CH3PRAC-Advanced Chemistry Practical Training

Module Provider: Chemistry
Number of credits: 30 [15 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites: CH2IN1 Further Inorganic Chemistry CH2PRAC Extended Laboratory Skills for Chemists CH2OR1 Further Organic Chemistry CH2PH1 Further Physical Chemistry CH2AN3 Analytical Chemistry
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Roger Bennett


Summary module description:

This module is designed to provide students with advanced practical skills in chemistry and incorporates analytical, organic, inorganic and physical disciplines.

Training is given in advanced experimental methods in Physical, Inorganic and Organic chemistry. These range from specific techniques, and synthesis, to quantitative measurements and instrumentation. In the Spring Term students are engaged in longer, open ended, experiments which that build on the work in Autumn Term. Students may indicate their preference for these extended experiments to be in either Physical or Organic, and either Inorganic or Analytical.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students should be able to undertake advanced chemistry practical experiments, to work safely, to plan and execute a systematic study, to interpret and quantify results and write concise and informative reports.

Additional outcomes:
Students should be able to appreciate the wide range of techniques used in modern chemistry and gain experience working individually, in small groups or teams.

Outline content:
The module is arranged into blocks of organic, inorganic and physical practical classes. Due to the arrangement of the academic year the practical timetable will be as follows for Autumn Term:
Week 1: Organic
Week 2: Organic
Weeks 3 – 5: Inorganic
Week 6: Inset week
Weeks 7 – 8: Organic
Weeks 9 – 11: Physical

For Spring Term:
Week 2-4: Organic and Physical
Week 7-9: Inorganic and Analytical
Week 6: Inset week

Organic (CD Smith, AT Russell, Autumn Term)
Experiments will cover the synthesis, purification and characterisation of a number of organic molecules. The syntheses are designed to reflect the 3rd year organic chemistry and will require the use of advanced organic techniques. In all cases the compounds will be fully characterised according to the standard required for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Organic (PB Cranwell, Spring term)
For the Spring term extended laboratory experiment, students will be presented with a scenario in which they are contracted to work for a pharmaceutical company. They will work in teams to generate a small library of compounds, each requiring a short, linear synthesis, and then they will screen their compounds for activity. They will present their findings using PowerPoint.

Inorganic (F Hartl)
In the autumn term experiments will cover synthesis, purification and characterisation of iron and nickel nitrosyl complexes, peroxido and superoxido dicobalt complexes and a zeolite. The methods used for structural determination and description of bonding properties will include IR and Raman spectroscopy, NMR and EPR spectroscopy, atomic absorption spectroscopy, magnetic susceptibility and powder X-ray diffraction.

Inorganic (F Hartl, Spring Term)
In the spring term up to 12 students will synthesize an air- and moisture-sensitive organometallic complex under strictly inert atmosphere experimental conditions on a Schlenk line (day 1), which serves as a precursor for novel redox active compounds (day 2) studied with cyclic voltammetry and IR absorption spectroelectrochemistry (day 2 and 3).

Physical (RA Bennett, R Grau-Crespo):
Experiments will cover quantitative aspects of physical chemistry including: a systematic study of the electrochemical properties of low index platinum single crystal surfaces by cyclic voltammetry in acidic conditions; an evaluation of the sublimation energy of iodine by the absorption of visible light by iodine vapour at equilibrium with the solid, with an introduction to statistical mechanics within the analysis; and either the fabrication and characterisation of simple dye sensitised solar cells or the synthesis and optical properties of gold nanoparticles with an analysis of surface plasmon excitations.

Physical (RA Bennett, Spring term):
Spring Term extended laboratory experiments are an investigation of Pt surface chemistry by electrocatalysis for the identification of CO and Methanol oxidation behaviour or relevance to Fuel Cells.

Analytical (JE Mckendrick, Spring Term):
Spring term extended laboratory experiments involve the measurement of the capsaicin content of chilli peppers and ascribing this measurement to the heat as described by the Scoville scale. The experiment will involve extraction and simple purification of the capsaicin from the pepper and the estimation of its content using a student derived and optimised HPLC method. A comparison between this procedure and that of a simple SPE clean-up protocol will enable determination of any interfering co-eluents.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Autumn Term: 1 x 9 hour introductory practical class
3 x 9 hours in each Organic, Inorganic and Physical discipline
Spring term: 6 x 9 hours in two disciplines out of Organic or Physical and Inorganic or Analytical.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Project Supervision 90 54
Guided independent study 52 104
Total hours by term 142.00 158.00
Total hours for module 300.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 100

Other information on summative assessment:
Practical work will be assessed both through work in the laboratory and the resultant reports. Practical reports must be submitted by the given deadline date.

Relative percentage of coursework : Practical work, presentations and reports 100 %

Submission dates (Autumn Term):
Organic: The students will submit the work weekly prior to starting the next experiment. The first week will not count towards their marks and will serve as a trial report so that the students can have formative feedback.
Inorganic: Work will be submitted in the organic practical session in week 7.
Physical: To be submitted weekly and then in week 1 of the Spring term.

Submission dates (Spring Term):
Organic: The students will present their talks in week 7.
Physical: To be submitted in week 7.
Inorganic: To be submitted in week 11.
Analytical: To be submitted in week 11.

Formative assessment methods:
Work in both terms will be weighted equally such that in each term 50% of the total credit is available.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • 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 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.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    An overall mark of 40%.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    If a student should fail the programme overall, reassessment of this module will be by a practical examination in August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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