Module Catalogue 2020/21

CHY1510 : Chemical Laboratory Skills 1

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Zuleykha McMillan
  • Lecturer: Dr Hanno Kossen, Dr Cristina Navarro Reguero, Dr Toni Carruthers, Dr Johan Eriksson
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The aims of this module is to show students how the fundamental principles of scientific inquiry serve to advance knowledge. Students will learn to evaluate data and report results, and introduce the most fundamental techniques of chemical analysis and train students in the appropriate handling of scientific data.

Students will be taught basic aspects of safe laboratory practice and the ability to use safety information sources. The module will facilitate students to develop manipulative skills with items of laboratory apparatus that are commonly-encountered in the professional workplace, and provide a “hands-on”, contextualised, tangible perspective on chemical concepts taught elsewhere in the curriculum.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module trains chemical laboratory skills that are important in the chemical industry and in many other sectors of employment. The key skills taught span the sub-disciplines of physical, organic, inorganic and medicinal chemistry. The module provides a tangible, “hands-on” contextualisation of topics encountered elsewhere in Newcastle chemistry degrees. Skills and techniques taught within this module provide a foundation for the more advanced techniques encountered in subsequent Stages.

Students learn how the fundamental principles of scientific inquiry serve to advance knowledge. They learn to evaluate hypotheses and report on observations. Students develop strong familiarity with apparatus including flasks, pipettes, balances and burettes. They become familiar with common analytical techniques (spectroscopy, chromatography, melting point) and their advantages and limitations.

The syllabus includes;
• laboratory and safety awareness
• introduction to techniques of chemical separation, purification and synthesis
• introduction to techniques of chemical analysis (melting point, chromatography,
titration, gravimetric analysis)
• basic interpretation of infrared, UV-Visible and fluorescence spectra
• introduction to calorimetry, electrochemistry and spectroscopy.
• introduction to fundamental principles of calibration and data handling.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module it is expected students will be able to

• Identify the principles of scientific inquiry: Knowledge of how experimentation and testing,
observations and analysis allow the testing of hypotheses. Knowledge of good practice in the
reporting of observations and results.
• Identify good practice in basic techniques commonly encountered in the context of professional
chemistry. For example, these include titration, distillation, separation, re-crystallisation,
calibration and the preparation of mixed solutions.
• Advantages and limitations of common techniques of analytical chemistry including UV-Vis
spectroscopy, column and thin layer chromatography, melting point apparatus.
• Understand and be able to use and act on safety information sources such as safety manuals,
chemical hazard pictograms, safety signage and COSSH risk assessment data.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Key skills, able to:
• plan and organise course and laboratory work effectively.
• observe, summarise and report the results of laboratory experiments.
• collaborate effectively to complete practical tasks and investigations.

Subject specific or professional skills, able to:
• read and comprehend safety information provided in COSHH forms, CLP pictograms,
university manuals and local rules; work safely in response to guidance provided.
• apply basic practical skills for the synthesis, purification and identification
of organic compound.
• manipulate and properly use laboratory apparatus that is commonly used in professional
contexts. For example, flasks, pipettes, balances, burettes and instruments employed
in chemical analysis.
• interpret the results of synthetic experiments through chemical analysis (eg infrared
spectroscopy, NMR)
• take accurate and appropriate notes while performing laboratory experiments
• explain the limitations of experimental methods
• perform calculations to enable chemical syntheses and interpret data from laboratory
experiments; particularly calculations of chemical yield.
• design simple chemical syntheses

Cognitive or intellectual skills, able to:
• develop models and hypotheses based on experimental observations
• Solve problems in chemical analysis from information provided as analytical data.
• Solve problems of synthesis and mechanism

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials160:308:00Online - pre-recorded short lectures to support material covered in practicals and dry labs
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion44:0016:00Online tests on practical aspects
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion48:0032:00Students complete their lab reports based on results of their experiments
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion14:004:00Online - assessment of dry labs.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading152:0030:00Online - module lecturer will give students relevant reading for module topics throughout semester
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical163:0048:002 x 3h practical session will take place every fortnight in the laboratory
Guided Independent StudySkills practice116:0016:00Students watch videoclips of techniques on CANVAS and complete relevant tests
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops41:004:00Dry Lab zoom weekly session, first 4 weeks of Sem 1
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion44:0016:00Discussion board on CANVAS
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery141:0014:00Lab Q&A Zoom session
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study17:007:00Independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk51:005:00Induction lectures to 4 lab courses and 1 dry lab
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Dry Labs provide the students with an opportunity to gain practice in basic chemical manipulations.

Practical sessions are designed to introduce students to key concepts and allow them the opportunity to develop expertise in a range of fundamental scientific skills, including using scientific literature, and collecting, interpreting and presenting scientific information.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M20Single online assessment after 1st block of lab work
Practical/lab report1M20Single online assessment after 2nd block of laboratory work
Practical/lab report2M20Single online assessment after 3rd block of laboratory work
Practical/lab report2M20Single online assessment after 4th block of laboratory work
Practical/lab report1M20Dry Lab report
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Practical/lab reportMSkills assessment of laboratory
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will be expected to present notes of their practical work in their laboratory notebooks and use these notes to complete the summative reports.

The practical reports will assess the students’ ability to plan and carry out experimental work within the laboratory setting, and accurately record, analyse and report scientific data. In producing the report, students will need to demonstrate their use of taught practical skills, and appropriate reporting and interpretation of data.

The skills associated with recording scientific data are assessed by a mark for the notebook, which is kept during each laboratory. The outcomes of individual experiments are assessed by short templated submission and/or online methods - these tasks may be completed in laboratory hours.

There is one summative assessement of the drylab material and an in-laboratory practical examination at the end of the course.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.