Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry--CHEM 3111

This course is required for Chemistry and Biochemistry majors.

Prerequisite: CHEM 1120 with a grade of at least a C-. Repeat no more than two times.

Course Description: Theoretical and applied inorganic chemistry; Group Theory; chemical nomenclature; periodic trends; acid/base and redox reactions and electrochemistry; coordination chemistry; bonding theories; fundamental concepts of crystal field theory and modern inorganic chemistry; inorganic energetics, kinetics, thermodynamics.
Three lecture hours per week; 3 credit hours.

Textbook and other materials:

  • Inorganic Chemistry, Miessler and Tarr, 3rd Edition, 2003, ISBN: 0130354716
  • general chemistry textbook, such as:
    • General Chemistry by Pauling (inexpensive, available from Dover)
    • General Chemistry by Hill, Petrucci, McCreary, and Perry
    • Chemistry by Gilbert, Kirss, Foster, and Davies
Optional External Materials:
  • Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry by Rayner-Canham and Overton--a sophomore-level text
  • Basic Inorganic Chemistry by Cotton, Wilkinson, and Gaus--a standard text
  • Inorganic Chemistry by Shriver and Atkins--an advanced text
  • Inorganic Chemistry: Principles of Structure and Reactivity by Huheey, Keiter, and Keiter--an advanced text with a focus on physical inorganic--well written, well referenced, but inadequate index
  • Chemistry of the Elements by Greenwood and Earnshaw--a well-written reference volume, not a traditional textbook
  • Advanced Inorganic Chemistry by Cotton, Wilkinson, Murillo, and Bochmann--an encyclopedic reference volume, not a textbook

General Information:
Inorganic Chemistry is a very broad subject, encompassing many disciplines. Inorganic courses at the undergraduate level are varied, some give a very lengthy discussion to descriptive chemistry (traditional), some provide a rigorous introduction to physical methods, while others are a mixture of these two approaches. This situation puts pressures on both instructor and students to compress the study of a considerable amount of material into a relatively short period of time.

Course Objectives:
To provide students with an in-depth conceptual and practical understanding of various topics in inorganic chemistry. To provide students with appropriate background for further study in undergraduate level inorganic chemistry.

Course Outline: (The order of topics will vary)

  • Chemical nomenclature
  • Atomic Structure and Atomic Orbitals
  • Periodic Trends
  • Group Theory
  • Acid/Base Chemistry
  • Oxidation and Reduction Chemistry
  • Fundamentals of Electrochemistry
  • Structure and Bonding in Molecules
    • Lewis structures and VSEPR method
    • Molecular Orbital approach
    • Valence Bond approach
  • Inorganic energetics, kinetics, and thermodynamics
  • Fundamentals of Structure and Bonding in Solids
  • Fundamentals of Coordination Chemistry
  • Fundamentals of Crystal Field Theory
  • Fundamentals of reaction mechanisms
  • Fundamentals of Organometallic Chemistry
  • Fundamentals of Bioinorganic Chemistry

Grades: A comprehensive final examination will be administered in class at the assigned time. At least one test will be administered in class and graded before the last day to drop. Other tests, quizzes, and graded assignments, weighting, and grade ranges are at the discretion of the instructor, and will be detailed on a syllabus distributed on the first day of class.


  • Tardiness and unexcused absence from class are unprofessional behaviors which should be avoided, but attendance will not be graded.
  • Electronic devices such as cell phones and pagers should be turned off in the classroom.
  • Reasonable and appropriate accommodations will be made for students who present a memo from Student Disability Services.


Instructor Homepages
Dr. Xuan Zhao
Dr. Nathan DeYonker

On-line Resources

Symmetry Resources: Symmetry Resources at Otterbein College, supported by NSF-DUE #0536710

Hydrogen Atom Orbital Viewer: wave functions (orbitals) of the hydrogen atom (actually the hydrogenic atom) in 3-D

The Orbitron: a gallery of atomic orbitals and molecular orbitals on the WWW

Atomic Orbital Viewer: Use Jmol to display up to four Cl orbitals

NIST Atomic Spectroscopy Databases

NIST Atomic Spectra Database

Molecular Orbital Viewer: molecular wave functions (molecular orbitals) of the hydrogen molecular ion (H2+) in 3-D

Chemistry the Central Science by Dr. Richard Spinney: a very useful set of pages for chemistry classes

ChemWiki from UC-Davis: a very useful set of pages for inorganic chemistry

ChemTube3D: interactive 3D animations and structures

Crystallographic Resources: Crystallographic Resources at Otterbein College, supported by NSF-DUE #0942850

Cambridge Structural Database/Teaching Database
with a description of the Teaching Database and WebCSD Teaching Examples

Mineral Structure Index: a collection of solid state crystal structures with a Jmol interface