I hesitate to suggest a lab practical here, but the way I will use this video is that I will have all students who work with these materials watch it and discuss it with me. Our students are required to have a signed procedure (signed by student and advisor) in their notebook before using pyrophorics. I always stand right next to the student for the first time they do this procedure, and I make sure the student knows the risks and hazards and the procedure WELL before I let them use pyrophorics outside of MY presence (they must have a "buddy" present regardless).
This website is a video put out by UCLA and is a good general introduction to using pyrophorics. It would be good for required viewing for ALL researchers who intend to use Grignards, alkyl metals, organometallics, LiH, etc.
Updated June 2015 to provide a new link; the old link no longer worked.
After viewing this video, students will have a good introduction to general methods for using pyrophoric materials. The recommendations presented here MUST be discussed with a research advisor and made consistent with local practice.
The video starts out a bit cheesy, but the recommendations are very good. I was (very) pleased to see that the recommendations I give to MY students are essentially identical to those presented here.
House (Inorganic chemistry): The book is divided into 5 parts: first, an introductory section on atomic structure, symmetry, and bonding; second, ionic bonding and solids; third, acids, bases and nonaqueous solvents; fourth, descriptive chemistry; and fifth, coordination chemistry. The first three sections are short, 2-4 chapters each, while the descriptive section (five chapters) and coordination chemistry section (seven chapters covering ligand field theory, spectroscopy, synthesis and reaction chemistry, organometallics, and bioinorganic chemistry.) are longer. Each chapter includes references (both texts and primary literature) for further reading, and a few problems (answers not available in the back of the book).
I thought the text was generally good. This text felt aimed at the introductory one-semester inorganic course offered at most schools rather than an advanced (senior/grad) course. Although MO theory is developed in the text, most of the coordination chemistry is described using crystal field theory, though a short section on MO theory for complexes is included. The sections on descriptive chemistry of the elements are very good and not overloaded with too much information, and the writing style (throughout the text) is easy to read and conversational.
My main complaint about the book, and this may seem petty, is that the molecular orbitals (throughout) do not accurately depict the way actual orbitals look; they are too "pointy."
The list price for the student text is $99.95 for a paperback, 864p version.
Miessler and Tarr is an inorganic textbook which is is best suited to an upper-division one-semester inorganic course, though there is more material than can be covered in a single semester, so some choice of topics is necessary. It is very well suited for a course oriented around structure, bonding, and reaction chemistry of transition metal compounds, but is very limited in its treatment of solids, main-group, descriptive chemistry, and bioinorganic. Pchem would be helpful but is not necessary. In particular, the treatment of MO theory is very in-depth. The quality of end-of chapter problems is generally good. The book is fairly readable, giving it an advantage over some of the more "reference work" style textbooks, but as a result, is a less useful text to have on your bookshelf five years hence. Pearson Higher Ed. suggests a retail price of $144.20.
Housecroft and Sharpe (Inorganic Chemistry, 3ed): This is a comprehensive inorganic textbook designed primarily for students at the Junior/Senior level. P-Chem would not be needed as a prerequisite for this text, but would be helpful. It includes both theoretical and descriptive material along with special topics, enough for a two semester course though it is easily adaptable to a one-semester "advanced inorganic" course by choosing only some topics. It is written in a clear and generally readable style and the full-color graphic contribute to student understanding. Ancillaries include electronic versions of most figures, and a student site with a limited number of multiple choice review questions for each chapter. The 3rd edition updates the end-of -the-chapter problems, though disappointingly does not draw problems from the recent literature. In general, these are good review problems to make sure students understand the basic concepts, but some faculty will want to supplement student assignments with more challenging problems. The list price for the student text is $175 for a paperback, 1098p version.
I have not used this yet in class, but it would seem to be an excellent paper, destined to be a classic in the field. Alternatively, the paper could form the basis for a good problem set question.
This recent article discusses a series of isostructural complexes across the lanthanides using a multidentate ligand. In these structures, the lanthanides are all eight-coordinate, bonded to all oxygen donors. Copious structural data is presented that provides excellent experimental verification of the lanthanide contraction.
Students love this exercise. They are quite surpised at the difference of living near a coal vs. a nuclear plant.
Helps if you have some sense of the elevation you live at, and/or the elevation of places that your students came from.