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 CHEM340
Coordinator Dr RP Bonar-Law
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2016-17 Level 6 FHEQ Whole Session 30

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

CHEM214; CHEM231; CHEM245; CHEM280; CHEM246; CHEM260 Completion of year 2 of an MChem Chemistry programme  


The overall aim of this module is to consolidate and extend second year knowledge of Organic, Inorganic and Physical chemistry.

Organic: Year 2 synthetic chemistry is extended to cover pericylic reactions, rearrangements and fragmentations, radical reactions and synthesis of alkenes. Basic concepts and techniques of physical organic chemistry are explained concurrently, including free energy diagrams and kinetic analysis of common mechanisms.

Inorganic: Year 2 inorganic chemistry is extended to explain the mechanisms by which transition metal complexes exchange ligands, how they participate in redox reactions, and the chemistry of me tal-alkyl, metal-alkene, metal-aryl, metal-alkyne and metal-carbene bonds. In the second strand of the course the structures of solid state materials are introduced including the use of diffraction data, how electrons behave in extended structures, the distinction between metals and insulators, and the behaviour of doped semiconductors.

Physical: To demonstrate the relationship between microscopic and macroscopic models for physical chemical phenomena and the physical chemistry of electrochemical cells, surfactants and colloids.

Learning Outcomes


Organic learning outcomes:  

  • Demonstrate a good understanding of the core synthetic reactions covered and their mechanisms.
  • Be able to deduce mechanisms on the basis of kinetic and other evidence.
Inorganic learning outcomes:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of ligand field and other factors in determining how metal complexes undergo ligand exchange, and how they undergo electron transfer.
  • Appreciate the bonding of different organic fragments to transition metals and how a variety of physical measurements can be used to substantiate these ideas.
  • Demonstrate an understandin g of the concepts of infinite solids and their diffraction of X-rays
  • Appreciate the factors affecting the electronic properties of solids.
Physical learning outcomes:
  • Understand how macroscopic physical properties of a system are related to microscopic properties of molecules.
  • Understand how to derive thermodynamic variables from the energy leve ls available to a set of particles (molecules, electrons, photons).
  • Have an understanding of the physical chemistry of ideal and real electrochemical cells.
  • Have an understanding of the physical chemistry of surfactants and colloids;
  • Be able to apply their knowledge of physical chemistry to solve unseen problems.

Teaching and Learning Strategies




Organic synthesis and reactions (Greeves,13 lectures)

  • Pericyclic reactions 1: cycloadditions
  • Pericyclic reactions 2: Sigmatropic and electrocyclic reactions
  • Rearrangements and Fragmentations
  • Radical reactions
  • Synthesis of alkenes - controlling double bond geometry

Organic Mechanisms (Bonar-Law, 8 lectures)

  • Rates, equilibria and free energy diagrams
  • Kinetics for multistep reactions
  • Revision of nucleophilic substitution at saturated carbon
  • Elimination m echanisms
  • Addition mechanisms
  • Nucleophilic substitution at carbonyls


Organometallic Compounds Containing Metal -Carbon Bonds with σ - and/or π -bonds (Iggo, 10 lectures)

  • Revision and extension of Year 2 material including electron counting systems, CO, PR3 and H complexes. H2 complexes
  • Synthesis, characterisation and reactivity of complexes containing metal-carbon single bonds; metal alkyl, metal-acetylide, metal-vinyl complexes. Activation of C-H bonds, C-C bond forming reactions.
  • Synthesis, characterisation and reactivity of complexes containing metal-carbon double bonds; metal carbenes and carbynes
  • Synthesis, characterisation and reactivity of p-bon ded systems; metal alkene and metal alkyne complexes. C-C bond forming reactions, olefin metathesis and ROMP
  • Synthesis and characterisation of metal allyl and diene complexes. Reactions and fluxionality, ring whizzers, cyclic p-bonded systems; metal cyclopentadienyl and metal arene complexes

Introduction to Solid State Chemistry (Fogg, 10 lectures)

  • Diffraction and Related Techniques: Lattices and structures. Unit cells - primitive and centered. Miller indices. Diffraction. Braggs Law. Indexing Powder Patterns.
  • Structural Chemistry: Simple structures derived from cubic and hexagonal close packing of spheres. Construction of the perovskite structure from cubic close packing. Cation and vacancy ordering YBa 2Cu3 O7 structure as a perovskite superstructure, spinel and pyrochlore.
  • Electrons in Solids: Qualitative description of distinction between metals and insulators, using analogies with atomic and molecular electronic structure. Density of states and Fermi energy, and experimental evidence for these concepts. Carrier density and temperature dependence of conductivity. Electronic structure of simple metals and transition metals. Semiconductors -temperature dependence of conductivity, p and n doping, silicon versus III/V systems, band gap manipulation. Mott-Hubbard insulators and the breakdown of the band model


The link between molecular and thermodynamic properties (Arnolds, 10 lectures)


  • Introduction: the link between microscopic and macroscopic descriptions of chemistry.
  • Concepts of statistical mechanics: configurations, weights, most probable distribution and deviations from this. Partition functions for translation, rotation and vibration.
  • Maxwell Boltzmann statistics and application to an ideal gas
  • Relation of the partition function to entropy and other macroscopic thermodynamic variables and equilibrium constants
  • Fermi Dirac stati stics and application to a simple metal
  • Bose Einstein statistics and application to blackbody radiation
Ionic species and electrochemistry (Nichols, 10 lectures)
  • Electrolytes and electrochemical thermodynamics: Structure of liquids. Ion-solvent interactions. Examples of ionic hydration energies. Activities of ions. Half cell reactions and standard electrode potentials.
  • Transport properties in liquids: Conductivity and mobility.
  • Introduction to surface chemistry: Liquid surfaces, surface tension and capilliary rise. The Young equation. Contact angles and surface wetting. detergents and surfactants.
  • Introduction to collodal chemistry: Structure of colloidal solutions. Origin of colloid stability. Lyophilic and Lyophobic colloids. Structures and proerties of amphiphillic molecules. Critical micelle concentration.

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.
Explanation of Reading List:

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours             0
Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 300


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Unseen Written Exam  3 hours  second  40  Yes  Standard UoL penalty applies  written exam Notes (applying to all assessments) Assignments: Four assignments spaced two weeks apart from each area of chemistry, organic, inorganic, physical (O,I,P), done in this order. This work is not marked anonymously. Exam: Three hrs, 6 questions, 2O,2I,2P – students do any four. Resit at the next normal opportunity. Students must return to Liverpool to take this final examination 
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Coursework  12 sets  whole session  60  No reassessment opportunity  Standard UoL penalty applies  tutorial problems There is no reassessment opportunity,