two semesters of organic chemistry.  So much of what is covered in this textbook is precisely what a second semester sophomore chemistry major should know before proceeding on in the major.  But the title makes the book hard to sell to chemistry majors and that is regrettable. 

Prerequisites: 
Course Level: 
15 Dec 2016

X-ray Crystallography

Submitted by David Harding, Walailak University
Description: 

The website shared here includes excellent simulations concerning a wide variety of techniques commonly used in materials science and inorganic chemistry. I have found it particularly useful for X-ray crystallography as the simulations help understand the lectures. 

Course Level: 
Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
28 Jun 2016

Close Packing Activity

Submitted by George Lisensky, Beloit College
Evaluation Methods: 

This has been used by the author to illustrate features of class packing in lecture. 

Description: 

Many extended structures can be viewed as close-packed layers of large anions, with the smaller cations fitting in between the anions. Larger holes between close-packed anions can hold cations with octahedral coordination. Smaller holes between close-packed anions can hold cations with tetrahedral coordination. The online jsmol resources show these layers and their holes.

Learning Goals: 

Students will understand octahedral and tetrahedral holes between close packing layers (either hcp or ccp)

Equipment needs: 

A physical model kit such as the ICE Solid State Model Kit (see the related activities) could be used. With the linked web resources for this activity students can display individual layers and the holes between them. Both physical and virtual models are valuable learning tools. Either could be used separately depending on availability but they work together well.

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Implementation Notes: 

For cubic close packing

Click on item 1 and click on Spacefill. Click on item 2 and item 4. What is the arrangement of atoms around each other in Pa, Pb, and Pc layers?

Click on item 1, then item 3, then item 5 to stack layers. The image can be rotated by dragging. You can add or subtract layers by backing up a step or going forward. You can switch between Ball, Spacefill, and Translucent representations.

To repeat the sequence, where should the next layer go? Click on step 6.

Step 7 shows that these layers contain a face-centered cube, stacked along its body diagonal.

Similarly you can experiment by filling in the spaces between the layers. Where can you fit tetrahedra between the packing spheres? Where can you fit octahedra between the packing spheres?

Try switching the display to Ball and Stick with Translucent Polyhedra.

A similar procedure can be used to examine hexagonal close packing.

A note about color: steps with color names in them change the color. Other steps do not. For example if you want the layers different colors use step 1, 2, 4, 7; if you want the layers the same color use steps 1, 3, 5, 6.

Time Required: 
30 minutes

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