Given that I hadn’t heard of this book before it was mentioned in a r/chemistry thread [1], I’m willing to give Advanced Practical Inorganic and Metalorganic Chemistry by R. J. Errington the prize for “most underappreciated lab guide” [2]. The title is an homage, and the text seems designed to pick up where Advanced Practical Organic Chemistry drops off. Make no mistake, this stuff is for experts.

Strictly speaking, experts who need to run anhydrous and anoxic experiments. The kind of experiments where the reagents (or worse, the products) are so air sensitive that you can watch white crystals turn jet black in a matter of seconds. Though there is a chapter on glovebox use, the bulk of this book requires nothing more complex than a Schlenk line and an argon tank.

As a result, the recommended procedures work well for simple tasks, in particular measuring and transferring liquids under controlled rates. The cannula setup uses double-ended needles (or standard needles with the leur lock removed) and an excess of pressure to transfer liquids from one flask to another. Nitrogen from an inert gas manifold provides the pressure, with a needle in the septa of the receiving flask bleeding off the excess gas.Cannulation - Standard Setup

Other setups are less than ideal. For distillation under reduced pressure a manostat is recommended, to carefully control the pressure within the 10 to 50 bar range (to ensure that the compound of interest condenses into the receiving flask). Unfortunately the setup is rather elaborate, requiring significant fumehood real estate. A manostat pump would be a better choice, or even a length of constricted tubing and a pressure gauge.

Manostat ApparatusThe last edition of Advanced Practical Inorganic and Metalorganic Chemistry came out in 1997, so like most lab guides it has a large gap where the section on computers and the internet should be. But if you’re working with air sensitive compounds, or just want a detailed primer on lab skills, put this book on your wishlist.



[1] Sorry, lost the link.

[2] Also, worst named. “Advanced Organometallic Chemistry” would be a lot more evocative.