CH1PRA-Laboratory Skills for Chemists

Module Provider: Chemistry
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: CH1IN1 Fundamentals of Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table or CH1PH1 Physical Processes and Molecular Organisation or CH1OR1 Shape, Structure and Reactivity in Organic Chemistry
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Fred Davis


Type of module:

Summary module description:
The module is aimed at teaching some of the fundamental laboratory skills required for a practising chemist.

The module aims to arm students with basic skills in practical chemistry and underline the principles described in the accompanying first year chemistry modules. It introduces students to the fundamental software packages required for chemical report writing.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students should be able to:
Carry out straightforward laboratory manipulations safely including titrations, gravimetric analyses, simple organic preparations, isolations and characterisations such as melting points and obtaining routine spectral data.
Observe, record and analyse results from practical assignments. Draw conclusions, estimate and calculate errors and comment on the significance of results
Keep a permanent record of the observations and results. Present reports of laboratory work in the recommended fashion. Discuss the validity of results and comment on the appropriateness of the methodology. Demonstrate an awareness of safe-working and hazards.
Students should be able to use basic software packages in report writing, including Chem Draw to produce chemical structures.

Additional outcomes:
Students will learn to work effectively in small groups, developing time management skills. Students will refine their numeracy and IT skills.

Outline content:

Weeks 1-5. F J Davis and L M Harwood, Training in general practical techniques and safety: preparation of a standard solution, performing titrations, calculations and analysis of results, graph plotting. Techniques in synthetic chemistry: heating under reflux, distillation, recrystallisation, chromatography and melting point determination. Information retrieval, critical assessment of data, statistical analysis of results, evaluation of errors. Weeks 2-4 Workshop on Chemical Safety (2 hours). Weeks 7-11 E M Page, Practical inorganic chemistry: gravimetric and volumetric analysis, qualitative analysis, chemistry of the Group 1 and Group 17 elements, coordination complexes, redox reactions and titrations related to Module CH1IN1. Weeks 12-16. P B Cranwell and W C Hayes, Examples of simple organic preparations, esterification, reduction, aromatic substitution and condensation reactions. Week 17 Workshop on writing Reports (2hours) Weeks 18-22: J M Elliott, Practical physical chemistry: six experiments based on topics such as equilibria, kinetics and thermodynamics, complementary to Module CH1PH1.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The course involves twenty four hour practical sessions some of which are preceded by a short lecture/demonstration. There will also be two workshops introducing students to more detailed aspects of report writing and Health and Safety.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5 5
Practicals classes and workshops 42 42
Guided independent study 50 56
Total hours by term 97.00 103.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

This module is assessed entirely by continual assessment of coursework. Practical work is assessed by performance in the laboratory (punctuality, good laboratory technique, health and safety awareness, time management, organisation) and the resultant reports. Separate reports are required for the four different sections of the course: general, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry practical. The style and type of report required will be indicated in the handbook for each section of the course and described in the introductory lecture for each section. Health and safety training will be provided and assessed through completion of a formal CoSHH assessment in the first term. Relative percentage of coursework: 100% Weightings of individual components: General techniques and CoSHH assessment 25% Inorganic practical 25% Organic practical 25% Physical practical 25% The assessment in each area is made up on the basis of submitted written work and satisfactory performance in the laboratory.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties 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[1] (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 plus a minimum attendance record of 75% are required to pass the module. All coursework marks will be carried forward and count towards the final resit mark.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Students who fail to attain a 40% pass mark will be required to carry out a practical examination in August.

    Familiarity with techniques in ALL the practical exercises (by attendance) will be required for success in the resit examination. Students whose attendance record is less than 75% are unlikely to succeed in the practical examination.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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