Solid State and Materials Chemistry

8 Jan 2020
Evaluation Methods: 

I usually grade one student handout per pair and typically have 1 pt per answer on the worksheet, but take the total out of 60 pts (which ends up giving them a couple of free points).  

Evaluation Results: 

Last semester my 17 students had an average of 47 out of 60 on the lab--a bit lower than usual for that lab. The high was a 57 and the low was a 39. There were lots of different individual errors, but errors in identifying which of the first structures were closest packed and errors in % of holes occupied were common. 

Description: 

This first-year laboratory is designed to give students an introduction to basic solid-state structures using both CrystalMaker files and physical models. I think this would work in a foundations level inorganic course as well. It could be used alternatively as an in-class activity or take-home problem set depending on the instructor. It was adapted by me and later, David Harvey, from an original activity that was posted as an educational resource on the CrystalMaker website in the mid 2000s.  

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

Students will be able to

  • articulate how the atoms in a simple cubic, face-centered cubic, and body-centered cubic unit cell are arranged
  • determine the coordination number of particular atoms in a unit cell
  • count the atoms or ions in a unit cell and determine the empirical formula based on that
  • determine the length of a side of a unit cell based on the radius of an atom
  • visualize the holes in different kinds of unit cells and see how ionic solids can be built by putting ions in those holes
  • describe the forces holding different solids together
  • calculate the % of filled and empty space in lattices
  • identify closest packed structures
Equipment needs: 
  • Computer lab (approximately two students per computer) with CrystalMaker installed (it can be the student version if necessary)

and/or

  • Box of pennies
  • Mineral samples of calcite, fluorite, and NaCl (if you want to do the bonus)
Implementation Notes: 

I usually take one day of class to introduce students to CrystalMaker and all of the basic definitions and ideas of this lab before they start working on the stations. Typically I will work through the first station and then part of NaCl to show them some of the main ideas they will be using, asking them to provide answers (which are typically wrong on the first try!). I am typically circulating around answering questions as the students work through the lab. For a lab section of 24 working in 12 pairs, having one set of physical models seems adequate, but particularly at the beginning of the lab it might be helpful to have two sets of the face-centered cubic and body-centered cubic structures. The 12 computer "stations" are arranged in folders inside a Solid State Lab folder on the desktop of the lab computers, so students can just click on the correct folder and correct files as they work their way through the lab.

Time Required: 
3h lab period
9 Oct 2019

2019 Nobel Prize - Li-ion battery LOs

Submitted by Barbara Reisner, James Madison University

Congratulations to the 2019 recipients of the Nobel Prize - John B. Goodenough, M. Stan Whittingham and Akira Yoshino. It's a well deserved honor!

There are several LOs on VIPEr that talk about lithium ion batteries and related systems. The 2019 Nobel is a great opportunity to include something about these batteries in your class.

I hope to see more LOs in the coming weeks so we can bring this chemistry into our classrooms!

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
8 Oct 2019
Evaluation Methods: 

assessment of students will be preformed by grading their answers to the questions in the activity.

Description: 

This is a 1 Figure lit discussion (1FLO) based on a Figure from a 2015 JACarticle on synthesizing conductive MOFs. This LO introduces students to Metal-Organic Frameworks and focuses on characterization techniques and spectroscopy. 

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

As a result of completing this activity, students will be able to...

  • define what metal-organic Frameworks and Post-synthetic Modifications are
  • understand MOF terminology and notation
  • discover how mass transport and electron mobility effect conductivity
  • calculate energies of electronic transitions in electron volts
  • make connections betweeen diagrams and material sturctures
  • compare optical and microscopy techniques
  • discover the concept of photocurrect and how it could be used in different applications
Implementation Notes: 

Students should be able to complete the activity without any prior knowledge of MOFs, although some introduction to MOFs and UV-vis absorption spectroscopy would be nice.

27 Jun 2019

Porphyrin-Based Metal-Organic Frameworks

Submitted by Amanda Bowman, Colorado College
Evaluation Methods: 

Students completed this activity in small groups, then turned in individual worksheets. Student learning and performance were assessed through 1) in-class group discussion after they had worked on the activity in small groups, and 2) grading the individual worksheets. Participation was most important in the small-group portion.

Evaluation Results: 

In general, students really enjoyed this exercise and felt that it was helpful for visualizing metal-organic frameworks (particularly the extended 3D structure). They also generally felt that it was helpful in visualizing the bonding sites of metal vertices, particularly for thinking about how that influences potential reactivity. We used Mercury as a visualization software for this discussion, and the majority of students felt very comfortable using Mercury and looking at cifs on their own after this activity.

 

The biggest challenge for students seemed to be in relating the 3D structure in the cif to the images and chemicals formulas in the article. They also tended to need some hints about question 5 – to think about what information Mössbauer can provide about oxidation state of the metal, or that you can tell whether or not there are two distinct iron environments. In our class, we do brief units on X-ray crystallography including how to use and interpret cifs, and Mössbauer spectroscopy before this literature discussion. If those topics are not already addressed in a particular class it might be helpful to add them in or directly address those topics for the students as an introduction to the literature discussion.

Description: 

This literature discussion explores the physical structures, electronic structures, and spectroscopic characterization of several porphyrin-based metal-organic frameworks through discussion of “Iron and Porphyrin Metal−Organic Frameworks: Insight into Structural Diversity, Stability, and Porosity,” Fateeva et al. Cryst. Growth Des. 2015, 15, 1819-1826, http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1021/cg501855k. The activity gives students experience visualizing and interpreting MOF structures, and gives students exposure to some of the methods used to characterize MOFs.

Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

Students will be able to:

  • Interpret and describe the bonding and structural characteristics of MOFs
  • Apply knowledge of ligand field strength to electronic structure of MOFs
  • Analyze X-ray crystallographic data to gain information about structural characteristics of MOFs
  • Interpret Mössbauer spectra to gain information about electronic structure of MOFs
Implementation Notes: 

This literature discussion was designed for use in an advanced (upper-level) inorganic chemistry course, but could be used in a foundational inorganic course if students have already been introduced to d-splitting diagrams and are given some coverage of Mössbauer spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography. When covering MOFs in class, students frequently expressed that visualizing and understanding the bonding sites and extended 3D structures was very challenging. So, this literature discussion was developed specifically to address that. Students completed this activity in small groups. It is very helpful to advise students ahead of time to bring laptops (or instructor should have some available) and to have the cifs from the paper downloaded and ready to go. We used Mercury as a visualization software for this activity. This activity can easily be completed in one class period. It is also helpful if students have been provided with the article ahead of time and encouraged to look it over – otherwise the most time-consuming part of this activity was allowing time for students to examine the MOF structure images in the paper before being able to discuss and answer the questions with their groups.

Note on visualization of MOFs using Mercury: To answer the discussion questions, we used the ‘stick’ or the ‘ball and stick’ style. We also used the default packing scheme (0.4x0.4x0.4) and the 1x1x1 packing scheme. The packing scheme can be changed by selecting Packing/Slicing… in the Calculate menu. I also had students view the 3x3x3 packing scheme – while this is not necessary to answer the discussion questions, it was interesting for students to be able to visualize the extended structure of the MOFs.

 

8 Jun 2019

Crystallographic Resources at Otterbein University

Submitted by Kevin Hoke, Berry College
Description: 

This site is another excellent resource from Dean Johnston (see also his Symmetry resource). It uses JSmol (in a web browser) to display different types of "Packing" and "Point Groups". For Packing, users can select different sizes for the atoms, display multiple unit cells, and rotate the model on the screen. Different layers can be color highlighted. 

Other portions of the website include resources for incorporating crystallography into the undergraduate curriculum.

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Implementation Notes: 

I use the Packing Models as part of a homework assignment in which they are stepped through multiple models. The Packing models displayed are very straightforward to manipulate and I would not worrying about having first-year students interact with it. I have not used the Point groups portion yet, but I intend to share that with students who are learning symmetry.

As with some other JSmol-based models, atomic radii are used instead of ionic radii so the traditional color coding (yellow for sulfur, red for oxygen, gray for metal) will suggest for some models that the anions are smaller than cations. In my assignments, I have students evaluate how well that agrees with tables of ionic radii.

It can be used in any modern web browser that supports HTML5 and/or Java. I have accessed models successfully on my iPhone, though it is much easier to use on a larger screen.

8 Jun 2019

VIPEr Fellows 2019 Workshop Favorites

Submitted by Barbara Reisner, James Madison University

During our first fellows workshop, the first cohort of VIPEr fellows pulled together learning objects that they've used and liked or want to try the next time they teach their inorganic courses.

2 Jun 2019

Hyperphysics

Submitted by Barbara Reisner, James Madison University
Description: 

The hyperphysics website uses concept maps as a way to organize physics content knowledge: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html (condensed matter). I cam across this website while doing a review of the literature on what students know about semiconductors. There are nice explanations of many of the topics associated with semiconductors and they are organized in an unique way.

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

I haven't used this in teaching, but think it is a valuable resource for teaching bonding in the solid state.

3 Jan 2019

Venn Diagram activity- What is inorganic Chemistry?

Submitted by Sheila Smith, University of Michigan- Dearborn
Evaluation Methods: 

I did not assess this piece, except by participation in the discussion

Evaluation Results: 

I asked my students to write an open ended essay to answer the question (asked in that first day exercise): What is Inorganic Chemistry.

Interestingly, 2 of my 15 students drew a version of this Venn Diagram to accompany their essays.

Description: 

This Learning Object came to being sort of (In-)organically on the first day of my sophomore level intro to inorganic course. As I always do, I started the course with the IC Top 10 First Day Activity. (https://www.ionicviper.org/classactivity/ic-top-10-first-day-activity).  One of the pieces of that In class activity asks students- novices at Inorganic Chemistry- to sort the articles from the Most Read Articles from Inorganic Chemistry into bins of the various subdisciplines of Inorganic Chemistry.  As the discussion unfolded, I just sort of started spontaneously drawing a Venn Diagram on the board.  

I think Venn diagrams are an excellent logic tool, one that is too little applied these days for anything other than internet memes.  This is a nice little add-on activity to the first day.
 

Your Venn diagram will likely look different from mine.  You're right.

 

Learning Goals: 

The successful student should be able to:

  • identify the various sub-disciplines of inorganic chemistry.  
  • apply the rules of logic diagrams to construct overlapping fields of an Venn diagram.

 

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Equipment needs: 

colored chalk may be handy but not required.

Implementation Notes: 

I used this activity in conjuction with a first day activity LO (also published on VIPEr).

I shared a clean copy (this one) with the students after the class where we discussed this.

 

Time Required: 
10-15 minutes
12 Dec 2018

Foundations Inorganic Chemistry for New Faculty

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

What is a foundations inorganic course? Here is a great description

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ed500624t

 

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
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.

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