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Fundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry

Module titleFundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry
Module codeBIO1340
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Nicola King (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In this module you will be introduced to the fundamental concepts in inorganic chemistry, such as molecular bonding, main group, and transition metal chemistry, emphasising the important role that inorganic chemistry and metal chemistry play in vital biochemical processes. You will have the opportunity to participate in full practical sessions, learning key techniques for practical chemistry, synthesising compounds and characterising them using a variety of spectroscopic techniques, such as infra-red spectroscopy, UV visible spectroscopy and NMR spectroscopy.

You are required to have A-level Chemistry or equivalent.

Module aims - intentions of the module

To introduce the concepts of atomic and molecular orbital theory, the consequences for structure and bonding and for the properties of atoms and molecules. To introduce the principles of transition metal chemistry and trends in main group chemistry with particular emphasis in their role in biological systems.

Graduate attributes. As part of this module you are expected to develop the following skills:

  • Laboratory and data handling skills – use of standard analytical and synthetic techniques in inorganic chemistry, and the ability to interpret and analyse results
  • Application of knowledge – being able to understand core aspects of inorganic chemistry and apply these to solve problems and explain experimental observations
  • People skills – working with your peers during laboratory sessions

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain qualitatively the structure of the atom and the basis of chemical bonding and reactivity
  • 2. Illustrate the three dimensional character of chemical entities
  • 3. Explain the basics of coordination chemistry, particularly in relation to the first row transition metals
  • 4. Interpret trends in physical properties and reactivity within the main group, particularly groups 1, 2 and 17
  • 5. Describe the redox behaviour of the elements and the biological significance of groups 1, 2, 15 and 16

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Describe the basics of inorganic chemistry
  • 7. Identify and interpret trends in data in a sub-discipline of the biological and chemical sciences
  • 8. Solve problems and apply basic concepts in a sub-discipline of the biological and chemical sciences
  • 9. Describe and begin to evaluate aspects of the biological and chemical sciences with reference to textbooks and other forms of information retrieval
  • 10. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of quantitative data analysis within the biological and chemical sciences
  • 11. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of practical investigation and enquiry within the biological and chemical sciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 12. Communicate ideas effectively by written means
  • 13. With some guidance, study autonomously
  • 14. With some guidance, select and properly manage information drawn from books

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Atomic and Molecular Structure:

  • The structure of the atom, particles, waves and orbitals
  • Quantum numbers and orbital shape
  • Electron configuration
  • Periodic trends
  • Ionisation energy and electronegativity
  • Shapes of molecules and VSEPR
  • MO theory
  • Homonuclear diatomics
  • Heteronuclear diatomics, HF and CO

Transition Metal Chemistry:

  • Electron configuration
  • Trends in physical and chemical properties
  • Lewis acid/base complexes
  • Nomenclature and isomerism
  • Ligand field theory
  • The spectrochemical series
  • Magnetic and optical properties of octahedral complexes
  • Stability of oxidation states
  • Introductory organometallic chemistry

Main Group Chemistry:

  • Hydrogen
  • Alkali metals, trends in properties and reactivity
  • Salts of alkali metals, complexation with crown ethers and cryptands
  • Biological significance of group 2 compounds, chlorophyll and hydroxyapatite
  • The halogens, trends in physical and chemical properties
  • Trends in group 13, borates and boric acid
  • Trends in group 14 and stability of oxidation states
  • Application of VSEPR to compounds of groups 15 and 16, redox behaviour and ligand properties, nitrogen and ammonia, oxygen and oxides, redox properties of H2O2

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching15Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching15Laboratory sessions (5 x 3 hours)
Guided Independent Study14Reviewing past exam papers
Guided Independent Study49Reading recommended text
Guided Independent Study52Reading background to laboratory experiments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Revision class at end of module90 minutes1-9Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination602 hours1-9, 12-14Written
Problem sheet 1101.5 hours1-14Written
Online laboratory assessment101.5 hours6-8, 10-11Online
Laboratory report with integrated problem sheet 2201.5 hours1-14Written and oral


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination1-9, 12-14August Ref/Def
Problem sheet 1Not applicableNot applicableNot applicable
Online laboratory assessmentNot applicableNot applicableNot applicable
Laboratory report with integrated problem sheet 2Not applicableNot applicableNot applicable

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The laboratory/practical assessments are not deferrable because of their practical nature. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Shriver, D.F. and Atkins, P.W., Inorganic Chemistry, 3rd edition, 1999, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-850330-X
  • Housecroft, C.E. and Sharpe, A.G., Inorganic Chemistry, 2001, Pearson Education, ISBN 0-582-31080-6
  • Frausto da Silva J.J.R and Williams, R.J.P, The Biological Chemistry of the Elements, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-850848-4

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE page:

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Inorganic chemistry, molecular bonding, transition metal chemistry, main group chemistry

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date