Mechanisms of Complex-ion Reactions

  • David Nicholls
Part of the A Macmillan Chemistry Text book series


In chapter 3 we mentioned that substitution reactions of metal aquo-ions, for example
do not all occur instantaneously even though the stability constant may show that the equilibrium lies well over to the right-hand side. Those complexes for which equilibrium is attained rapidly, for example in less than one minute, are called labile while those for which ligand substitution is a slow process are called inert. These terms labile and inert are concerned with kinetics and must not be confused with stability which, when unqualified, refers to thermodynamic stability. It is thus possible to have complexes which are unstable but inert, or conversely stable but labile. For example, the cobaltammines are thermodynamically unstable in acid solution with respect to the formation of [Co(H2 0)6]2+ and oxygen. Such solutions can however be kept for days at room temperature without noticeable decomposition; that is, the rate of decomposition is very low because the complexes are inert.


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  1. 1.
    F. Basolo and R.G. Pearson, Mechanisms of Inorganic Reactions, Wiley, New York (2nd edn 1967 )Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    D. Benson, Mechanisms of Inorganic Reactions in Solution, McGraw-Hill, London (1968)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    C.H. Langford and H.B. Gray, Ligand Substitution Processes, Benjamin, New York (1965)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    A.G. Sykes, Kinetics of Inorganic Reactions, Pergamon, Oxford (1966)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Nicholls 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Nicholls
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Inorganic, Physical and Industrial ChemistryUniversity of LiverpoolUK

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