The 18 Valence Electron (18 VE) Rule or The Inert Gas Rule or The Effective Atomic Number (EAN) Rule: The 18-valence electron (VE) rule states that thermodynamically stable transition metal compounds contain 18 valence electrons comprising of the metal d electrons plus the electrons supplied by the metal bound ligands. The counting of the 18 valence electrons in transition metal complexes may be obtained by following either of the two methods of electron counting, (i). the ionic method and (ii). the neutral method. Please note that a metal-metal bond contributes one electron to the total electron count of the metal atom. A bridging ligand donates one electron towards bridging metal atom.
Example 1: Ferrocene Fe(C5H5)2
Example 2. Mn2(CO)10