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Edited by Eleanor Crabb E. A. Moore and Lesley E. Smart Concepts in Transition Metal Chemistry RSC Publishing 2009 140 pp

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Book Review
Published online in Wiley Online Library: 17 May 2011
( DOI 10.1002/aoc.1797
Book Review
Concepts in Transition Metal Chemistry
RSC Publishing, 2009, 140 pp.
price £ 24.99 (paperback)
This text is a very well presented
introduction to the topic of transition metal chemistry, produced by
the Royal Society of Chemistry and
the Open University. The approach
to introducing the material focuses
on an understanding of the key
properties of different metals, their
oxidation states and the effects of
ligands before the introduction of
crystal field theory and ligand field
theory later in the book.
Chapter 1 covers the basics of
the reaction chemistry of the transition metal and ties this in with
some of the periodic trends that cover this area. In Chapter 2 the
thermodynamic stabilities of various oxidation states are introduced using redox potentials as a guide and, again, tying in fundamental periodic trends. Chapter 3 covers the basics of coordination
chemistry and, for example, the work of Alfred Werner in determining the structure of complex metal ions is described in an extremely
elegant fashion. This subsequently leads on to the properties of different ligands and how they may be classified. In Chapter 4 the stability of coordination compounds is discussed, stability constants
are introduced and the subsequent thermodynamics tied into the
Nernst equation. This is then complemented by a discussion of the
Irving–Williams series and the concept of Hard–Soft Acid–Base.
Chapters 5 and 6 concentrate on crystal field theory and the
application of molecular orbital theory to transition metal complexes. The crystal field approach is illustrated with colour diagrams
showing how the d-orbitals are arranged, and subsequently developing the argument of strong- and weak-field approaches for
low- and high-spin arrangements, and how crystal field stabilization energy may be calculated. This then naturally develops into
how the electronic spectra of metal complexes may be used to
develop the spectrochemical series. This chapter also covers the
applications of crystal field theory to square planar and tetrahedral
complexes, spinels and the magnetic properties of transition metal
complexes. The final chapter on the applications of molecular orbital theory covers the σ -only case before examining π -bonding
in the strong-field case using carbon monoxide as an example,
with applications to other ligands such as cyanide, dinitrogen,
phosphines and alkenes all being covered. The 18-electron rule
is then introduced as well as a description of other features of
the electronic spectra of metal complexes such as ligand-to-metal
charge transfer.
A DVD accompanies the book which has a number of exercises
and voice-over descriptions of various aspects of the chemistry of
the transition metals. I was particularly impressed with several of
the exercises which had video footage of various experiments
that required interpretation in order to arrive at the correct
conclusions. In addition, there were a number of other videos
on the DVD illustrating other experiments in transition metal
chemistry. Indeed, the DVD is intended to support a wider
programme at the Open University so exercises and videos from
all areas of the periodic table are included, which is a real bonus
for the enthusiastic student!
Overall, I found Concepts in Transition Metal Chemistry to be
a very good introductory text to this area. As stated, it is wellpresented and the multimedia additions are a real bonus. I would
suppose that there are a few areas which are not covered (such
as how crystal field theory may be applied to predicting the
reactivity of various metal salts) and a few areas have a light touch
(such as the 18-eletron rule), but these really are minor quibbles.
I would recommend a close look at this text for anyone involved
in the teaching of this topic at undergraduate level as it certainly
provides a focused view of the topic that may aid some students
when compared with the more general textbooks in inorganic
Jason Lynam
University of York, UK
Cover book image used with permission from the Royal Society
of Chemistry
Additional information on the book may be found at
Appl. Organometal. Chem. 2011, 25, 564
c 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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moord, publishing, rsc, transitional, 140, smart, eleanor, chemistry, 2009, crab, metali, lesley, edited, concept
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