Coordination Compounds

Importance and Applications of Coordination Compounds

So, why are we discussing so much about coordination compounds? Is it just in theory or does it have any applications? Well, you would be surprised to know how important these coordination compounds are in real life. In this chapter, we will look at the importance and applications of coordination compounds. We will look at the practical applications of these important compounds.

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Review of Organic Compounds

Coordination compounds are a class of compounds that we know as the complex compounds. This is because of the chemistry that involves these compounds. We have known enough about these compounds already, including their structures and isomers etc.

We know that transition metals have this special property of forming coordination complexes. This is due to the high charge to mass ratio and also the availability of d-orbitals. The advances in coordination chemistry provide various complex compounds that we use in various industries. Coordination compounds are a common application in various industries. These include mining & metallurgy, medical sciences etc. to name a few.

Examples and Types

Many of the biological compounds are coordination complexes. You surely know of haemoglobin, chlorophyll, and vitamin B-12. Don’t you? What do you think these are? These are nothing but complex compounds.

There are numerous other coordination compounds that play an important role in biological processes. Our body produces and consumes many complex compounds during these physiological processes.

Photosynthesis in plants requires chlorophyll for the process. This chlorophyll is a magnesium-porphyrin complex. Many enzymes that catalyse the life processes within our body are coordination complexes. One such example is that of carboxypeptidase. It is a coordination compound acting as an enzyme. It is necessary for catalysing the process of digestion.

coordination compounds

Applications of Coordination Compounds

  • Coordination compounds have specific colours. Therefore, they find a common place in industries for intense colourations. Phthalocyanine is a class of coordination complexes that the dyes and pigments industry extensively use. They use it to impart specific colouration to fabrics.
  • Some of the cyanide complexes find their use for electroplating a protective layer on surfaces. There are complexes that find the application of coordination compounds in photography.
  • EDTA is another complex compound we use for the determination of hardness of water. Uses of coordination compounds also involve their application as catalysts. These days, they are becoming increasingly popular in the polymer industry as well.
  • We apply the concept of coordination compounds in the extraction of metals from their ores too frequently these days. Extraction of nickel and cobalt involves uses a major use of these compounds. These metals are extracted by hydro-metallurgical processes requiring a lot of complex ions.
  • As more and more coordination compounds are getting synthesised, scientists and engineers are now having a wide range of options for improving and optimising the processes that require them.

Solved Example for You

Q: Why do we use coordination compounds to separate metals in extractive metallurgy?

Ans: We generally use these compounds in the separation of metals during the process of extractive metallurgy. This is because these complex ions possess this specific property of selective precipitation and solubility.

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