CH2PH1-Further Physical Chemistry

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

Module Convenor: Dr David Nutt


Type of module:

Summary module description:

The aim of this module is to further students’ understanding of key aspects of physical chemistry related to equilibrium and structure. 


The aim of this module is to further students’ understanding of key aspects of physical chemistry related to equilibrium and structure. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students should be able to:

• Describe, explain, discuss and apply the physical principles and theory underlying core areas of physical chemistry, to include electrochemistry, spectroscopy, molecular modelling, kinetics, surfaces and interfaces and statistical thermodynamics.

• Critically examine questions raised in tutorials and workshops, and analyse numerical problems on relevant material.

Additional outcomes:

The students should improve their numeracy, critical thinking and analytical skills through problem solving, and oral and presentation skills through tutorials.

Outline content:

Electrochemistry: Aqueous electrolyte solutions; Activity coefficients and Debye Hückel theory; Electrochemical cells; Thermodynamic parameters from emf measurements; pH and pontiometric titrations.

Spectroscopy: Absorption and scattering processes; Transition dipole moments; Selection rules; Rotational spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy and vibration-rotation spectroscopy of diatomic molecules; Raman spectroscopy; Vibronic spectroscopy.

Introduction to Molecular Modelling: Forces between molecules; Balls on springs; Molecular mechanics; Potential energy surfaces; Applications of molecular mechanics.

Kinetics: Multi-step kinetics; Steady-state approximation; Michaelis-Menten kinetics; Chain reactions - steady-state; Radical chain reactions; Branched chain reactions; Explosions; Techniques in Chemical Kinetic analysis.

Surface and Interface Physical Chemistry: Surface and Interfacial tension; Surfactancy; Gibbs adsorption isotherm; Micellization and surface activity; Critical micelle concentration as equilibrium, considering associated thermodynamics; lyotropic liquid crystal phases of surfactants.

Statistical thermodynamics: Boltzmann Law; Partition functions; Thermodynamic functions; Ideal monatomic and diatomic gases.

Workshops on maths for Physical Chemists.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Approximately three one-hour lectures per week with tutorials and workshops on related material and on the underlying mathematical principles. 6 x 1-hour drop-in sessions.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 29
Tutorials 2
Supervised time in studio/workshop 12 6
Guided independent study: 151
Total hours by term 194 6
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 80
Set exercise 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:
2 hours

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Coursework 20%

Tutorials (written work) 20%

Students attend tutorials and workshop/seminars on the material covered in this module. Attendance is compulsory at both. 

Examination 80%

Formative assessment methods:
6 x workshops on problems of the type encountered in tutorials and examinations.
6 x drop-in 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 arrangements are in accordance with University policy. Reassessment of the written examination is held during the University-administered re-examination period in August. Failed coursework may be re-assessed by an alternative assignment before or during the August re-examination period.


    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    1) Required text books: • 'Chemistry' by Catherine E. Housecroft and Edwin C. Constable. ISBN-10: 0273733087, ~£70 • 'Atkins Physical Chemistry’ by Peter Atkins, Julio de Paula and James Keeler (11th edition). ISBN-10: 0198769865, ~£45 • Chemistry Data Book, 2nd Edition in SI, by JG Stark and HG Wallace. ISBN-10: 071953951X, ~£19

    2) Specialist equipment or materials: Scientific Calculator (non-programmable), £10.00

    Last updated: 8 April 2019


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