CH1IN1NU-Fundamentals of Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table (NUIST)

Module Provider: Chemistry
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Prof Matthew Almond


Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module aims to provide the students with an understanding of the fundamental principles of Inorganic Chemistry to act as a foundation for the remainder of the course.


The module aims to provide the students with an understanding of the fundamental principles of Inorganic Chemistry to act as a foundation for the remainder of the course.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students should be able to describe fundamental principles of atomic structure, give the electronic structures of atoms and their quantum numbers. Students should appreciate how the electronic structure of atoms leads to the build-up of the periodic table.

Students should be able to construct and interpret simple M O diagrams for diatomics; define and apply the terms used in co-ordination chemistry including asymmetry.

Students should have an understanding of the concept of ionic bonding and the stability and structures of ionic solids. Students should be able to recognise and illustrate simple solid state structures and have an understanding of interactions in ionic solids. Students should understand the basic types of packing as related to atoms in metallic structures and ions in the ionic solids encountered above.

Students should be able to display a knowledge of the chemistry of hydrogen and the s and p block elements of groups 1, 2 and 17 and their compounds.

Students should have a fundamental understanding of the properties of the elements of the first transition series, coordination complexes, their bonding, isomerism and stability.

Additional outcomes:

Students will enhance their team working skills by various related problem solving workshops and appreciate the three dimensional nature of solid state structures by model building. Students will practise and develop their oral communication skills by contributions to small group tutorials.

Outline content:

Semester 1:

Atomic and molecular structure and an introduction to the periodic table Atomic structure, the radial distribution function, quantum numbers, atomic orbitals, the atomic spectrum of hydrogen. The aufbau principle, electronic configurations. Formation of molecular orbitals for homo- and hetero-nuclear diatomic molecules and triatomic molecules, including electron deficient bonding. Combinations of molecular orbitals in the bonding of polyatomics exemplified by methane. VSEPR theory and the shapes of simple molecules. The chemistry of hydrogen and the s- and p-block elements of groups 1, 2 and 17. 

Semester 2:

d-Block Elements. Trends in properties. Brief survey of chemistry of Sc to Ni. Co-ordination compounds: nomenclature, electron configurations, ligands, geometries, isomerism. Nature of the co-ordinative bond in transition metal chemistry. ; co-ordination geometries; electron configuration and preferred coordination number. Stability of complexes in solution. Hard and soft character as determining ligand preferences. Introduction to crystal field theory for octahedral complexes. Origin of colour in transition metal complexes. Structural Chemistry. Simple close-packed and cubic arrangements, structures of metallic elements and bonding. Construction of ionic lattices based on simple packing arrangements described above. Radius ratio rules and their use in predicting structure. Simple structural models in inorganic chemistry; the ionic model and its applications. Ionic lattices, lattice enthalpy and the Born Haber Cycle. Experimental methods for the determination of structures of solids.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is mainly carried out by lectures. Tutorials and workshops will be provided to help students put the theory into practice. Each lecture or tutorial or workshop is a 2-hour session.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 40 40
Tutorials 8 8
Guided independent study: 52 52
Total hours by term 100 100 0
Total hours for module 200

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

Summative assessment- Examinations:

1 x 2 hour examination at the end of Semester 1, 37.5% (based on topics covered in semester 1)

1 x 2 hour examination at the end of Semester 2, 37.5% (based on topics covered in semester 2)

(2 x exams, 37.5% each = 75%)

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

A number of workshops will be delivered during the year. The four best workshops (two from semester 1 and two from semester 2) will each count 6.25% to the module mark = 25%

(4 x workshops, 6.25% each = 25%)

Formative assessment methods:

Students will gain experience of putting their knowledge into practice and receive informal feedback on their progress in workshop and tutorial sessions.

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

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Reassessment of the written examinations is held during the standard re-examination periods. Failed coursework may be re-assessed by an alternative assignment before or during these periods.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 21 May 2019


    Things to do now