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.
Title Further Physical Chemistry (MChem)
Code CHEM354
Coordinator Professor A Hodgson
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 6 FHEQ Second Semester 15

Pre-requisites before taking this module (or general academic requirements):

CHEM260 Physical Chemistry II 


The aim of this module is to extend a student's knowledge of Physical Chemistry, in particular to demonstrate the relationship between microscopic and macroscopic models for physical chemical phenomena, the quantum mechanical description of chemical bonding and the physical chemistry of electrochemical cells, surfactants and colloids.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of the module, students should be able to show that they
* understand how macroscopic physical properties of a system are related to microscopic properties of molecules;
* understand bonding in molecules from quantum mechanical principles;
* have an understanding of the physical chemistry of ideal and real electrochemical cells;
* have an understanding of the physical chemistry of surfactants and colloids;
* are able to apply their knowledge of physical chemistry to solve unseen problems.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This module consists of 30 50-minute online lectures and three revision lectures.  These lectures will be used to provide the background material necessary to succeed in this module. The lectures will be supported by six tutorial workshops. In the tutorials students will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge that they have gained from the lectures to problems of varying difficulty.

Students will be expected to spend an additional six hours per week in private study related to this module.



1) Ionic species, electrochemistry and introduction to surface Chemistry (10 lectures)
• Electrolytes and electrochemical thermodynamics
• Structure of liquids. Ion-solvent interactions. Examples of ionic hydration energies. Activities of ions. Half ell reactions and standard electrode potentials.
• Transport properties in liquids. Conductivity and mobility.
• Liquid surfaces: surface tensions and capillary rise. The Young equation. Contact angles and surface wetting. Detergents and surfactants. Structure of colloidal solutions. Origin of colloid stability. Lyophilic and lyophobic colloids. Structure and properties of amphiphilic molecules. Critical micelle concentration.

2) The link between molecular and thermodynamic properties (10 lectures)
• Introduction: comparison of macroscopic (thermodynamics) and microscopic (spectroscopy) molecular properties as descriptions of chemistry.
• Concepts of statistical m echanics: configurations, weights, most probable distribution and deviations from this. Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. Partition functions for translation, rotation and vibration of monatomic and diatomic gases.
• Entropy, S=k lnΩ. Use of statistical mechanics to calculate ΔS.
• Concept of the partition function Q. Relation of Q to thermodynamic properties.
• Examples of partition functions for monatomic, diatomic and polyatomic gases.
• Equilibrium constants from statistical thermodynamics

3) Quantum Mechanics (10 lectures)
• Atomic units, radial coordinates, orbitals of the hydrogen atom as solutions to the time-independent Schrodinger equation
• Many electron atoms, the orbital approximation and electronic spin
• 3D integrals. Dirac notation. Expectation values. Perturbation theory.
• The H2+ molecule. Secular determinants.
• The helium atom (2 coupled electr ons). Pauli repulsion, Fermionic anti-symmetry, Slater determinants.
• Linear combination of atomic orbitals and other basis sets
• Hückel theory applied to conjugated pi systems
• Hartree-Fock theory, and the improvement by including approximations to correlation

Recommended Texts

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

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours     12


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 105


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
online, time-controlled open book examination  3 hours + 1 hour upl    55       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
3 problem sets, requiring the application of both knowledge gained from lectures and from reading around the subject and problem solving skills gained in the tutorials. To be solved in a time-controll  3 sets (2.5 hours ea    45