Physical Chemistry - LABS4100

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Year 4 15 (7.5) checkmark-circle


A synopsis of the curriculum
1. Introduction to Acids and Bases
? Define acids and bases, understand their properties and identify their structural features and relate these to acidity and pKa values
? Understand Arrhenius and Bronsted acids and bases and the relationship of conjugate acid-base pairs; acid/base strength and the pH Scale; the autoprotolysis of water
? Define the ionic product of water (Kw) and pX where X can be, H, OH, Ka, Kb, Kw
? Calculate pH of aqueous solutions of strong acids/bases and calculate [H3O+] and [OH-] at a given pH or pOH.

2. Basic Kinetics
? Understand the parameters that can affect the rate of a chemical reaction and be able to explain the terms: rate of reaction, rate law, order of reaction and rate constant
? Have a basic understanding of equilibrium and collision theories
? Explain concentration/time profile for zero, first, pseudo-first, and second order reactions and be able to state rate laws for zero, first and second order reactions
? Determine rate constants and orders of reaction and calculate half-life

3. Basic Thermodynamics
? Define and understand energy; pressure; temperature, systems and internal energy.
? State the first and second laws of thermodynamics
? Define enthalpy, discuss what endothermic/exothermic chemical reactions are and calculate enthalpies.
? Define entropy and free energy, discuss what spontaneous/non spontaneous chemical reactions are and calculate entropies and free energies


Contact hours

Blended Distance learning:
Contact Hours: 120
Private Study Hours: 30
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Portfolio 30% - composed of individual assignments where topics are applied to the workplace
Assignments 40% - 2 Assignments (20% each)
Exam 30% - composed of MCQs
The pass mark for each individual assessment is 40%. All assessments must be passed in order to pass the module.

Indicative reading

Ebbing, D.D.,General Chemistry, (8th. ed.), Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 2006.

Sutton, R., Rockett, B., Swindells, P., Chemistry for the Life Sciences, Taylor & Francis, Oxfordshire, 2000.

Crowe, J., Bradshaw, T., Chemistry for the Biosciences: The Essential Concepts, Oxford University Press, USA, 2010.

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Describe the basic chemical concepts in the area of physical chemistry.
Demonstrate knowledge of the definitions and properties of acids and bases and be able to relate these to appropriate equations.
Display an understanding of solution equilibria, the rates of chemical reactions and the factors that affect them.
Explain the key concepts of the first and second laws of thermodynamics and their application in a chemical context.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Demonstrate the development of practical/technical skills
Analyse, evaluate and correctly interpret data
Communicate and present data effectively
Obtain and use information from a variety of sources as part of self-directed learning.
Manage their time and use their organisation skills within the context of self-directed learning.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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