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 Modern Applications of Physical Chemistry (BSc)
Code CHEM352
Coordinator Dr A Vezzoli
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2022-23 Level 6 FHEQ Second Semester 15

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

CHEM260 Physical Chemistry II; CHEM260 Physical Chemistry II 


The aim of this module is to extend a student's knowledge of physical chemistry, in particular to demonstrate the understanding of electrochemical cells, surfactants and colloids, and the quantum mechanical description of chemical bonding.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Ability to describe and discuss the physical chemistry underlying electrochemical cells, batteries and fuel cells, and to perform fundamental thermodynamic calculations on electrochemical cells.

(LO2) Ability to apply the physicochemical knowledge gained in the course, including the relevant equations, to solve problems relating to the physical chemistry of the condensed state.

(LO3) Ability to describe the physical chemistry of surfactants and colloids.

(LO4) Ability to describe the experimental methods that are used to study protein structure and folding, to discuss their analysis, and to discuss and apply (quantitatively) the physical chemistry principles underlying these methods.

(LO5) Ability to discuss the importance of protein structure and dynamics for understanding biological processes. 

(LO6) Ability to describe the physical structure of the atmosphere.

(LO7) Ability to discuss the chemistry occurring in different layers of the atmosphere and to relate this to thermodynamics and to the physical and chemical behaviour of different layers.

(LO8) Ability to compare the physical chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere to extra-terrestrial atmospheres.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lectures. This module consists of 22 50-minute in-person lectures (this includes 2 revision lectures).

Workshops. The lectures will be supported by a maths revision workshop (3 hr) at the beginning of the course.

Tutorials. Nine x 2 hr tutorials (not assessed) in which the students will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge that they have gained from the lectures to problems of varying difficulty.

Coursework. Two class tests in weeks 6 and 11 in the form of multiple choice quizzes requiring the application of both knowledge gained from lectures and from reading around the subject and problem-solving skills gained in the tutorials.(online or in-person?)

*Lectures: 22 hr
*Tutorials: 18 hr
*Workshop: 3 hr



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.
• Surfactants: Detergents and surfactants. Structure and properties of amphiphilic molecules. Critical micelle concentration. Monolayers.
• Colloids: structure of colloidal solutions. Origin of colloid stability. DVLO Theory.

2) Quantum Mechanics (10 lectures)
• Introduction to the use of atomic units, radial coordinates, 3D integrals and perturbation theory as tools to solve problems in quantum mechanics.< br/>• Derivation of the orbitals of the hydrogen atom as solutions to the time-independent Schrodinger equation.
• Consideration of many electron atoms, the orbital approximation and electronic spin
• Deriving the states of the two couple electrons in the helium atom. Pauli repulsion, Fermionic anti-symmetry, Slater determinants.
• Deriving the molecular orbitals of the H2+ molecule. Secular determinants.
• Using the linear combination of atomic orbitals and other basis sets
• Demonstration of Hückel theory applied to conjugated pi systems
• Presentation of 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 22



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 107


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
unseen in-person closed book written examination. Marked anonymously  180    80       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
2 multiple-choice quizzes    20