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Hello,I am a science teacher trying to create a new project for the Next Generation standards. I need help choosing some interesting compounds.I want my students to research these compounds. There is a long list of criteria for this project, such as how the compound has properties different from its elements, how the compound is used in nature and synthetic structures, etc. I want compounds that will provide for interesting research. I am looking for at least 12 compounds. I found this list and was hoping you could help me choose the most interesting or suggest others not on the list. Thanks for your help. Here is the list:
Aluminum chloride AlCl₃
Barium iodide BaI₂
Beryllium fluoride BeF₂
Carbon dioxide CO₂
Carbon monoxide CO
Carbon tetrabromide CBr₄
Carbon tetrachloride CCl₄
Cesium chloride CsCl
Cobalt(III) fluoride CoF₃
Diarsenic pentoxide As₂O₅
Dihydrogen monoxide (most call it water!)H₂O
Dinitrogen monoxide N₂O
Dinitrogen tetroxide N₂O₄
Dinitrogen trioxide N₂O₃
Diphosphorus pentoxide P₂O₅
Gallium nitride GaN
Hydrobromic acid HBr
Hydrochloric acid HCl
Hydroiodic acid HI
Iodine trichloride ICl₃
Iron(III) oxide Fe₂O₃
Lead(II) selenide PbSe
Lithium sulfide Li₂S
Nitrogen dioxide NO₂
Nitrogen monoxide NO
Nitrogen triiodide NI₃
Phosphorus pentabromide PBr₅
Phosphorus trichloride PCl₃
Potassium phosphide K₃P
Rubidium oxide Rb₂O
Silicon dioxide SiO₂
Sodium bromide NaBr
Strontium sulfide SrS
Sulfur dioxide SO₂
Sulfur hexafluoride SF₆
Sulfur trioxide SO₃
Tetraphosphorus trisulfide P₄S₃
Tin(IV) bromide SnBr₄
Vanadium(V) oxide V₂O₅
Xenon trioxide XeO₃
Answer 1:

Hello dear teacher. It looks like your list consists of diatomic species, so I'll keep my suggestions to compounds only containing two atoms. GaN is definitely an interesting semiconducting material, as any student at UCSB will tell you. Any of the acids are used a lot in laboratory settings, and for this class exercise, can be used to reinforce fundamental chemistry concepts involved in chemical reactions. Other interesting and relevant materials in the list include ZnS2 (zinc selenide), SiO2 (silica), Li2S (lithium sulfide), iron oxide (rust), lead selenide, and NO2 (nitrogen dioxide).


Answer 2:

I have taken your list and divided it into two groups. The first group I'd deem most interesting. I have added a number of suggestions of my own. Some of the compounds are most interesting when contrasted with each other, I have listed such compounds together.

Aluminum chloride AlCl₃
Gallium nitride GaN
Nitrogen triiodide NI₃
Dinitrogen monoxide N₂O
Nitrogen monoxide NO
Dinitrogen tetroxide N₂O₄ /nitrogen dioxide NO2 (exist in equilibrium with each other)
Diphosphorus pentoxide P₂O₅
Cesium chloride CsCl , sodium chloride NaCl
Silicon dioxide SiO₂
Carbon dioxide CO₂ , Carbon monoxide CO Dihydrogen monoxide (most call it water!)H₂O , and hydrogen peroxide H2O2
hydrogen chloride HCl (hydrochloric acid is the solution of HCl in water)
Sulfur dioxide SO₂, Sulfur trioxide SO₃
Tetraphosphorus trisulfide P₄S₃
Iron(III) oxide Fe₂O₃
lithium nitride Li3N
methane CH4
silver iodide AgI
titanium chloride TiCl4

Diarsenic pentoxide As₂O₅
Vanadium(V) oxide V₂O₅
Lead(II) selenide PbSe
Potassium phosphide K₃P
Xenon trioxide XeO₃
Sulfur hexafluoride SF₆, also SF4
Carbon tetrabromide CBr₄ , Carbon tetrachloride CCl₄

Answer 3:

It's great to hear that middle school students are getting exposure to cutting edge new materials. I'm sure all the listed compounds are useful and interesting, but since my familiarity with most of the compounds listed is limited, I will try to add a little perspective from the electronic inorganic materials side of materials science.

1) CO2, CO, NO2
Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are both very interesting and particularly relevant, given the increasing awareness of climate change (which is a huge topic in and of itself- carbon capture and sequestration. This can also be related to NO2, another gas in car exhaust, and the technology behind catalytic converters. There is also interesting combustion chemistry that can easily be related to current issues.

2) H2O
Don't let its ubiquity fool you, water is a really interesting material that's still studied today. From a materials science perspective, water is a compound rich in physics. For example, I work with computational methods, and water is one of the most difficult compounds to simulate accurately. This has to do with the fact it has hydrogen bonding, which even today we do not completely understand how to model. This also happens to be a reason why water has several peculiar properties, such has a slight volume expansion upon freezing (it's why glacier's float!). There are also at least nine different phases of ice to my knowledge.

3) GaN
GaN is definitely the star of this year from the Nobel prize in Physics. Making better devices using GaN is still an active area of research (including at UCSB), and there is a lot of rich semiconductor physics that will help in understanding how electronic devices (e.g., transistors, LEDs) work. It's an important material for achieving efficient blue lighting (which is also used to achieve white lighting). There is also very interesting reading on the importance and impact that lighting technology has on not only our lives but also those in developing countries.

4) V2O5
Vanadium pentoxide happens to be in a family of compounds related to my own research. It has several applications, including in batteries, catalysis for producing sulfuric acid, and thermal imaging. V2O5 also happens to be electrochromic, which means it changes color when injected with extra electrons. Many interesting optical and electrical properties to be understood still!

5) 2D materials
Quite abuzz in the materials community today are 2D materials, like graphene or MoS2 (molybdenum disulfide). A few more are listed on Wikipedia. Much has been researched on how to make electronic devices with 2D materials. This was spurred by the isolation of graphene, which has remarkable electronic and mechanical properties. Other common applications of 2D materials include lubrication. Graphene is a great example of how crystal structure can affect material properties (e.g., versus its other carbon counterparts- diamond, graphite, C60).

6) Perovskites
Also a popular set materials are those with perovskite structure. The perovskite structure is a crystal structure with ABO3 composition, where A and B are metals (B is typically a transition metal). Perovskites have gotten significant attention recently due to the amount of rich physics that can be found. A hot topic right now is perovskite solar cells, which are cheap and easy to manufacture with a fairly good efficiencies. You might also find interesting that it is possible to combine two insulating compounds and get out a structure that exhibits electrical conductivity at the interface! This happens with several perovskite combinations, the most well-known being lanthanum aluminate (LaAlO3) and strontium titanate (SrTiO3).

Hope this helps you with your list!
Best,


Answer 4:

Here are 12 interesting ones:
Carbon dioxide CO₂
Carbon monoxide CO
Carbon tetrachloride CCl₄
Cesium chloride CsCl
Diarsenic pentoxide As₂O₅
Dihydrogen monoxide (most call it water!)H₂O
Gallium nitride GaN
Iron(III) oxide Fe₂O₃
Nitrogen monoxide NO
Nitrogen triiodide NI₃
Silicon dioxide SiO₂
Sulfur dioxide SO₂


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