Class of substances with chemical structures made up of a central metal atom surrounded by nonmetal atoms or groups of atoms, known as ligands. Examples of coordination compounds include hemoglobin, vitamin B12, and chlorophyll, as well as dyes, pigments, and catalysts. Coordination compounds are used in hydrometallurgical processes for the extraction of metals such as nickel, cobalt, and copper from their ores and in important catalytic processes to bring about polymerization of organic compounds such as polyethylene and polypropylene. Coordination compounds are also used in the analysis of other compounds and in the sequestering of metal ions.
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.