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Programme & Unit Catalogues

CH10225: The chemistry of everyday things

[Page last updated: 21 April 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/3
Owning Department/School: Department of Chemistry
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: On completion of this unit students are expected to be able to:
* Demonstrate an understanding of the basic chemical composition of materials such as concrete, glass & polymers and their building blocks (e.g. silicate, aluminate).
* Explain the concept of polymorphism and illustrate it with selected relevant examples.
* Describe the basic pharmacology of certain well known biologically active molecules.
* Explain qualitatively how molecules emit and interact with light and describe how these mechanisms are applied.
* Explain the uses of some inorganic materials as pigments and illustrate applications of chemistry to art and cultural heritage studies.
* Explain simple polymer synthesis and relate macroscopic polymer properties to the underlying chemical structure and chain architecture.
* Explain how the physical properties of water impact upon terrestrial ecology.
* Explain the relationship between the structure of water and its properties.
* Describe and rationalise the phase diagram of water.

Aims: To present the chemical factors behind topical issues to a first year chemistry audience. The development of this unit will provide greater choice to chemistry undergraduates in the first year of study and provide basic insight into topical and research led areas of chemistry.

Skills: Learning and studying T/F/A, Written communication T/F/A, Numeracy & computation T/F/A, Problem solving T/F, Information handling & retrieval T/F/A, Working independently F.

* Constructing the modern world: chemical structure of glass, concrete and polymers used in constructing. Development of these materials to include topics such as self-cleaning glass and fire retardants. The chemistry of buildings and their materials. Control of corrosion.
* Physics and chemistry of water: Electronic structure of a water molecule, models of water, interactions between water molecules, origins and consequences of hydrogen bonds, super-cooled and super-heated water, the structure of ice, industrial water purification and waste water treatment.
* The Good the Bad and the Ugly. The chemistry of some significant molecules such as aspirin, caffeine, theobromine, cocaine and cannabinoids, and how polymorphism, crystallinity and plays an important role in their chemistry and pharmacology.
* Molecules and Light: light sources, visible spectrum, pigments and colour reception of the eye, colour mixing, composite colours, pigments; luminescence, fluorescence, phosphorescence.
* Giant Molecules: polymer properties, glass transition temperature, polymer architecture, semi-crystalline and amorphous polymers, crosslinking and elastomers, plasticisers, silicon polymers and glasses, natural polymers.

Programme availability:

CH10225 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Chemistry


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
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