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NES3400 : Chemical Laboratory Skills 3P

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Zuleykha McMillan
  • Lecturer: Dr Johan Eriksson, Dr Cristina Navarro Reguero
  • 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


The aim of this module is to:

• train students to apply the scientific method to investigate hypotheses. Activities are investigative such
that students structure their experiments with minimal formalised instructions but while under supervision.
• train students in more advanced techniques of chemical synthesis used in research laboratories, for example,
using vacuum and performing reactions in anhydrous conditions.
• train students in more advanced techniques of chemical analysis used in research laboratories, for example,
NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry.
• train students in the formal process of risk assessment and recording of hazard mitigation actions.
• teach strategic aspects of experimental investigations, for example, where multiple steps of chemical
synthesis are required which may require detailed planning.
• Provide a “hands-on”, contextualised, tangible perspective on advanced chemical concepts taught elsewhere in
the curriculum.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module builds on knowledge and skills provided by the pre-requisite modules, Chemical Laboratory Skills Stage 1 and Stage 2.

This module differs from Chemical Laboratory Skills 3M in having a significant physical chemistry component. The experiments that students undertake may vary from year-to-year while being appropriate for the contextualisation of material taught within the Organic, Inorganic and Physical Chemistry modules.

The syllabus includes;

• detailed planning of control measures and risk reporting when considering the safety of experiments.
• strategic approaches toward challenges involving multi-step chemical syntheses.
• anhydrous and non-anhydrous experimental techniques
• interpretation of infrared, UV-Visible and fluorescence spectra to include detailed numerical and/or
graphical analysis of spectroscopic data.
• open-ended investigations where students choose between methodologies while testing hypotheses.
• teaching of how to use the scientific literature (i.e. peer-reviewed sources) to inform investigations and
interpretations and how to make comparisons with literature sources while aware of experimental accuracy.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture31:003:00Lab induction lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion62:0012:00Reports covering all practical sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical1510:00150:005 x 10h practical sessions for each of Inorganic (50h), Organic (50h) and Physical chemistry (50h)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study135:0035:00Background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Competencies in practical classes, procedures, observation, record-keeping and report writing, will be taught, learnt and expected within these modules. Practicals will reinforce elements of the lectures and extend the practical techniques and experience that the students gained in Stage 2.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M33Organic Chemistry lab report
Practical/lab report1M33Physical Chemistry lab report
Practical/lab report2M34Inorganic Chemistry lab report
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Practical/lab reportMPractical Skills Record: Skills assessment of laboratory
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment of laboratory practicals will be summatively assessed through the completion of practical reports. These are designed to examine the student’s ability to present scientific information and data in a concise way while following a specific presentation format.

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

Reading Lists