18 Jan 2017

calistry calculators

Submitted by Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College

I just stumbled on this site while refreshing myself on the use of Slater's rules for calculating Zeff for electrons. There are a variety of calculators on there including some for visualizing lattice planes and diffraction, equilibrium, pH and pKa, equation balancing, Born-Landé, radioactive decay, wavelengths, electronegativities, Curie Law, solution preparation crystal field stabilization energy, and more.

I checked and it calculated Zeff correctly but I can't vouch for the accuracy of any of the other calculators. 

Learning Goals: 

This is not a good teaching website but would be good for double checking math


Implementation Notes: 

I used this to double check my Slater's rules calculations (and found a mistake in my answer key!)

28 Dec 2016

Virtual Issue of Organometallics

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

You can find the virtual issue with our editorial and all of the papers here.

Course Level: 
27 Dec 2016

Binding dinitrogen to titanium sandwich compounds

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College
Evaluation Methods: 

This LO was developed after the course I would use it in had ended. I am looking forward to using it next year and I hope to post some evaluation results at that point.


The literature discussion is based on one of the early papers from the Chirik group (J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2004, 126, 14688). In this communication, the coordination of N2 to a series of (C5H4R)2Ti fragments is examined. Being a communication, it is very short and that helps make it less intimidating for undergraduates. But don't be fooled, it is very rich in the fundamental concepts of orgnaometallic chemistry. The nitrogen fixation reaction has real world significance and is therefore an interesting big picture idea to talk about in relation to this paper. The bonding of Cp ligands is discussed in the context of this paper. In addition, this paper also presents paramagnetic and dimagnetic Ti(II) compounds and thus provides an opportunity to discuss the characterization of paramagnetic compounds. The use of X-ray crystallography and IR spectroscopy in relation to the strength of a bonding interaction between ligands and a metal center is also discussed. Finally, there is an opportunity to apply group theory to determine the number of IR active bands in the IR spectrum of a carbonyl compound. The supporting info for this paper is such a key part of this LO that links to both the paper and the supporting info are included below. In addition, there is a link to a Hoffman paper detailing the MO diagram for Cp2M compounds which might prove useful in discussing the paramagentic and diamagnetic Ti(II) compounds.

Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

Upon completing this LO students should be able to

  1. Describe why nitrogen fixation is a significant chemical reaction worthy of study
  2. Use the CBC method to count electrons in the titanium compounds in this paper
  3. Describe the bonding in compounds with Cp ligands
  4. Describe how a paramagnetic substance can be recognized when using standard characterization techniques and suggest other means of characterizing paramagnetic compounds
  5. Relate data from IR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography to the bonding interaction between a metal and a ligand
Time Required: 
50 minutes
15 Dec 2016

X-ray Crystallography

Submitted by David Harding, Walailak University

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: 
23 Mar 2016

Nanomaterials Chemistry

Submitted by Anne Bentley, Lewis & Clark College

This list includes a number of LOs to help in teaching nanomaterials subjects; however, it is not exhaustive.

Updated June 2018.

15 Mar 2016

ColourLex - a colorful website!

Submitted by Vanessa McCaffrey, Albion College
Evaluation Methods: 


Evaluation Results: 

Students seem to like the examples that this website has.


ColourLex (colourlex.com) is an amazing website that mixes chemistry and art. The creators of this website have extensively catalogued paintings and the pigments that were used to create them. The pigments range from artificial to natural and organic to inorganic. You can search for the specific combination that you want to see.

Learning Goals: 

There could be a variety of ways that this website could be used. The learning goals would depend on what it was being used for.


Implementation Notes: 

I generally use this website as a way to find real examples of solid-state inorganic compounds to show in classes or use on exams.

29 Jun 2015

Teaching and Learning Package Library from University of Cambridge

Submitted by Vanessa McCaffrey, Albion College
Evaluation Methods: 

I required students to come to class with written questions about the material. This is graded as credit/no credit. If they don't have any questions, they are then required to answer the class questions. This usually encourages complete participation.


Evaluation Results: 

Student reported in the end of semester evaluations that they liked the online tutorials better than the book, especially with the semiconductor section.


This is a resource that has short, animated tutorials on a variety of different topics. Most of the topics are materials science and/or engineering topics but there are several that would be of interest to chemistry students. (A full list of topics is given below.)

I have used "An Introduction to Semiconductors", "Crystallography" and "Lattice Planes and Miller Indices" in my classes. These were used as reading assignments and didn't have formal assessments associated with them, mostly because I found them too late to get anything together! Assessments and homework assignments associated with these tutorials are being developed and will be posted. 

Chemistry topics include:

Atomic Force Microscopy
Crystallinity in Polymers
Diffraction and Imaging
Fuel Cells
The Glass Transition in Polymers
Lattice Planes and Miller Indices
Liquid Crystals
The Nernst Equation and Pourbaix Diagrams
Optical Microscopy
Polymer Basics
Raman Spectroscopy
Introduction To Semiconductors
Transmission Electron Microscopy
X-ray Diffraction Techniques

More Engineering topics (any mistakes in sorting are my own!):

Analysis of Deformation Processes
Introduction To Anisotropy
Atomic Scale Structure of Materials
Avoidance of Crystallization in Biological Systems
Bending and Torsion of Beams
Brillouin Zones
Brittle Fracture
Creep Deformation of Metals
Crystallographic Texture
Deformation of Honeycombs and Foams
Introduction To Deformation Processes
Dielectric Materials
Introduction To Dislocations
Elasticity in Biological Materials
Ellingham Diagrams
Epitaxial Growth
Examination of a Manufactured Article
Ferroelectric Materials
Ferromagnetic Materials
Indexing Electron Diffraction Patterns
The Jominy End Quench Test
Kinetics of Aqueous Corrosion
Materials for Nuclear Power Generation
Introduction To Mechanical Testing
Mechanics of Fibre-reinforced Composites
Microstructural Examination
Optimisation of Materials Properties in Living Systems
Phase Diagrams and Solidification
Introduction To Photoelasticity
Piezoelectric Materials
Pyroelectric Materials
Reciprocal Space
Recycling of Metals
Slip in Single Crystals
Solid Solutions
Solidification of Alloys
Standalone Simulations
The Stereographic Projection
The Stiffness of Rubber
Stress Analysis and Mohr's Circle
The Structure and Mechanical Behaviour of Wood
Structure of Bone and Implant Materials
Superelasticity and Shape Memory Alloys
Introduction to thermal and electrical conductivity
Thermal Expansion and the Bi-material Strip


Learning Goals: 

After working through one or more of the tutorials, students should be able to:

- well, it depends on the tutorial. The nice thing about these is that under the "Aims" tab, each tutorial has a very specific list of Learning Goals.

- Gain an appreciation for the techniques and concepts in materials science and chemistry!

Related activities: 
Implementation Notes: 

I have used several of the tutorials in my class as reading assignments. We generally come back to class the next day and work through each of the slides in order. I have usually left out any of the quantitative slides, focusing mostly on the qualitative concepts.

Once the questions are answered, we move as a class to the Questions tab. As a class, we then work through as many of the problems as we can in the "Questions" setion.

I haven't done much more than that with my classes, but plan on developing HW sets or exam questions to make sure that students are taking something from the tutorials. 

Time Required: 
30 - 50 minutes per tutorial
29 Jun 2015

Copper Oxide Crystal Growth

Submitted by Ellen Steinmiller, University of Dallas
Evaluation Methods: 

Student answers to the reading comprehension questions were collected at the beginning of class and graded out of 10 points.  An additional 15 points was based on on class participation during the discussion and answers to the in class questions. 

Evaluation Results: 

Overall, students did well on this paper.  During the group problems, students struggled the most with Miller indexes and drawing the layer diagrams of the Cu atoms.  In the future I would incorporate ICE models in the class discussion so that students can more clearly see the different crystal planes.  Students are often quite confused as to why copper oxide is a primitive cubic cell and I think see the models would help with the visualization that not all Cu atoms are created equally.


Students in a 2nd year inorganic class read an article describing the effect of additives on the final morphology of copper oxide. (Siegfried, M.J., and Choi, K-S, “Elucidating the Effect of Additives on the Growth and Stability of Cu2O Surfaces via Shape Transformation of Pre-Grown Crystals”J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2006, 128 (32), pp 10356–10357.  dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja063574y). The authors describe a systematic method that exploits the preferential adsorption phenomenon to regulate crystals shapes by observing the shape transformation of pre-grown crystals over time (e.g cubic to rhobooctahedral to octahdral and back).  The authors start with seed crystals of specific morphology and then immerse the pre-grown crystals in a second solutions with additives to direct the crystal growth.    This strategy allowed them to develop a general scheme to determine the relative order of surface energies and form new crystal shapes containing planes that cannot be directly stabilized by preferential adsorption alone.  

Learning Goals: 

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

-          Differentiate between notations describing planes, directions, and families of planes

-          Describe atomic surface terminations of different crystal faces of the same unit cell

-          Describe the effect of common additives on synthesis of crystals

-          Determine d-spacings of planes from XRD data

-          Determine lattice parameters from XRD data 

Implementation Notes: 

I used this article in the Spring of 2014 in a class of 9 (1 freshmen, 1 sophomore, 5 juniors, 2 seniors) as our conclusion of our discussion of solid state chemistry.   Students had a background in electrochemistry, crystal structures and x-ray diffraction before reading this paper.  Students were required to submit the first set of questions when they came to class and then they worked on the second set of questions in small groups.  During the class discussion, we reviewed electrochemistry, in particular the reaction of electrodeposition of Cu2+ to Cu2O and revisited Pourbaix diagrams briefly to discuss stability of different metal oxide species.  We also discussed preferential adsorption and how this impacts crystal growth.  For a good paper on preferential absorption, see Matthew J. Siegfried and Kyoung-Shin Choi, “Electrochemical Crystallization of Cuprous Oxide with Systematic Shape Evolution,” Adv. Mater. 2004, 16, 1743-1746. (dx.doi.org/ 10.1002/adma.200400177). Schematic 1 is particularly helpful and I used it to develop the concept preferential adsorption and the relative enrgies of planes. 

Time Required: 
50 minutes
29 Jun 2015

Introduction to Miller Indices

Submitted by Vanessa McCaffrey, Albion College
Evaluation Methods: 

I evaluated the students' understanding of and engagement in the material by two different methods. 

First, students received a participation grade. They were were required to ask questions on at least one of the pages and answer one of the games on the "Question" page. 

I evaluated their factual knowledge during literature discussions later in the semester.

There were no homework or exam questions that were specific to this material. However, this will change the next time and there will be some follow-up homework. I will post this HW assignment as a separate learning object when it is completed. 


Evaluation Results: 

Overall, the activity was a success. In the course evaluations at the end of the semester, students reported liking the website activities (I used several from the University of Cambridge DoITPoMS Teaching and Learning Packages throughout the semester) better than reading assignments that came from the book. They reported liking the animations and the hands-on learning.

In a later literature discussion (see related LO), students were able to answer questions about the peaks in the XRD and what the different numbers meant. 


Towards the end of the semester, when we were starting to read more of the primary literature, I realized that the Miller Indices were present in most of the papers that I wanted to discuss. However, I couldn't find any good resources in textbooks that would help to explain what these were. I found this online resource through the University of Cambridge that is engaging, interactive and concise.

Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

The tutorial website does an amazing goal of outling the specific learning goals here.

In brief, the learning goals for student are:

  • Gain an understanding of Miller Indices
  • Given a set of numbers, generate the unit cell plane
  • Determine the set of Miller Indices given a plane in a unit cell
  • Describe how Miller Indices can be used in the "real world" through literature examples
Implementation Notes: 

I sent the website out to the students about a week before class and asked them to read the first eight sections (through "Bracket Conventions") and also the section on "Practical Uses". I told them that we would discuss the material in class and then go through some of the Games in the "Questions" section. I intentionally left out the section that dealt with the Weiss Zone Law. 

There was no formal homework assignment associated with the assignment.

During class, I pulled the website up and we went through each of the sections. Once I felt that everyone had had a chance to ask any questions on each of the pages, I then pulled up the "Questions" and we answered the drag-and-drop questions as a class.

I called on students individually and had them answer questions in front of the class (we had been doing this all semester and there were only eight students). I answered the first questions and got several of them wrong, so they felt much more comfortable making mistakes.

When doing this again, I would use the entire tutorial, and not just selected sections.

Time Required: 
30 minutes
10 Jun 2015


The resources on this website will help students learn concepts in materials chemistry, solid state chemistry, and nanoscience. The website provides links to

  • a video lab manual,
  • a cineplex of demonstrations,
  • kits that can be used for extended structures, and
  • interactive structures of solid state materials, Au nanoparticles and forms of carbon.

There videos and resources have applications across the chemistry curriculum. Many materials are inorganic. This is a great resource for people looking for ways to incorporate the new CPT guideline to discuss macromolecular, supramolecular, mesoscale and nanoscale systems within the framework of their existing curriculum.



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