Howard Knachel

Professor Emeritus
College of Arts and Sciences: Chemistry


Dr. Knachel has been a member of the Chemistry Department since 1971. He teaches general chemistry and inorganic chemistry and lab, and has taught analytical and physical chemistry. He has also taught the chemistry portion of the Integrated Natural Science Sequence and, for many years, was the coordinator of the general chemistry program and an annual high school chemistry teachers' workshop. He is the resident expert on much of the teaching technology within the department and his generosity to and concern for the chemistry department is unmatched by any other. Dr. Knachel graduated with a B.S. Chemistry degree from UD and taught high school chemistry for 4 years. Then he went back to college and received both his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry at The Ohio State University and has continued research there through sabbatical leave. While there, much of his research has revolved around "Bucky balls," or buckminsterfullerene, a spherical molecule similar to the shape of a soccer ball and named after Buckminster Fuller, the architect of the geodesic dome. He brought the research methods back to UD and attracts a variety of students to his research lab which contains a maze of tubing and other apparatus.

In the classroom, Dr. Knachel is famous for his enthusiasm and animated demonstrations. A typical response to Dr. Knachel's teaching method is, "If anyone can get and keep my attention at 8:00 in the morning, it's Dr. Knachel!" Like many on campus, he and his wife are loyal Flyer basketball fans. If his cheering at the arena is at all similar to the encouragement he gives to his students, well, it's no wonder that the Flyers win so many home games!


  • Ph.D. Inorganic Chemistry, Ohio State University, 1971
  • M.S. Chemistry, Ohio State University, 1969
  • B.S. Chemistry, University of Dayton, 1963

Research Interests

  • Inorganic chemistry
  • Synthesis and properties of fullerenes
  • Structure and reactivity of phosphorus halides
  • Sulfur-nitrogen chemistry

Selected Publications

Gates, P.N., Knachel, H.C.; Finch, A.; Fratini, A.V.; Fitch, A.N.; Nardone, O.; Otto, J.C.; Snider, D.A. "Single-crystal and High Resolution X-Ray Diffraction Studies and Raman Spectrum of a Phosphorus(V) Chloride Complex containing a Single Bromide Ion, P3Cl14Br." J. Chem. Soc. 1995, Dalton Trans, 2719.

Baker, K.N.; Fratini, A.V.; Resch, T.; Knachel, H.C.; Adams, W.W.; Socci, E.P.; Farmer, B.L. "Crystal Structures, Phase Transitions and Energy Calculations of Poly(p-phenylene) Oligomers." Polymer 1993, 34, 1571.

Suter, R.W.; Knachel, H.C.; Petro, V.P.; Howatson, J.H.; Shore, S.G. "Nature of Phosphorus(V)Chloride in Ionizing and Nonionizing Solvents." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1973, 95, 1474.

Baker, K.N.; Knachel, H.C.; Fratini, A.V.; Adams, W.W. "Structural Transformations in Crystalline Oligomers of Polyparaphenylene." Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings 1989, 134, 497.

Porter, L.C.; Knachel, H.C.; Fackler, J.P., Jr. "A Mononuclear Gold(I) Complex Containing a Covalently Bound Ylide Ligand. The Structure of Chloro[methyl(methylene)diphenylphosphoranyl-C]gold(I)." Acta Cryst. 1987, C43, 1833.

Knachel, H.C.; Dettorre, C.A.; Galaska, H.J.; Salupo, T.A.; Fackler, J.P., Jr.; Murray, H.H. "Symmetrical Ring Cleavage of the Gold(I) Phosphorus Ylide Dimer [Au(CH2)2PPh2]2 by Hydrogen Halides in Toluene." Inorganica Chimica Acta 1987, 126, 7.

Porter, L.C.; Knachel, H.C.; Fackler, J.P., Jr. "Structure of a Mononuclear Gold(I) Complex Containing a Covalently Bound Ylide Ligand." Acta Cryst. 1986, C42, 1125.

Knachel, H.C.; Owens, S.D.; Lawrence, S.H.; Dolan, M.E.; Kerby, M.C.; Salupo, T.A. "Reactions of HCl(g), DCl(g), and HBr(g) with the Adduct Pyrazine Phosphorus(V) Chloride." Inorganic Chemistry 1986, 25, 4606.

Clark, R.J.H.; Tocher, J.H.; Fackler, J.P., Jr.; Neira, R.; Murray, H.H.; Knachel, H.C. "A Vibrational Study by Raman Spectroscopy of Some Dinuclear Gold Ylide Complexes." J. Organometallic Chemistry 1986, 303, 437.

Basil, J.D.; Murray, H.H.; Fackler, J.P., Jr.; Tocher, J.; Mazany, A.M.; Trzcinska-Bancroft, B.; Knachel, H.; Dudis, D.; Delord, T.J.; Marler, D.O. "Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Dinuclear Gold(I) and Gold(II) Phosphorus Ylide Complexes. Oxidative Addition, Halide Exchange, and Structural Properties Including the Crystal and Molecular Structures of [Au2(CH2)2PPh2]2 and [Au(CH2)2PPh2]2(CH3)Br." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1985, 107, 6908.

Basil, J.D.; Murray, H.H.; Fackler, J.P.,Jr.; Tocher, J.; Mazany, A.M.; Delord, T.J.; Trzcinska-Bancroft, B.; Knachel, H.; Dudis, D.S."Oxidative Addition of Alkyl Halides to Dinuclear Gold(I) Phosphorus Ylide Complexes. Crystal and Molecular Structures of [Au2(CH2)2PPh2]2 and [Au(CH2)2PPh2]2(CH3)Br." Simp. Quim. Inorg. "Met. Transicion" 1st 1985, 17-27. Soc. Chil. Quim.: Concepcion, Chile.

Knachel, H.C.; Dudis, D.S.; Fackler, J.P., Jr."Activation of Two Carbon-Hydrogen Bonds of Nitromethane by a Dinuclear Gold(II) Ylide Complex. The Formation of a CHNO2-Bridged A-Frame Complex." Organometallics 1984, 3, 1312.

Knachel, H.C. (Checker). "Substituted Triaryl Phosphines." Inorganic Syntheses 1982, 21, 175.

Meyer, B.N.; Ishley, J.N.; Fratini, A.V.; Knachel, H.C. "Addition Compounds of Phosphorus(V) Chloride and Aromatic Nitrogen Bases. Crystal Structure and 1H NMR and Raman Spectra of Pyrazine-Phosphorus(V) Chloride." Inorganic Chemistry 1980, 19, 2324.

Ishley, J.N.; Knachel, H.C. "Phosphorus(V) Chloride-Pyrazine Addition Compound." Inorganic Chemistry 1975, 14, 2558.