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Book Review Inorganic Experiments. Edited by J. D. Woollins

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turing processes (e.g. the synthesis of
ethylene from methane by oxidative coupling). to new product types (e.g. fullerenes). and to relevant developments in basic science and technology (e.g. the use of
pervaporation as a separation method for
the removal of‘ alcohol from whisky).
The literature references and the data
that are included are up-to-date. The few
exceptions to this. for example in the
chapter on “Azine Dyes” which includes
no references later than 1987, and in that
on energy management where the data on
energy consumption by industry in the
USA extend only up to 1988, only emphasize the general rule.
The illustrations (reaction schemes, diagrams. etc.) are clear and well presented.
Where necessary for clarity. use has been
made of three-dimensional illustrations
(e.g. i n descriptions of apparatus) or of
color (e.g. in the chapter on color photogrdphy). In contrast to the previous two
volumes, the use of abbreviations has
been reduced to a sensible level, and those
used are fully explained.
To summarize. after looking through
the first ten volumes it is clear that the
fourth edition of Kirk-Othmer is again a
work of reference o f world class. providing expert and comprehensive coverage of
the field ofchcniical technology. Libraries
concerned u ith science and technology
are recommended to buy it.
Frirdbert Necs
BASF Aktiengesellschaft
Ludwigshafen (Germany)
Inorganic Experiments. Edited by
J. D.
Woollins. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim, 1994. 286 pp.,
hardcover DM 148.00.4SBN 3-52729235-7
The editor of this book. J. D. Woollins,
has succeeded in enlisting no less than 71
authors from throughout the world as
contributors. The
result is a collection
of 64 laboratory
recipes for preparations to be carried
out in inorganic
chemistry student
practical sessions.
The experiments are
grouped into three
categories. described
as ”introductory” (1 6), “intermediate”
(23), and “advanced” (25). This classification is intended as a guide both to the
learning content and to the need for specialized apparatus. Most of the descriptions follow a set pattern, consisting of a
short introduction, sometimes with an explanation of the teaching objective, a
paragraph (highlighted) on safety precautions and health risks, the actual experimental procedure, and relevant literature
references. Some of the experiments are
valuable new material in works of this
kind, for example those on the preparations of siloxane polymers, of arsenium
cations. and of liquid-crystalline metal
complexes, and the magnetic studies on
exchange coupling in bimetallic paramagnetic complexes. Highly topical experiments such as these cannot be found in
standard works on preparative inorganic
chemistry, such as Br~iuersH a n d h c h or
Inorganic Sjwtlwres. On the other hand,
some other experiments are “old friends”,
such as the preparations of Fremy’s salt,
ferrocene. and potassium peroxochromate. In his preface the editor explains
that he deliberately avoided trying to introduce a uniform style. so as not to lose
the lessons that can be drawn from comparing the procedures in the various laboratories. Nevertheless, the book would
have benefited from the imposition of a
small degree of uniformity and editorial
tidying-up. One occasionally encounters
local peculiarities that are incomprehensible, as when a glass beaker is cleaned by
using a “policeman”, when “methylated
spirits” is used as a solvent. and where one
is continually instructed to proceed “carefully” or “cautiously” without a more
specific explanation of what this means.
The concentration of aqueous ammonia is
specified in three different ways (in O/O, in
vol, and as 0.880, the latter being presumably the density). Some of the experiments described could only be performed
in a small number of laboratories, such as
the preparation of metal carbonyls by reductive carbonylation in an autoclave under CO a t high pressure. Some could not
be carried out at allbfor example. where
one is instructed to condense 1.73 g of a
gas from a pressurized vessel into a solution maintained in a frozen state by liquid
nitrogen, without explaining how such a
precise dosage is to be achieved. Some of
the experiments lack safety recommendations, while for others there are no literature references.
However, the descriptions of most of
the experiments are good. The introductions explaining the learning points, the
exercise problems, and the notes on identification of the products (mainly by spectroscopy) are useful. Undoubtedly one of
the book’s particular strengths is the topicality of many of the experiments in the
“advanced” part. many of which are very
attractive for use in advanced practical
sessions. The book is of interest to all college and university teachers and assistants
responsible for practical classes in inorganic chemistry. Those interested in discovering what is being done in other laboratories, or who can benefit from a little
gold-mine of ideas for new practical exercises, should certainly buy this book.
However, many of the procedures need to
be thoroughly checked before introducing
them into one’s course.
Jokunt~esBeck
Institut fiir Anorganische
und Analytische Chemie
der Universitiit Giessen (Germany)
2565
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