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How to find out coordination number?

November 14, 2018

Many students in their general chemistry classes learn about coordination complexes. Coordination complexes are created when transition metal ions bind to molecules and ions called ligands. . Examples of ligands are: H2O, CN-, NH3, en.

 Transition metals have many unique characteristics due to their partially filled d orbitals. These characteristics are: 1.  Transition metals often have more than one stable oxidation state. 2. Many transition-metal compounds are colored 3. Transition metals and their compounds often exhibit magnetic properties.

Oftentimes, transition metals are responsible for the beautiful and vibrant colors we see around us.

 

Coordination number is the number of atoms the transition metal is attached to. To figure out the coordination number, we must look at the part of the molecule in brackets. We must find the transition metal first and then count all the ligands it is attached to. Let's look at some examples. [Co(NH3)6]Cl, in the brackets we see Co which is the transition metal and it is attached to 6 NH3 ligands. Therefore, coordination number is six for this molecule. [Pd(NH3)3Cl]NO3(aq), here the transition metal in the brackets is Pd and it is connected to both NH3 and Cl- ligands. Therefore, its coordination number is four.

 

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