Further Physical Chemistry

Module summary

Module code: CHEM1035
Level: 5
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Science
Module Coordinator(s): Bruce Alexander



This unit is designed to extend the students understanding of some basic concepts in physical chemistry originally introduced in the Level 4 Physical Chemistry module. Students will undertake a programme of related assignment work, covering conductivity of ionic solutions, electrochemistry, spectroscopy, surface chemistry and colloids.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
1. Apply underlying concepts of physical chemistry to draw conclusions from laboratory-acquired data.
2. Derive rate equations for reactions involving intermediates.
3. Describe physical equilibria in terms of phase diagrams and by equations.
4. Describe and predict factors influencing interfacial phenomena.

Indicative content

1. Physical equilibria
Simple one-component systems: carbon dioxide, water, sulphur, use of phase rule for prediction of the number of degrees of freedom at given points on phase diagrams.
Clapeyron and Clausius-Clapeyron equations: calculations, appreciation of the importance of the sign of the change in volume and the enthalpy associated with phase changes, inherent assumptions in Clausius-Clapeyron equation.
Liquid-vapour equilibria: mole fraction and percentage composition, vapour
pressure/composition diagrams and boiling point/composition diagrams for ideal binary mixtures and for binary mixtures, exhibiting positive or negative deviation from Raoult’s Law, simple and fractional distillation, azeotropes.
Distillation: for example, of petroleum ether as an ideal mixture, water/ethanol as a non-ideal mixture.

2. Quantum Mechanics
Particle in a box: Allowed wavefunctions and energies, probability distributions of wavefunctions.
Structure & Bonding: The Huckel approximation, secular determinants for an unsaturated molecule, eg Ethene. The hydrogen atom and quantizaton of energy, solutions to the Schrödinger equation (quantitative) for hydrogen-like atoms, eg the hydrogen molecule and ion and their molecular orbitals.

3. Molecular Spectroscopy
Electromagnetic radiation: wavelength, frequency, wavenumber, electromagnetic spectrum.
Energy within molecules: quantised energy levels, types of energy within molecules, transitions between energy levels.
Vibrational spectroscopy: simple harmonic oscillator model, vibrational energy changes, normal modes of vibration, relationship of infrared spectra to structures.
Electronic transitions: electronic energy changes, relationship of absorption to atomic/molecular structures, chromophores, the Beer Lambert Law, fluorescence and phosphorescence

4. Surface chemistry and colloids
Solid-gas interface: physical adsorption, chemisorption, Langmuir, BET, Freundlich adsorption Isotherm.
Solid-liquid, liquid-gas and liquid-liquid: surface and interfacial tensions, surface activity, micelles, contact angles and wetting.
Charged interfaces: description of the electric double layer, electrophoresis
Colloids: classification, stability.

5. Kinetics
Steady State Kinetics: Theory: reactions with intermediates and assumptions made.
Intermediates: identification of intermediates and their use to find the order of reaction.
Advanced kinetics: Autocatalysis, oscillating reactions, Michaelis-Menten kinetics.

6 Polymers
Characteristics: Types of polymers, molecular structure and higher order structure. Differences between polymer classes. Properties such as melting points, crystallinity, strength and how these are linked to primary structure.