Inorganic chemistry reaction mechanisms

Are there well developed reaction mechanisms in inorganic chemistry like those in organic chemistry? If yes, please suggest an easy to follow reference.

1 Answer

If this is in regard to mechanisms with organometallic complexes or coordination compounds, there are a set of specific mechanisms that are well defined. These are:

• Ligand dissociation / association
• Reductive elimination / oxidative addition
• Intramolecular insertion (e.g. CO migratory insertion) / elimination (e.g. $$\beta$$–hydride elimination)
• Metallacycle processes (e.g. $$\sigma$$-bond metathesis)
• Nucleophilic / electrophilic addition and abstraction are also possible, similar to organic chemistry.

These mechanisms should be in inorganic textbooks but can also be viewed on the first page here. The later slides in this pdf cover more of the details of each specific mechanism.

In many reaction mechanisms with organometallic complexes, it is a process of a number of these smaller mechanisms occurring, leading to the overall chemical transformation that is stated in a reaction equation. These overall mechanisms can be complicated and need to be evaluated for each case. Knowing the basic underlying mechanisms will certainly help clarify processes that seem quite complex at first glance.

There are subtleties in all of these mechanisms to consider beyond the basic types above. Significantly more detail can be found in these textbooks that I have previously utilized which you may also find informative:

Collman, J.; Hegedus, L.; Norton, J.; Finke, R. Principles and Applications of Organotransition Metal Chemistry. 1987. University Science Books. Mill Valley, California.

Spessard, G.; Miessler, G. Organometallic Chemistry. 1997. Prentice-Hall. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.