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NES1400 : Chemical Laboratory Skills 1

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Zuleykha McMillan
  • Lecturer: Dr Hanno Kossen, Dr Cristina Navarro Reguero, Dr Johan Eriksson
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


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 will be introduced to the most fundamental techniques of chemical analysis. Students will be trained 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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion201:0020:00Post-lab work: Students analyse data obtained in the lab and complete relevant tests on Canvas
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion42:008:00Final reports or online tests
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture51:005:00Module induction and induction lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical156:0090:00Organic, Physical and Inorganic Chemistry: 2 x 3h practical session every week
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical53:0015:00General Chemistry: 1 x 3h practical session every week
Guided Independent StudySkills practice202:0040:00Lab preparation: Students watch videoclips of techniques on CANVAS and complete relevant tests
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study122:0022:00Background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Practical 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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M25General Chemistry lab report: Single online assessment after 1st block of lab work
Practical/lab report1M25Organic Chemistry lab report: Single online assessment after 2nd block of laboratory work
Practical/lab report2M25Inorganic Chemistry lab report: Single online assessment after 3rd block of laboratory work
Practical/lab report2M25Physical Chemistry lab report: Single online assessment after 4th block of laboratory work
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Practical/lab reportMPractical Skills Record: Skills assessment of laboratory
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

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.

Reading Lists