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CH162 - Introduction to Physical Chemistry

  • Module code: CH162
  • Module name: Introduction to Physical Chemistry
  • Department: Chemistry
  • Credit: 24

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

To provide the student with a quantitative appreciation of the four main branches of physical chemistry: 1. Kinetics (12 and 24 CATS) 2. Thermodynamics (12 and 24 CATS) 3. The fundamental concepts of molecular quantum mechanics (24 CATS only) 4. Quantization of energy applied to electronic, rotation and vibrational energy levels (24 CATS only) Several experiments in the CH155 laboratory practical module in Term II have been designed to complement and provide practical demonstrations of the material encountered in this module.

Principal learning outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to: THERMODYNAMICS (12 and 24 CATS) Understand the three basic laws of thermodynamics; Understand and apply the concepts of enthalpy (H), entropy (S) and free energy (G); Construct phase diagrams through an understanding of the variations of G, H and S; Apply the basic equations governing thermodynamics to chemical processes (both in old and new processes) KINETICS (12 and 24 CATS) Understand the relationship between reaction mechanism and observed rate law (for both integer and fractional order behaviour); Show an appreciation for the wide range of experimental techniques employed to elucidate reaction kinetics; Understanding of the steady-state approximation and knowledge of when to apply it; Understanding of the Arrhenius rate equation and link with transition state theory; Knowledge of the Lindemann mechanism and relationship between gas pressure and reaction rate for gas phase reactions; Show an appreciation for heterogeneous kinetics e.g. catalysis; Understand enzyme and polymer free radical kinetics SPECTROSCOPY (24 CATS) Account for the quantization of the electronic, vibrational and rotational energy of a molecule in terms of simple models; Explain the limitations of these models and understand the basics of improved approximations Show an appreciation of the different experimental techniques used to access molecular energy levels State and account for the optical selection rules applicable in rotational, vibrational and rotational-vibrational spectroscopy; Understand the basics of luminescence and photoluminescence QUANTUM (24 CATS) Demonstrate a familiarity with a variety of quantum phenomenon; Show an understanding of the boundary conditions for permitted energy levels of a system;Understand the structure of the Schrodinger equation and its solution in simple cases; Show an understanding of the physical interpretation of the wave function.

Timetabled teaching activities

24 CATS Lectures 3 per week (total 60 hrs) Workshops/Tutorials (total 8 hrs)

Departmental link

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
24 CATS (Module code: CH162-24)
B (Examination only) Examination - Main Summer Exam Period (weeks 4-9) 100%
Assessed Course Work 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:

  • Undergraduate Chemistry 3 Year Variants (F100) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Master of Chemistry Variants (F105) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Chemistry 3 Year Variants (F121) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Master of Chemistry Variants (F125) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Chemistry with Management (F1N1) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Chemistry and Business Studies (FN11) - Year 1
Optional Core