CH1PH1-Physical Processes and Molecular Organisation

Module Provider: Chemistry
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring / Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: A level Chemistry, or equivalent
Co-requisites: CH1IN1 Fundamentals of Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table CH1OR1 Shape, Structure and Reactivity in Organic Chemistry CH1PRA Laboratory Skills for Chemists
Modules excluded: CH1FC1 Fundamental Concepts in Chemistry 1 CH1FC3 Molecular Studies for the Life Sciences or CH1PH2 Physical Processes for Biologists
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Joanne Elliott


Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental principles of Physical Chemistry, which will also act as a foundation for the remainder of the course.


The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental principles of Physical Chemistry, which will also act as a foundation for the remainder of the course. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students should be able to quantitatively assess basic thermodynamic and kinetic data; and describe basic concepts. They should understand what dictates the physical properties of matter and how basic molecular properties can be determined experimentally. 

Additional outcomes:

Work in this module will lead to improved numeracy and descriptive abilities. 

Outline content:

Chemistry in the Balance – Equilibrium (5 lectures). The importance of equilibrium in chemistry and life. Equilibrium law; dynamic nature; gaseous and solution equilibria; acid-base equilibria; heterogeneous equilibria. The effect of temperature and a variety of simple calculations.  Chemical Kinetics (5 lectures) The rate equation; order, rate constant and integrated rate equations; kinetics and mechanism; Arrhenius equation; more complex reactions and enzymic catalysis.  What makes Reactions go? (5 lectures) Chemistry and Energy. Forms of energy; enthalpy, Hess’s Law, qualitative approach to entropy and free energy, 2nd and 3rd laws of thermodynamics.  The Quantum World (6 lectures): Inside atoms and molecules: Why do we need quantum mechanics?; Quantisation; Energy levels; The interaction of light with matter; Spectroscopy.  Introductory Statistics (2 lectures): Mean, standard deviation and standard error.  Molecular Organisation (6 lectures): Gases, Liquids & Solids. Ideal gas behaviour; interactions between molecules; qualitative discussion of how real gases behave; pressure-temperature phase diagrams for one-component systems; vapour pressure; Raoult's law; temperature-composition phase diagrams for two partially miscible liquids and for a mixture of volatile liquids: application to fractional distillation. Review Lectures (5 lectures) Revision of material covered in all courses in preparation for the final exam.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Three one-hour lectures per week, with two tutorials and five workshops on related material. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 29 6
Seminars 5
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study 158
Total hours by term 194.00 6.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 75
Set exercise 25

Summative assessment- Examinations:

2 hours 

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will attend tutorials and workshops on the material covered in this module. Attendance is compulsory at both. Both tutorial work and workshop problems will form the basis of the test held at the end of the spring term. Tutorials must be submitted by the named date.

A one hour test at the end of the spring term (week 31) based on tutorial and workshop material. 25%

Submission dates: Tutorial 1 held in week 25 (submission due in week 24), Tutorial 2 held in week 29 (submission due in week 28)

Tutorial work must be submitted by the deadlines specified according to the tutorial grid on the Blackboard site

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The following penalties with be applied for work submitted late:

Where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;

Where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: .

You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40% overall

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment will be held in August and will be by examination only worth 100%.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: Required text books: • 'Chemistry' by Catherine E. Houscroft and Edwin C. Constable. ISBN-10: 0273733087, £70 • 'Atkins Physical Chemistry’ by Peter Atkins and Julio de Paula (10th edition). ISBN-10: 019969740X, ~£45 • Chemistry Data Book, 2nd Edition in SI, by JG Stark and HG Wallace. ISBN-10: 071953951X, £18.99

2) Specialist equipment or materials: Scientific Calculator (non-programmable), £10.00

Last updated: 25 September 2018


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