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Raffles Institution (JC)

JC2 H2 Chemistry 2010/11

Tutorial 24-A: An Introduction To The Chemistry Of Transition Elements


Arrange the following species in order of increasing number of unpaired electrons:


V, Cr, Fe, Ni and Cu

(ii) V2+, Ti2+, Mn2+, Co3+, Zn2+


Identify all the metal atoms, doubly charged cations and triply charged cations with three
unpaired 3d electrons and write down their electronic configurations.



An ion X2+ contains 22 electrons. What is the electronic configuration of X?

(ii) An ion Y2+ contains 40 protons. What is the electronic configuration of Y2+?

For each of the species given below, state the oxidation state and electronic
configuration of the central metal ion/atom.


TiCl2, [V(H2O)6] , [Cr(NH3)6]Cl3, [Fe(SCN)(H2O)5] , [CoCl4] , [Fe(CN)6] , [Ni(CO)4]


Explain the following:


The atomic radii of the transition elements Cr to Cu are similar.


The atomic radius of vanadium is smaller than that of calcium despite the vanadium
atom having more electrons than the calcium atom.


The fourth ionisation energy of cobalt is lower than that of iron.


The melting point of vanadium is significantly higher than that of calcium.


The transition metals have a tendency to vary in their oxidation states, whereas s-block
elements such as calcium do not.


NH3, but not BH3, can act as a ligand.


An aqueous solution of chromium(III) chloride has a pH value of less than 7.


An aqueous solution of AlCl3 is colourless but that of CrCl3 is coloured.


Both Cu2SO4(s) and anhydrous CuSO4(s) are white but CuSO4.5H2O(s) is blue.

Self-check question
Define the following terms: (a) transition element, (b) complex ion, (c) ligand, (d) co-ordination
number, (e) homogeneous catalysis, and (f) heterogeneous catalysis.

The rate of the reaction between iodide and peroxodisulfate(VI) ions is increased by the
presence of small concentrations of Fe3+(aq) or Cu2+(aq) ions.
(a) What type of catalysis does this illustrate?
(b) Write an equation for the reaction between iodide and peroxodisulfate(VI) ions.
(c) Suggest how copper(II) ions are able to participate in this reaction.
(d) The deterioration in the air of some organic substances, such as cosmetics, is a similar
process to that described in (c) above. Suggest why the deterioration can be slowed
down by the addition of small quantity of edta.
(e) By considering relevant E values from the Data Booklet, choose two other examples of
transition metal ions that would be predicted to act as catalysts for the above reaction.
What other factors might prevent the ions of your choice from behaving as catalysts?


(a) Explain the meaning of the term heterogeneous catalysis.

(b) Transition metals are often used as heterogeneous catalysts for industrial processes
involving hydrogen. Give two examples of metals used in this way and write equations for
the reactions they catalyse.
(c) Using one of the two examples in (b), explain clearly how the transition metal catalyses
the reaction with the help of suitable diagrams.

Describe and explain what is seen for each of the following, using relevant data from the
Data Booklet wherever appropriate to support your answer.

Anhydrous copper(II) sulfate is stirred with water, followed by the addition of aqueous
ammonia until in excess.


Dilute sulfuric acid is added to a solution of Cu2+ ions in aqueous ammonia.


An acidified solution of Fe2+(aq) is left open to the air.


Aqueous sodium hydroxide is added to an aqueous solution containing Fe2+ ions, and
the resulting moist precipitate is left open to the air.


Dilute aqueous sodium hydroxide is added to aqueous potassium dichromate(VI) and

dilute hydrochloric acid is added to aqueous potassium chromate(VI).

Using relevant data from the Data Booklet wherever appropriate, explain each of the
following observations.

Copper(I) sulfate is a white powder which reacts with water to give a blue solution and a
pink-coloured solid.


When aqueous iron(III) chloride is added to aqueous potassium iodide, a brown solution
is formed, but aqueous potassium hexacyanoferrate(III) does not react with aqueous
potassium iodide.


When aqueous sodium hydroxide is added to aqueous iron(II) sulphate a green

precipitate is obtained, but when aqueous sodium hydroxide is added to aqueous
sodium hexacyanoferrate(II), no precipitate is obtained.


When KSCN(aq) is added to K3[Fe(C2O4)3](aq), a red colour is observed. By contrast,

when KSCN(aq) is added to K3[Fe(CN)6](aq), no such red complex is formed.


Although acidic solutions of iron(II) salts are only slowly oxidised in air, the precipitate
that is obtained on adding NaOH(aq) to a solution of iron(II) salt rapidly turns brown on
the surface.

(a) Suggest the function of haemoglobin in the body, and how it carries out this function.
(b) What change of oxidation number of the iron(II), if any, occurs when haemoglobin is
converted into oxyhaemoglobin? Explain your answer.
(c) Carbon monoxide acts as a poison through its interaction with haemoglobin. Describe this
interaction and discuss why carbon monoxide is so much more poisonous than carbon
(d) A patient suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning can be treated by being given pure
oxygen to breathe. Suggest a reason why this treatment is effective.
(e) Name another poison that can affect haemoglobin, and describe how it reacts.