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 CHEM368
Coordinator Dr JA Iggo
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):

Completion of years 1 and 2 of an MChem or BSc (Hons) Chemistry programme or, for PGT students, a BSc (Hons) Chemistry programme.  


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

Learning Outcomes

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 specia l effects which may influence selectivity when microporous solids are used as catalysts.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lecture -

Tutorial -


The module is divided into three components, as follows:

Inorganic 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 the principles of chemical and biological catalysis: transition state and intermediate; the Hammond postulate, rate-determining step,simple kinetic analysis. Types of catalysis: General and specific acid/base catalysis, ele ctrophilic and nucleophilic catalysis, intra molecular catalysisand effective molarity. Isotope effects as a probe of mechanism.

 These principles will provide the basis and understanding for a discussion of important enzyme-catalysed reactions in a series of case studies. The role of specific active site amino-acids and co-factors in catalytic mechanisms will be stressed; detailed knowledge of  protein structure will not be required. Enzyme kinetics (Michaelis-Menten); types of enzyme inhibition. Hydrolytic enzymes: catalytic  mechanism of a -chymotrypsin-the prototype; synthetic applications of hydrolases.  Catalysis by metal ions. Redox enzymes: dehydrogenases (NAD/NADH) and cytochromes. Carbon-carbon bond forming enzymes, especially Class I aldolases; thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP). Functional group-transforming enzymes: pyridoxalphosphate (PLP)-case study. This section of the module provides a link between "conventional" chemistry and th e chemistry of enzyme catalysis and shows students how the fundamental chemical mechanisms and principles are the same.

A 50:50 split between chemical and biological catalysis will be aimed for.

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 heterogeneous 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.
Explanation of Reading List:

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 30


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 114


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Unseen Written Exam  3 hr  Semester 2  80  Yes  Standard UoL penalty applies  Assessment 2 Notes (applying to all assessments) 6 Problem Sets - work is not marked anonymously Written Examination Students to answer four questions from a choice of six. Questions will be a mix of "short answer" with some problem solving and essays. August resit for students if applicable.  
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Coursework  6x8 hrs for 6 sets o  2nd Semester  20  Yes  Standard UoL penalty applies  Assessment 1