Module code: CHE1038

Module Overview

This module provides an overview of the industrial production of major chemicals, and their use in society. The focus is on the chemical aspects of processes with a small components looking at economics, societal effects, health and safety and engineering. The delivery is split into the broad areas of bulk inorganic chemicals, polymeric materials, pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals.

Module provider

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Module Leader

ROTH Peter (Chst Chm Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 98

Lecture Hours: 32

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Overview of the chemical industry and historical perspective

  • The economics of the chemicals industry

  • The chlor-alkali industry

  • Soda-ash industry

  • Glasses and ceramics

  • Mineral acids

  • Mineral fertilizers

  • Catalysis: zeolites

  • Metal refining and extraction

  • Petrochemicals: Crude oil as a mixture of separable hydrocarbons - fractional distillation

  • Coal, natural gas and biomass – processing and constituents

  • Polymers – definitions and features, place in the market

  • Historical perspective –Bakelite / rubber, vulcanisation

  • Modern polymers, thermoplastics

  • Polymer recycling

  • The pharmaceutical industry (historical perspective and the industry today)

  • Aspirin: an over-the-counter medicine

  • Sulfanilamide: the first major antibacterial

  • Penicillin: nature’s serendipitous by-product

  • Taxol: the semi-synthetic wonder drug

  • Drug discovery and testing: the long and winding road


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test ONLINE OPEN BOOK TEST 1 (4 h) 15
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test ONLINE OPEN BOOK TEST 2 (4 h) 15
Examination Online ONLINE OPEN BOOK EXAM (4 h) 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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

  • knowledge and understanding of the course content


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • two class tests (15% contribution each, LO1–3)

  • final exam (70% contribution, LO1–4)


Formative assessment

  • practice problems provided during lectures or via SurreyLearn



  • feedback on practise problems is provided in lectures or via SurreyLearn. Class test marks provide feedback on performance during semester.

Module aims

  • • introduce the students to aspects of industrial chemical manufacture and processing
  • • give an overview and some detail of chemical manufacture of important inorganic materials, polymeric materials, and pharmaceuticals
  • • give an overview of the petrochemical industry and its links to the general chemical industry
  • • introduce students to aspects of planning the location of industrial chemical plants
  • • briefly outline the processes for bringing drug candidates to market

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Discuss the manufacture of some important inorganic and organic chemicals. KC
002 Discuss the recovery of materials from ores; mining and manufacturing KC
003 Discuss and explain the factors affecting the location of specific chemical industries KC
004 Discuss and explain structure–property relationships in commodity plastic materials KC

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:

  • cover the core knowledge in lectures, supported by materials uploaded to Surreylearn

  • engage students through practise problems 


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • formal lectures

  • independent study

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: CHE1038

Programmes this module appears in

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

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 2022/3 academic year.