Inorganic Chemistry


There are some ninety-two naturally occurring elements as well as a handful of man-made radioactive elements. When in combination, these elements constitute all of our food, shelter, energy sources and everything we manufacture and use in our lives. This course provides a foundation for the understanding of the varying chemistries of the elements of the Periodic Table, with emphasis on inorganic materials. The course includes the descriptive chemistry of many of the most common elements and their compounds, integrating such topics as symmetry and structure, bonding models, reactions and the synthesis and characterization of inorganic compounds. An understanding of the behaviour of elements and their compounds is central to chemistry and borders the Earth and Life Sciences, as well as Engineering.

The main spectroscopic (infrared, nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy) techniques for the characterisation of organic compounds are taught separately in the first 3 weeks before the lab sessions start.

The course forms part of the accredited degree program required for Membership of Royal Australian Chemical Institute Inc. and Chartered Chemist qualifications.



  • Semester 1 - 2015

Learning Outcomes

1. To develop expertise relevant to the professional practice of chemistry

2. To develop an understanding of the range and chemistry of elements in the periodic table and their compounds

3. To establish an appreciation of the role of inorganic chemistry in the chemical sciences

4. To develop an understanding of the role of the chemist in measurement and problem solving in inorganic chemistry

5. To provide an understanding of chemical methods employed for problem solving involving inorganic systems

6. To provide experience in some scientific methods employed in inorganic chemistry

7. To develop skills in procedures and instrumental methods applied in analytical and synthetic tasks of inorganic chemistry

8. To develop skills in the scientific method of planning, developing, conducting, reviewing and reporting experiments

9. To develop some understanding of the professional and safety responsibilities residing in working with inorganic systems


1. Spectrophotometry 

  • Electromagnetic radiation  
  • Atomic and molecular energy levels  
  • Absorption and emission of radiation, spectra  
  • Beer's law relationship between absorption and concentration  
  • Instruments for UV-visible spectrophotometry  
  • Choosing a spectrophotometric method  
  • Techniques of spectrophotometric determination

2. Electroanalytical Methods  

  • Electrolysis and electrodeposition  
  • Coulometry  
  • Polarography  
  • Electrode types  
  • Applications

3. Atomic Spectroscopy  

  • Atomic absorption spectroscopy  
  • Flame emission spectroscopy  
  • Plasma and electric discharge spectroscopy

4. Chromatography  

  • Principles of chromatography  
  • Gas chromatography  
  • Liquid chromatography (HPLC)

5. Introduction to structure determination and characterisation of compounds: infrared (IR) spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy.

6. Molecular Structure: Stereochemistry

7. Substituent Group Chemistry:   

  • Alcohols and ethers   
  •  Amines and thiols   
  • Alkyl halides   
  • Aldehydes and ketones   
  • Carboxylic acids, derivatives of carboxylic acids   
  • Heterocyclic compounds

8.  Natural Compounds:  

  • The isolation of compounds from natural organisms such as bacteria, fungi, plants and the marine environment   
  • Applications of isolated compounds

9.  Medicinal Compounds:  

  • The range and role of synthetic molecules in medicine  
  • Current approaches to the chemical synthesis of new drugs  
  • Current approaches to the rational design and development of new drugs. 

Assessment Items

Formal Examination: Formal examination *

Quiz: Tutorial quiz

In Term Test: Case scenarios and Take home exam

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Laboratory exercises and reports *

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Laboratory: Attendance Requirement - Students must attend a minimum number of these sessions. - Students must attend all scheduled laboratory sessions
  • Laboratory: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions.

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Formal Examination: Minimum Grade / Mark Requirement - Students must obtain a specified minimum grade / mark in this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must obtain a mark of 40 or more
  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - All submitted and overall mark of 50 or more to pass courses

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 8 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 30 hour(s) per Term

4 hours per week for 3 weeks and 2 hours per week for 9 weeks


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 9 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 4 Weeks