Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code CHEM152
Coordinator Dr DL Cooper
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2019-20 Level One Second Semester 15


The main aim of this module is to equip students with an understanding of basic kinetics and thermodynamics as they relate to chemical reactions.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of the module students should be familiar with, and be able to make appropriate use of basic ideas of energy changes in chemical reactions

(LO2) By the end of the module students should be familiar with, and be able to make appropriate use of ideas relating to the rates of chemical reactions

(LO3) By the end of the module students should have developed basic laboratory skills and be able to write simple experimental reports which include data and error analysis.

(S1) By the end of the module students will have developed their problem solving skills

(S2) By the end of the module students will have developed their organisational skills



Lecture Material

Thermodynamics [mostly energy changes in chemical reactions] (Dr Johnson)

• Ideal gas equation, including definitions/units of pressure, temperature, mole and standard conditions and use of pV=nRT and deviations from the ideal gas equation.
• The First Law of Thermodynamics: Types of thermodynamics functions. Internal energy and enthalpy; heat & work; Measurement of energy and enthalpy using calorimeters.
• Variation of enthalpy and energy with temperature.
• The Second Law of Thermodynamics. Equilibrium as a minimum in Gibbs Free Energy.
• Entropy and variation of entropy with temperature.
• Concept of equilibrium being minimum in the Gibbs free energy. Idea of extent of reaction. Reaction Quotient and Equilibrium constant.
• Relationship between Equilibrium Constant and Gibbs free energy.
• Equilibria in Solutions: solubility p roducts, acid-base reactions, electrochemical reactions.
• Variation of equilibrium constant with temperature.
• Nernst equation;
• Physical Equilibrium- Clausius Clapyeron Equation.

Kinetics (Dr Cooper)

• idea of rates of chemical reactions and of factors that determine them;
• orders of reactions; 0th order, 1st order and (simple) 2nd order reactions, including how data are manipulated;
• initial rates;
• half-life, using traditional 1st order examples;
• activation energy barriers and temperature dependence, including Arrhenius equation & variation of lnk with 1/T (done graphically);
• kinetic isotope effects;
• elementary step, rate-determining step & reaction mechanism;
• chain reactions and photochemical reactions
• catalysis, including industrial examples; Lineweaver-Burk plots & Michaelis-Menten model (enzymes).

Workshop Material
• The lecture course will be supported by fortnightly workshop sessions designed to give students an opportunity to practise solving kinetics and thermodynamics problems

Laboratory Material
• The lab-related workshop session will be devoted mostly to transferable skills including data and error analysis. It includes a mock experimental write up which students will have to complete in their own time, with a deadline before they start any laboratory work.
In the subsequent five laboratory sessions, students will carry out two kinetics experiments and three thermodynamics experiment. These experiments will be designed so as to allow students to finish the experimental work in one three-hour session. Most of the analysis (as well as the formal report) will then have to be completed in their own time, with a deadline before their next lab session; they will be encouraged to make appro priate use of the demonstrators to deal with any questions/problems that arise. There are compulsory pre-lab activities associated with each of the practical sessions.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The module will consist of 14 lectures on thermodynamics, 14 lectures on kinetics, 5 tutorials (2 hour workshop sessions), 5 laboratory experiments (3 hour sessions), and one lab-related workshop session (3 hours). There will be a class test part way through the course.

All material is covered Elements of Physical Chemistry (P.W. Atkins and J. de Paula). There will be no integrations and no use of partial derivatives in the lectures. In particular, students will subsequently be expected to be able to use various formulae [integrated rate laws, temperature dependence of rate constants and equilibrium constants, and so on] without ever having been shown derivations. In the laboratory sessions, a number of the thermodynamics and kinetics concepts will be illustrated by experiments carried under close demonstrator supervision. Some experiments will be conducted in pairs, so as to further interaction skills. The students will write (individually) a report on their experimental work , which will be assessed.

Students will have the opportunity in workshops to work through problems that relate to the principles covered in the lecture course, with tutors available to help. Outline answers will be available in VITAL. The lab-related workshop session will begin with transferable skills, such as those related to data and error analysis.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 28



Timetable (if known) 60 mins X 3 totaling 36
  120 mins X 1 totaling 10
180 mins X 1 totaling 18
Private Study 94


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Class Test There is a resit opportunity in week 12  60 minutes    10       
Formal examination This is a compulsory component, i.e. it must be passed for passing the module.  120 minutes    60       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Laboratory Work & Lab-related Workshop. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. There is no re-sit opportunity for this component, but there are multiple opportunities for a student to c  5 three hours sessio    25       
5 x 2 hour workshops. Marks are awarded for engagement with the workshops There is no re-submission opportunity. This work is not marked anonymously.  5 x 2 hour workshops         

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.