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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CHEM3216 Advanced Organometallics and Catalysis

10 creditsClass Size: 120

Module manager: Prof Malcolm Halcrow

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

CHEM3122 Advanced Organometallics and Catalysis


CHEM2211Organometallic Compounds and their Applications

Module replaces

Level 2 in Chemistry or Level 2 in Joint Honours (Science) with Chemistry or equivalent.

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module will enable students to understand and appreciate aspects of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. This module covers mechanistic aspects of the chemistry of the transition metals compounds with metal-carbon bonds and a range of small molecules. A range of real world homogeneous catalytic processes are examined. The course also provides a framework for understanding the action of heterogeneous catalysts in terms of adsorption/desorption processes, and for relating catalyst performance to chemical and structural phenomena.


On completion of this module, students should gain a knowledge and understanding of the fundamental chemistry which controls the reactivity of transition metal organometallic and coordination complexes. From a homogeneous catalyst perspective, the construction of catalytic cycles and catalytic systems will be explored. From a heterogeneous catalyst perspective, the course will enable students to appreciate the atomic structure of surfaces and porous materials and their reaction/interaction with molecules in real world applications.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamental transition metal mechanistic chemistry which controls the reactivity of coordination or organometallic complex.
2. Develop and understand the structure-property relationships in homogeneous catalysts and how these can be utilised in applications.
3. Develop and understand the structure-property relationships in heterogeneous catalysts and how these can be utilised in applications.


• M–H -bonds. Molecular hydrogen complexes and non-classical M–(2-H–H) bonding.
• Characterisation of non-classical bonding by NMR and other methods.
• M–C -bonds and non-classical M–(2-H–C) bonding - agostic interactions.
• M–(2-H–SiR3) silane complexes. Similarities and differences between different types of -complex.
Organometallic reactions
• Oxidative addition and reductive elimination reactions – examples and mechanisms. Cyclometallation reactions.
• Elimination reactions and their mechanisms. H–H and agostic C–H complexes as intermediates in organometallic reactions.
• Migratory insertion reactions and their mechanisms.
• Examples of the application of these organometallic reactions in organic transformations.
Homogeneous Catalysis
• Catalytic systems involving H-X and analogues: Hydrogenation, asymmetric hydrogenation, hydrosilylation, hydrocyanation.
• Isomerisation and polymerisations of alkenes, with metallocene catalysts. chain-end and ligand control of stereoselective polymerisation.
• Alkene and Alkyne Metathesis – M=C and M≡C Systems
• Ring Opening and Ring Closing Metathesis Polymerisation - M=C and M≡C Systems Importance of the process(es)
Mechanisms of heterogeneous reactions
• Basic principles of heterogeneous catalysis. Adsorption and desorption, physisorption vs. chemisorption, Langmuir adsorption and BET isotherms.
• Surface lifetimes, volcano curves.
• Reaction kinetics. Unimolecular reactions; Langmuir-Hinshelwood model and activation energies. Bimolecular reactions; L-H vs Eley-Rideal models.
Heterogeneous catalysis
• Catalyst composition and structure. Metal catalysts (supported and unsupported), oxide and metal oxide catalysts, and zeolites. Carbon nanoreactors.
• Solid state characterisation techniques.
Case studies - Ammonia synthesis, methanol synthesis

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours5.00
Private study hours73.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

80 hours – reading, revision of lecture notes, preparation for tutorials and examination

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored through two pieces of written and assessed tutorial coursework.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Open Book exam2 hr 100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

August resit available.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:52:17


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