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 Catalysis
Code CHEM368
Coordinator Dr JA Iggo
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):

CHEM214 Coordination and Organometallic Chemistry of the d-Block Metals 


The aim of this module is to give students a broad, interdisciplinary, background in catalysis across the traditional divides within chemistry.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of the module, students should:
* be able to speculate about possible reaction mechanisms given experimental observations.
* be able to recognize mechanistic parallels between chemical and biocatalytic processes.
* be aware of the most significant applications of organometallic catalysis be able to propose a likely mechanism for a new catalytic reaction and to propose experiments designed to confirm or refute their proposal.
* be able to evaluate the experimental evidence for and against a proposed mechanism for reaction that uses an organometallic catalyst.
* possess a realistic integrated understanding and knowledge of the basic principles of heterogeneous catalysis.
* be able to derive appropriate kinetic equations and models for catalytic reactions that may involve complicated reaction sequences.
* be aware of special effects which may influence selectivity when microporous solids are used as catalysts.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Material will be delivered in 30 in-person, on-campus 50-minute lectures. Extra sessions may be scheduled for revision.

Lectures in the three sections will be given in parallel so as to allow students adequate time to absorb new concepts.
Each section will be supported by two problem sets, one formative, one summative (so 3 x 2 = 6 sets overall, 3 of which are assessed) based on material covered in the lectures, with feedback on the coursework given during lectures.

*Lectures: 30 hr



The module is divided into three components, as follows:

Organometallic Catalysis (Dr J A Iggo)
The Inorganic Chemistry section of the module will introduce students to the application of organometallic complexes of transition metals in catalysis. Particular emphasis is placed on the mechanistic aspects of the subject. The approach is via worked examples chosen both for the commercial significance of the reaction and to illustrate how the catalytic mechanism can be studied.

Organic and Bio-organic Catalysis (Dr R Bonar-Law)
This section introduces common modes organic catalysis, and a description of how these apply to evolved biological catalysts (enzymes):
• The energy span model, electrophilic catalysis (EC) and nucleophilic catalysis (NC).
• Specific acid and base catalysis (SAC, SBC), general acid and base catalysis (GAC, GBC).
• Solvent-mediated GBC, pH profiles for SAC, SBC and Bronsted for GAC, GBC.
Ȃ 2; Solvent KIEs, medium effects.
• Intramolecular catalysis (i-NC, i-GAC, i-GBC), bifunctional and organocatalysis.
• Enzyme catalysis, kinetics and general principles.
• Proteases and glycosidases.
• Enzyme covalent catalysis.
• Enzyme redox catalysis

Heterogeneous Catalysis (Prof I Kozhevnikov)
This set of lectures aims to give an integrated description of the basic principles of heterogeneous catalysis, including the role of active sites on the solid surface and importance of adsorption phenomena in the determination of reaction kinetics, and uses different classes of catalysts and well-known catalytic processes as examples to apply these notions. Also examined are the importance of transport limitations (heat and mass transfer) in porous solid catalysts and molecular shape selectivity in zeolite catalysts. A general view is thus provided of major factors which determine the behaviour of hetero geneous catalysts, and their importance is illustrated through the discussion of case examples selected from important catalytic applications.

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 30

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 120


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Unseen, closed-book in-person written examination. Marked Anonymously  180    70       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
3 problem sets         
3 assessed extended problem sets    30