From basic coordination chemistry and acid-base equilibria we understand that a metal hexa-aqua ion can be deprotonated until it's positive charge is balanced by the negative charge of the hydroxides rendering a neutral complex. We then say that this complex precipitates.

Recently in my inorganic class we studied hydrolytic polymerisation where complexes with hydroxyl groups condense into $\ce{OH}$ bridged complexes, which can form polynuclear structures. These structures then release the hydroxide when the solubility limits are reached.

My question is:

  • Are these two ideas the same, and is hydrolytic polymerisation the mechanism by which the precipitate forms from the neutral complex? Another way of phrasing it would be, are these complex precipitates extended structures or are they bound via intermolecular forces?
  • $\begingroup$ Your title seemed fine, but please never hesitate to write good titles! $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Apr 21, 2015 at 18:32


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