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

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Have you looked at organometallic reactions and metal-catalytic cycles? $\endgroup$
    – rch
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 22:00
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Just search google for "inorganic reaction mechanisms". This looked quite interesting: web.archive.org/web/20160303222226/http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/icl/… $\endgroup$
    – user2117
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 13:00
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @LievenB I just wanted now if simple reactions reaction mechanism can be predicted or not $\endgroup$
    – dsinghvi
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 17:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ yes I know organometallics has pretty much organised way of depicting reaction like in organic chemistry but particulary I want to know about element of p - block ( obviously not carbon) and s- block $\endgroup$
    – dsinghvi
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 8:08
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ You might find this book interesting: Arrow Pushing in Inorganic Chemistry by Ghosh and Berg. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 5:47

1 Answer 1


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.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.