The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2019

Course handbook


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.

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2019

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

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


The course involves study of: 1) Introduction to structure determination and characterisation of compounds: infrared (IR) spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy. 2) Periodicity and the Chemistry of the Elements a) elements and the Periodic Table 3) Main Group Chemistry a) non-metals: chemistry of phosphorus and the halogens b) metalloids: chemistry of boron and silicon c) metals: chemistry of aluminium 4) Transition Metal Coordination Chemistry a) introduction to coordination number and shape of metal complexes b) ligands and ligand preferences c) physical properties of octahedral complexes - colour and magnetism, d) stability of complexes, introducing inorganic reactions and mechanisms 5) Molecular Symmetry and Structure a) symmetry elements and operations, point groups, and applications 6) Solid State Chemistry a) ionic bonding in solids 7) Bonding Models a) molecular orbital theory in simple molecules and metal complexes b) metal-ligand bonding theory  

Assumed knowledge

CHEM1010 and CHEM1020

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:

  • 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
  • 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

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 Full 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