What are organometallic compounds?

What are organometallic compounds?

Organometallic compounds are any compound that contains at least one bond between a carbon and a metal. This bond can be either ionic or covalent in nature. The metal atom present in organometallic compounds can either be transition metals or main group metals.

Transition metals have partially filled d-orbitals, and these electrons can form bonds with organic molecules or other transition metals. Main group metals don’t have such a capability, and they don’t tend to bond with each other either. They do, however, bind very well with organic molecules because of their open d-orbitals and electron configuration.


An organometallic compound is a chemical compound that contains one or more organic substituents. Organo- refers to carbon, so it would seem obvious that a compound can be organic only if it has carbon. But what does organic mean in chemistry, anyway?

A lot of things! Some people use organic as a synonym for carbon-containing, but there’s much more to it than that. To understand exactly what an organometallic compound is, you need to know what all of those terms mean individually

Uses of Organometallic Compounds

Inorganic chemical compounds with an organic group – (e.g., carbon containing) tend to be called organometallics. For example, methylamine [(CH3)NH2] is a compound with one C-H bond and one C-N bond. It could be called a metalloid (i.e., metallo = metal).

When it has more than one C-N or C-C bonds, then it can be considered an organometallic compound since it is no longer purely inorganic. Many of these compounds have uses as catalysts in organic synthesis reactions.

What are organometallic compounds with examples?
Organometallic compounds are chemical compounds that contain bonds between carbon and metal. Such bonds can be either ionic or covalent depending on factors such as electronegativity of each element, oxidation state, and ligand exchange. Organo-metallics play an important role in fields such as bioorganometallic chemistry and homogeneous catalysis.

Here we have given a few examples to help you understand them better. Some of these examples include Grignard reagents, which are used for making various organic chemicals; bis(cyclopentadienyl)nickel(II), which is used for manufacturing superconductors; ferrocene, which is used for producing liquid crystals; trimethylaluminium (TMA), which is used for manufacturing polymers; and many more. Let’s take a look at these organometallic compounds in detail.

What are 3 classes of organometallic compounds?

Organometallic compounds, also known as coordination complexes, are molecules containing a metal bound to carbon and other elements. Organometallics, because of their unique properties as catalysts, reagents and structural materials have found application in various industrial fields.

Below is a list of 3 classes of organometallic compounds that may be useful for your topic. (Note: all examples were current at time of writing.)

1. Alkyl/aryl derivatives of main group metals: Organoaluminum, organoboron, and organocopper compounds. The first two are used as reducing agents in organic synthesis while copper is used as a catalyst for cross-coupling reactions in organic synthesis and as a fungicide.

2. Main group metal complexes of cyclopentadienyl ligands: These complexes feature a transition metal bound to carbon atoms arranged in a cyclic pentagonal ring structure with one atom of another element (most commonly nitrogen) bonded to each carbon atom in the ring (see figure below).

These complexes have found application as catalysts for olefin polymerization, hydroformylation, hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions .

3. Transition metal complexes of nonclassical carbenes and related species: These molecules contain an element from column 15 or 16 of the periodic table that forms an unusual three-center bond with carbon. Applications include use as oxidizing reagents, flame retardants, Lewis acids, Fischer-Tropsch catalysts , corrosion inhibitors , etc. Many organometallics also have specialized applications including use in medicinal chemistry and homogeneous catalysis .

Production Methods

There are several methods used to produce organometallic compounds. Many of these have been used for decades and have been refined through laboratory research. One method used to produce some inorganic metal carbonyls is electrophilic addition.

This method works by using strong metal halides or aquo complexes as reagents with organic molecules containing alkyl groups on carbon atoms adjacent to double bonds (nucleophiles). The nucleophiles react with a halide or aquo complex and bond with metal centers.

This reaction then produces an organic molecule that contains a metal-carbon bond, called an organometallic compound. For example, when trimethyl borate reacts with sodium tetrafluoroborate it forms sodium ethylborohydride.

In another example, phenylmagnesium bromide reacts with acetic acid to form magnesium acetylacetonate. Another common method used to produce organometallic compounds is transmetallation reactions between two different metals. For example, when ferrocene reacts with lithium aluminum hydride it forms ferrocenylaluminum hydride which can then be further reacted into other products such as ferrocene carboxylic acids or esters.

Health Concerns

Organometallic compounds are often found in items we use every day, including hair dyes, deodorants and antiperspirants. While these chemicals have long been used to create a variety of products, recent research has led scientists to examine their potential negative health effects.

It’s important for consumers to become educated about organometallics so they can make informed decisions about what products they choose for themselves and their families. If you’re worried about your exposure to organometallic compounds, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.


The organic nature of organometallic compounds is what makes them so useful in modern-day chemistry. Organometallics are used to build some of your favorite plastics and pharmaceuticals, for example. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that these chemicals get a lot of attention from chemists both within industry and academia.

Their unique properties often make it possible to improve upon existing materials or create entirely new ones altogether! That said, you should always consult with an expert before using any new material—especially if you plan on using it around food or drink. Even then, there may be risks associated with even harmless substances that we haven’t yet discovered.

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