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 CHEM354
Coordinator Dr H Arnolds
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2016-17 Level 6 FHEQ Second Semester 15

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

CHEM260 Year 2 of MChem or BSc (Hons) Chemistry programme. UGT Students are expected to have completed CHEM260. PGT students should ha ve completed a BSc (Hons) Chemistry programme with an equivalent level of Physical Chemistry to CHEM260. 


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

By the end of the module, students should:

  • understand how macroscopic physical properties of a system are related to microscopic properties of molecules;
  • understand bonding in molecules from quantum mechanical principles;
  • understand the role of electron density in describing the properties of chemical bonds;
  • 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

Lecture -

Tutorial -



The link between molecular and thermodynamic properties (10 lectures)

  • Introduction: comparison of macroscopic (thermodynamics) and microscopic (spectroscopy)  molecular properties as descriptions of chemistry.
  • Gas phase collision theory as a first bridge between microscopic and macroscopic properties; steric and energetic requirements.
  • Transition state theory as a second bridge between microcopic and macroscopic properties; attempt frequency and Eyring equation
  • Concepts of statistical mechanics: configurations, weights, most probable distribution and deviations from this. Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. Partition functions for translation, rotation and vibration of monatomic and diatomic gases.
  • Relation of Q to internal energy and heat capacities.
  • E ntropy, S=k lnΩ. Use of statistical mechanics to calculate ΔS.
  • Equilibrium constants from statistical thermodynamics
2 Quantum Mechanics (10 lectures)
  • The chemical bond
    Valence bond theory. Linear combination of atomic orbitals. The Hueckel method. Application to ethene, benzene and butadiene.
  • Modern quantum chemistry methods.
    The central role of electron density. Electronb density and chemical bonds. From atoms to atomic chains: the metallic bond.
3 Ionic Species and Electrochemistry (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 capillary rise. The Young equation. Contact angles and surface wetting. Detergents and surfactants.
  • Introduction to Colloidal and Surface Chemistry

    Structure of colloidal solutions. Origin of colloid stability. Lyophilic and lyophobic colloids. Structure and properties of amphiphilic 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 33


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 112


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Unseen Written Exam  3 hours  Semester 2  80  Yes  Standard UoL penalty applies  Assessment 2 Notes (applying to all assessments) Extended Problems This work is not marked anonymously August resit for PGT students if applicable. Integrated Master's students resit at the next normal opportunity.  
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Coursework  3 sets (~6 hours eac  Semester 2  20  Yes  Standard UoL penalty applies  Assessment 1