CH2PRAC-Extended Laboratory Skills for Chemists

Module Provider: Chemistry
Number of credits: 30 [15 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn and Spring
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2012/3

Module Convenor: Dr Matthew Almond


The module aims to arm students with further skills in practical chemistry and underline the principles described in the accompanying second year chemistry modules.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students should be able to:
Assess the risks involved in an experiment and carry out a COSHH risk assessment; carry out advanced laboratory procedures safely and carefully in order to produce pure products. make accurate observations and measurements, and record them clearly; analyse experimental data and draw both qualitative and quantitative conclusions from these. Interpret proton NMR spectra of organic compounds in order to deduce chemical structure.
In physical chemistry students should be able to measure, analyse, interpret and understand the limitations of experimental data to determine physical properties of molecules and to test simple theoretical models.
In analytical chemistry students should understand aspects of sample preparation and instrumental operation for a selection of the following analytical instruments: GC,HPLC, UV-VIS NMR, flame emission photometer, atomic absorbtion spectrometer and ion
selective electrode. Students should be able to interpret the results obtained from a selection of the above instruments.
Students should be able to write a coherent and literate account of an extended session of laboratory work in the Royal Society of Chemistry format.

Additional outcomes:
Students will learn to work effectively in small groups, developing time management skills. Students will refine their numeracy and IT skills. Students will become familiar with using and citing the chemical literature and will develop written communication skills in preparation for completing the major project report in the final year.

Outline content:
Outline content:
Autumn Weeks 1-5, R.K. Cramer, G.D. Brown, C.J. Cardin and J.V. Baum Practical Analytical Chemistry (accompanying module CH2AN3)
Experiments involving a selection from the following analytical techniques: Gas Chromatography; High Performance Liquid Chromatography; Ultraviolet-Visible Spectroscopy; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
Spectroscopy; Flame Emission Photometry; Atomic Absorbtion Spectrometry; and Ion Selective Electrodes.

Autumn Weeks 6-10 D. Nutt (lead), C. Pfrang and J M Elliott and J.V. Baum Practical Physical Chemistry (accompanying module CH2PH1) Five experiments covering kinetics, spectroscopy and general physical chemistry relevant to material covered in module CH2PH1.

Spring Weeks 1-5 M J Almond (lead) E M Page and J.V. Baum Practical Inorganic Chemistry (accompanying module CH2IN1) Five full-day experiments involving synthesis, purification, and analysis by spectroscopic, magnetic and wet-chemical methods of both main-group and transition metal compounds.

Spring Weeks 6-10. A.T. Russell (lead), , L M Harwood, and J.V. Baum Practical Organic Chemistry (accompanying module CH2OR1) Students will learn how to set-up, monitor and work-up organic reactions, carry out standard laboratory purifications then record and analyse, inter alia, NMR and infrared spectra of the compounds made.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The course involves forty hours of practical sessions some of which are preceded by a short lecture/demonstration.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 2 2
Practicals classes and workshops 100 100
Guided independent study 48 48
Total hours by term 150 150 0
Total hours for module 300

Summative Assessment Methods:

Method Percentage
Practical skills assessment 100

Other information on summative assessment:
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. Blackboard Tests may be used for some practicals. Separate reports are required for the four different sections of the course: analytical, physical, inorganic and organic 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.

Relative percentage of coursework: 100%
Weightings of individual components:
Analytical practical 25%
Inorganic practical 25%
Organic practical 25%
Physical practical 25%
Submission dates:
Analytical Practicals – Week 7 Autumn
Physical Practicals – Week 1 Spring
Inorganic Practicals – Week 7 Spring
Organic Practicals – First 3 Experiments Week 10 Spring; Last 2 Experiments Week 1 Summer

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy.
The following penalties will be applied to coursework which is submitted after the deadline for submission:

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadine. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.
    (Please refer to the Undergraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall plus a minimum attendance record of 75%.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Students who fail to attain a 40% pass mark will be required to carry out a whole day practical examination in August/September for which there is a resit fee. 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.

    Last updated: 7 May 2012

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