Module Catalogue 2018/19

CHY2201 : Physical Chemistry

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ben Horrocks
  • Lecturer: Dr Eimer Tuite, Dr Thomas Penfold
  • Practical Supervisor: Dr Nick Walker, Dr Cristina Navarro Reguero
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
CHY1201Elements of Physical Chemistry
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To give students an appreciation of intermediate thermodynamics; introduce the principles of time-dependent chemistry; explain the significance and application of quantum concepts as a major tool in modern chemistry; develop experimental techniques through practical work.

Outline Of Syllabus

Applied Quantum Chemistry
Dr T Penfold

1 Quantized energy levels – translation, rotation, vibration etc
2 Electromagnetic radiation - interaction with molecules
3 Harmonic model for molecular vibrational motion
4 Vibrational – rotational spectra of diatomic molecules
5 Anharmonic model for vibrational motion
6 Particle-in-a-box model
7 Multi-dimensional particle-in-a-box models
8 Electronic absorption spectra of conjugated molecules
9 Tunneling
10 Decay of electronically excited states – fluorescence, phosphorescence
11 Revision seminar

Energetics and interfacial phenomena
Dr BR Horrocks

1 Review of CHY120 energetics
2 Statistical concepts
3 Chemical potential and thermodynamics of solutions
4 Standard states, activities and electrode potentials
5 Interfaces I – adsorption and isotherms
6 Interfaces II – electrical double layer
7 Colloids
8 Polymers
9 Calculations
10 Revision seminar I
11 Revision seminar II

Molecules in motion
Dr EM Tuite

1 Review of Stage 1 kinetics
2 Kinetic theory of gases
3 Molecular collisions in gases
4 Molecular mobility in gases
5 Ion conductivity
6 Mobility of ions
7 Diffusion in solution
8 The Diffusion and Arrhenius Equations
9 Diffusion-controlled reactions
10 Activated Complex Theory
11 Review of Stage 2 kinetics

Laboratory Course
Course organiser: Dr C Navarro-Reguero

Students take a selection from the following experiments:
1 Kinetics of hydrolysis
2 Stopped flow
3 Infrared Spectroscopy
4 Critical Micelle Concentration
5 Fluorescence spectroscopy
6 Absorption Spectroscopy
7 Adsorption of iodine on carbon
8 Walden's Rule
9 Isomerisation or retinal

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

• understand thermodynamics, with special emphasis on solutions and interfaces
• understand the principles of quantum chemistry and spectroscopy
• understand chemical kinetics and related time-dependent phenomena
• be able to make calculations and analyse experimental data in a quantitative manner

Intended Skill Outcomes

Subject specific or professional skills, able to:
• analyse sensitivity, selectivity, precision, accuracy and throughput achievable with particular chemical sensors
• skills in making physico-chemical measurements in the laboratory

Cognitive or intellectual skills, able to:
• solve problems by drawing on physico-chemical principles and making appropriate calculations

Key skills, able to
• experimental report writing

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Data Synthesis : Present
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Numeracy : Assessed
    • Literacy : Present
    • Information Literacy
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Present
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Assessed
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Written Other : Assessed

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion52:0010:00Writing practical reports
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion330:5027:30Revision for end of semester examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion13:003:00Examination at the end of the semester
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture331:0033:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical59:0045:005x9h Practical sessions take place over 5 weeks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops101:0010:00Calculation classes
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery101:0010:001 x 1h drop-in session with lecturer for 10 weeks
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study161:3061:30Background reading and practice past paper examination questions
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge and understanding are conveyed through lectures and practical work. Tutorials enable students to work on problems associated with the lecture course, with assistance from a member of staff. Students learn safe working practices and good experimental technique through practical classes. In laboratory classes students consolidate the learning initiated in lectures and have to plan, organise and write up practical reports on the experiments. The drop in sessions allow discussion between module staff and students.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1802A60N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M40composed of several individual laboratory reports as specified in the practical course handbook
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination assesses the student’s knowledge of the principles of the subject, ability to solve problems and to make calculations.

The laboratory course assesses the students practical skills and ability to make calculations in physical chemistry.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes

Original Handbook text:

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 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 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.