CH4P4-Polymer & Biophysical Chemistry

Module Provider: Chemistry
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Ian Hamley


Summary module description:

To familiarise chemistry students with an exciting and strongly interdisciplinary research area at the borderlines of chemistry, biology and soft matter.

To familiarise chemistry students with an exciting and strongly interdisciplinary research area at the borderlines of chemistry, biology and soft matter. The material is not covered by any other course offered in any other department.

Assessable learning outcomes:
After studying this module students will be able to
- Describe the structural features of proteins, nucleic acids and lipids
- Understand the diffraction, modelling and related techniques used to study biomolecules.
- Understand the thermodynamic and kinetic principles describing: protein folding; enzyme-catalyzed reactions; transport across membranes. Carry out quantitative calculations on these.
-Understand the physical chemical principles underlying polymer chain structure and dimensions, and their experimental measurement,
-Understand polymer mixing including the roles of enthalpy and entropy and comparison of this to the behaviour of block copolymers
-Carry out quantitative calculations to solve problems in polymer and biophysical systems.

Additional outcomes:
This course will enhance the understanding of the inter-linked nature of much of chemistry and biology, bridging the gap between ‘small’ and ‘large’ molecules. It will stress interdisciplinary thinking and approaches.

Outline content:

V Castelletto (7 lectures and 3 workshops) Structures and physical chemistry of Biomolecules. Proteins: primary, secondary, tertiary structure; influence of side-chains; thermodynamics and kinetics of protein folding; enzyme kinetics; elastic proteins. Lipids: amphiphillicity; membrane fluidity and electrostatics. Transport of ions across membranes. Structural and other methods in biophysical chemistry. D Nutt (5 lectures and 4 workshops) Computer modelling of biomolecules Role of molecular modelling; biomolecular force-fields; limitations of the force-field approach. Geometry optimisation; normal mode analysis. Monte Carlo and Molecular Dynamics. I W Hamley (5 lectures and 2 workshops) Polymer chain conformation, molar mass determination, ideal and non-ideal polymer solutions, polymer conformation in good, poor and theta solvents, Flory-Huggins theory for polymer solutions/blends, block copolymer phase diagrams and morphologies, crystalline and glassy polymer structures and chain conformations in these states.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Two one hour lectures per week with approximately one tutorial or workshop on related material every two weeks.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 17
Supervised time in studio/workshop 9 3
Guided independent study 71
Total hours by term 97.00 3.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 100

Other information on summative assessment:
For students on chemistry-based degree courses any unexplained absence from more than two tutorials in chemistry in any term will automatically incur a formal warning from the School Director of Teaching and Learning.

Formative assessment methods:
Students will attend workshops and computer classes. Verbal formative feedback will be given on their work.

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:
    1.5 hours

    Requirements for a pass:
    An overall mark of 50%.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Reassessment will be held in August and will be by examination only worth 100%.
    Final year students are not eligible to resit this module unless they have failed their degree programme overall.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 22 September 2017

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