Models for bonding in chemistry

Models for bonding in chemistry

Valerio Magnasco

Chichester, UK: John Wiley 2010 | 232pp | ?34.95 (SB)

ISBN 9780470667033

Reviewed by Paul Popelier

REVIEWS - p56b-180

This short book aims at describing models of bonding with an emphasis on concepts rather than the elaborate calculation of modern molecular quantum mechanics.

The first part focuses on short range interaction, treating the H?ckel model, while the second part discusses long range interaction using the Buckingham-Fowler model as a basis.

Within this framework the book covers diatomics, first-row hydrides, alkenes (including benzene and polyenes), insulators, (semi)conductors, van der Waals systems and simple hydrogen bonded dimers. All this is preceded by a chapter on mathematical foundations, which sets the tone of the book. 

Indeed, the text is dominated by equations, often part of a derivation, but always with an eye on application and instant illustration. Analytic treatment is prolonged, often to its limit, including the explicit algebraic solution of the general cubic equation, for example.

The author appears to have worked through all the equations, borrowing from his own lecture notes and his very recent single-author publications. This balance between the general analytic and the specific makes the book readable in spite of its sober narrative, which is compensated by an attractive type setting. 

Although there are no exercises the main text can be viewed as a rich source of fully worked out exercises in solving H?ckel secular equations. Van der Waals interactions and hydrogen bonding are discussed in a predictable way, with the occasional error.

The book lacks any account of developments on hydrogen bonding since the second half of the 1980s. Much new work triggered by the need of an ever wider community to understand non-covalent interactions is missing. Energy partitioning schemes have much improved our understanding of inorganic compounds where unusual bonding schemes are more common. Again, any discussion of these more recent developments is lacking.

In summary, although this book has one foot in the past and the other as well, it serves as a useful collection of case studies in standard models of short and long range interactions. 

Further Reading

Other related books

E A Moore: Molecular modelling and bonding   (2000, RSC Publishing) (ISBN 9780854046751) 
R J Gillespie and P L A Popelier, Chemical bonding and molecular geometry. from Lewis to electron densities  (2001, Oxford University Press) (ISBN 9780195104950)