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Department of Chemistry, Unit Catalogue 2011/12

CH10138: From molecules to materials for natural scientists

Click here for further information Credits: 12
Click here for further information Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Click here for further information Period: Academic Year
Click here for further information Assessment: EX 80%, PR 20%
Click here for further information Supplementary Assessment: CH10138 EXAM (where allowed by programme regulations)
Click here for further information Requisites: In taking this unit you cannot take CH10137. You must have A-level Chemistry or equivalent to take this unit.
Click here for further information Description: Aims:
To introduce the basic concepts of physical chemistry upon which understanding of modern chemistry depends. These include the principles governing chemical processes in terms of thermodynamic properties, the measurement and analysis of reaction rates, chemical equilibria, phase behaviour, molecular spectroscopy and basic quantum mechanics. In addition, to provide a basic training in laboratory skills for Physical Chemistry. To relate experimental work to the scientific theory behind the experiment and thus give a fuller understanding of the theory.

Learning Outcomes:
After studying this unit, students should be able to:
* Describe simply the role of thermodynamics, kinetics and spectroscopy in chemistry
* Discuss the fundamental ideas lying behind thermodynamics, kinetics and spectroscopy and how they can be used to interpret chemical behaviour
* Perform qualitative and quantitative analyses of and solve problems involving thermodynamic and kinetic concepts and data.
* Solve numerical problems in of thermodynamics, kinetics and spectroscopy.
* Make essential observations accurately and estimate the possible errors.
* Produce a scientific report of their work.
* Gain a critical appreciation of the purpose, significance and limitations of any experimental study.

Numeracy (F, A), Problem solving (T, F, A), Scientific writing (F, A), Oral communication (F).


* The world of gases: ideal and non-ideal gases. Intermolecular forces: vapours, liquids and solutions. First law of thermodynamics and thermochemistry: energy changes in chemical reactions. Entropy and free energy.
* Reaction kinetics, Stoichiometry, molecularity; reaction rate and order: half-life; integrated rate equations.
* Experimental methods in reaction kinetics. Arrhenius equation. Consecutive reactions; intermediates; rate limiting steps; chain reactions; catalysis.
* Calculation of changes in U, H, S, G under a range of temp., pressure and composition conditions. Le Chatelier principle. Relation between Gibbs free energy and equilibrium constants with examples drawn from chemical reactions, redox and electrochemical processes.
* Phase behaviour of solids, liquids and gases. Qualitative and quantitative characterisation of phase transitions. Emphasis will be placed on the solution of a range of types of problems.
* UV/visible spectrophotometry. Vibrational spectroscopy. Linear diatomic and polyatomic molecules. IR spectra of functional group containing compounds. Rotational spectroscopy; rigid rotor model. Vibration-rotation spectroscopy.
* A series of experiments based on principles introduced during lectures.
Click here for further informationProgramme availability:

CH10138 is Optional on the following programmes:

Programmes in Natural Sciences
  • UXXX-AFB01 : BSc (hons) Natural Sciences (Full-time) - Year 1
  • UXXX-AKB02 : BSc (hons) Natural Sciences with Industrial Placement (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 1
  • UXXX-AAB02 : BSc (hons) Natural Sciences with Study Year Abroad (Full-time with Study Year Abroad) - Year 1
  • UXXX-AFM01 : MSci (hons) Natural Sciences (Full-time) - Year 1
  • UXXX-AKM02 : MSci (hons) Natural Sciences with Professional Placement (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 1
  • UXXX-AAM02 : MSci (hons) Natural Sciences with Study Year Abroad (Full-time with Study Year Abroad) - Year 1

NB. Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.