Module code: CHE2040

Module Overview

This module builds on level 4 to inform, analyse and stimulate enquiry into Intermediate topics in Physical Chemistry. It features phases and equilibria, fundamentals spectroscopy, surfactants, colloids and emulsions and hands-on experience of a range of experimental techniques

Module provider


Module Leader

WATSON David (Chemistry)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 85

Lecture Hours: 28

Tutorial Hours: 2

Laboratory Hours: 35

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Liquids and Solutions

Raoults and Henry’s law. 3rd law of thermodynamics. Vapour pressure and ideal dilute solutions. Activity and activity coefficients. Debye-Hückel theory. Ideal mixing. Miscibility of liquids Colligative properties. Elevation of boiling point. Depression of freezing point. Osmosis. Chemical potential. Phase diagrams. Separation of liquids by fractional distillation, azeotropes, eutectics.

Surfactant and Interface Chemistry

Kinetics of water pollution; biodegradable surfactants; micellar extraction; micro emulsions; reactions in pores.

Adsorption processes: wetting, spreading, adhesion. Oil recovery.

Surface-active agents. Surfactants. Gibbs adsorption equation. Surface and interfacial tension. Surfactant behaviour. Liquid crystals.

Emulsions - types, stability.

Colloid stability. DVLO theory. Types of colloid. Lyophilic colloid formation. Nucleation and growth.

Colloids in the environment. Importance of aggregation phenomena.

Hückel theory and its application to cyclic and linear polyenes. Secular equations and determinant. Delocalisation, bond order, and electronic spectroscopy.

The theory of molecular spectroscopy

Rotational spectroscopy (microwave spectra). Rotors, moments of inertia, isotope effects, centrifugal distortion, selection rules.

Vibrational spectroscopy (infrared). Anharmonicity, normal mode vs. local (group) mode. Fine structure in vibrational transitions.

Raman spectra. Selection rules. Rotational and vibrational transitions. Raman vs. IR.

Electronic spectra (UV-visible). Electronic energy levels. Electronic transitions and dissociation energies. Franck-Condon principle. Photoelectron spectroscopy and Koopman’s theorem.

Practical work on a range of topics including:

IR spectroscopy of various physical states; kinetics of bromination; ternary phase diagrams; UV-Vis spectroscopy.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework Laboratory Portfolio 20
Examination Examination 1.5 hours 80

Alternative Assessment

Failure in the laboratory may require re-assessment through a defined practical examination

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

  •  experimental, analysis and quantitative skills (practicals)

  •  understanding, analysis and recall (examination)

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Examination (1.5 hours) 80%

  • Assessed practical write-ups (20% total)

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment and feedback are provided throughout the module in the form of in-class exercises, examples and worked problems. Feedback is instant as model answers (full worked solutions) are given in class. Formative assessment is also evident through the provision of ‘checklists’ at the end of each section of the module that detail the areas covered in that part of the course.

Detailed and individualised feedback is given on the marked assignments within the time allowed for marking coursework.

The first two weeks of the practical sessions are marked formatively and will be returned before the deadline for summative work to be submitted.

Module aims

  • Provide an appreciation of the physical properties and thermodynamics of liquids and solutions
  • Provide understanding of the fundamentals of bonding and spectroscopy
  • Provide understanding of emulsions and colloids and their relevance to industry.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Have a critical understanding of the basic principles of solution, phase equilibria thermodynamics and liquid surfaces KC
002 Apply the principles of quantum mechanics to covalent bonding KC
003 Apply the science of colloids and emulsions to the environment and industry KC
004 Perform elementary analyses of molecular orbitals and their energies as calculated in Hückel theory KC
005 Understand the quantum mechanical basis of rotational, vibrational, Raman and electron (UV-visible) spectroscopic techniques, and calculate molecular information from spectra KC
006 Complete a variety of practical experiments, analyse the results obtained and produce a well-written laboratory report KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: Build on the foundation of Physical Chemistry from Level 4 to be able to apply Physical Chemistry knowledge and reasoning to areas of topical, industrial and societal importance.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 28 formal lectures of 1hr, normally 3 per week, and coursework based on material covered in the lectures

  • 2 small-group tutorials

  • 35 hours of practical laboratory experience

Lectures will include discussion and interaction where appropriate. Course material will be provided on SurreyLearn, including calculational tools.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: CHE2040

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Chemistry with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemistry BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Medicinal Chemistry BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemistry MChem 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemistry with Forensic Investigation MChem 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Medicinal Chemistry MChem 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.