Module code: CHE1043

Module Overview

This module gives an introduction to fundamental laws that govern the behaviour of matter through an understanding of the properties of matter at molecular, atomic and subatomic level. This will in some cases build on your existing knowledge (e.g. atomic structure gained in CHE1042, or pre-university knowledge in thermodynamics), and in others introduces you to new knowledge essential for the understanding of later concepts in Physical Chemistry such as in CHE2040.

Module provider

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Module Leader

WRIGHT James (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

Workshop Hours: 3

Independent Learning Hours: 41

Lecture Hours: 30

Tutorial Hours: 4

Laboratory Hours: 35

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 27

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

• Development of theories of atomic structure. Rutherford model of the atom. Black body radiation. Planck’s equation. Quantisation, quantum numbers and energy levels. Bohr Theory of the atom; atomic spectrum of hydrogen. Problems with classical theory of light; power of light sources, nature of the photon and the photoelectric effect. Electrons as waves; De Broglie hypothesis and wave-particle duality; Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. Wave theory approach to atomic structure: 1-D Schrodinger equation; particle in box; Brief introduction to solutions of Schrodinger equation for rigid rotor, harmonic oscillator and hydrogen atom Wave functions, probability density, Born interpretation. Introduction to quantisation of rotation and vibration; Morse curves Colour of conjugated molecules Atomic orbitals. Radial wave functions. Radial distribution functions.

• Nature of kinetics. Reaction rates and rate constants, orders, molecularity and mechanisms. Rate laws. Differential rate equations. Integrated rate equations and half-life equations for 0, 1st and 2nd order reactions. Arrhenius and the effect of temperature on reaction rates. Experimental techniques for measurement of rate, rate constant and activation energy.

• Equations of state. Ideal gas. Gas laws. Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures. Avogadro’s constant. Kinetic model of gases. Maxwell Distribution of Speeds. RMS velocity. Molecular Collisions.

• Thermodynamic variables: Laws of thermodynamics. Calorimetry. Le Chatelier’s principle. Van’t Hoff equation. Adiabatic processes. Hess’ law. Kirchoff law. Chemical equilibria.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment Laboratory exercise 1 4
Practical based assessment Laboratory exercise 2 6
Practical based assessment Laboratory exercise 3 6
Practical based assessment Laboratory exercise 4 6
Practical based assessment Laboratory exercise 5 8

Alternative Assessment

For the laboratory exercises an alternative written assessment can be set. This is based on analysing or explaining experimental data, or detailing experimental techniques.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate that you have successfully met the learning outcomes of the module. Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Laboratory exercises 1-5: Assessment of practical skills and the ability to write scientific reports (LO2, LO3). Attendance and active engagement with the experiment and pre-laboratory safety briefing. (LO2, LO3)

  • Examination: Closed-book exam (2 hrs). Covers the full range of the material discussed in lectures and tutorials, and their application to chemical problem solving (LO1, LO2)

Formative assessment and feedback are provided throughout the course through the following mechanisms, and support all the stated learning outcomes above:

  • Laboratory exercises: your engagement with lecturers, postgraduate demonstrators and technical officers through pre-lab workshops, in-lab discussions, and pre-departure 1:1 conversation with demonstrators will check and support your understanding of the techniques and background theory. These build on each other, leading to application of these aspects of theory and communication in the laboratory reports and the examination (LO1, LO2, LO3).

  • Tutorial & workshop sessions: feedback will be given to you by the tutor based on your answers to the assigned problems in your preparation before the session (LO1).

  • In-lecture problems: opportunities for feedback are created through your engagement with and response to in-lecture questions/problems posed by the lecturer (LO1).

  • Self-test resources in SurreyLearn: automated feedback is provided on self-tests based on content covered in the lectures (LO1).


Other opportunities for feedback include:

  • 1:1 feedback on exam papers by appointment with the module coordinator

  • 1:1 feedback on laboratory reports by appointment with the module coordinator

  • A revision session in the final week of semester in which a past or model exam paper will be reviewed with the opportunity for questions and discussion with the assessing lecturer

Module aims

  • provide an understanding of the principles underlying elementary quantum theory and their experimental foundation;
  • introduce basic principles of current atomic structure;
  • develop further understanding of how and why reactions occur.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 understand and apply the underlying concepts and principles of • quantisation •chemical thermodynamics • the Kinetic Theory of Gases • reaction kinetics. CKT
002 Interpret and present simple data for a range of processes and appreciate different approaches to solving practical and theoretical problems. CT
003 Successfully and accurately carry out a range of appropriate experiments, interpret the results and draw conclusions, communicating the outcomes in written form with a structured and coherent scientific argument. CPT

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:

  1. present the theory and foster enquiry and consolidation through discussion,

  2. enhance problem solving skills,

  3. enhance practical (laboratory) skills including the ability to write scientific reports

  4. give a comprehensive understanding of the standards required for successful completion of the module

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures: a mixture of presentation from a lecturer, with built-in problems and questions based on the material. You will be invited to contribute solutions or comments on the problems and receive feedback. Emphasis will be made in certain topics on critical assessment of the validity of scientific assumptions, which you will be encouraged to question.

  • Tutorial & workshop sessions: you will be assigned in advance a question set ranging from simple calculations to application of the lecture content to more advanced problem solving. You should complete these to the best of your ability before the session, in which the tutor will give feedback on your solutions and guide the group to successful solution of the problems.

  • Scientific writing training session: you will critique an exemplar scientific report in the context of your prior experience in CHE1044 and CHE1042. Then the components of a competent scientific report will be identified and provided in a take-home document which will form the basis for your post-laboratory reports in this module (see below).

  • Laboratory sessions (and associated pre-lab lectures): Experimental work on topics including spectrometric analysis, determination of thermodynamic parameters and investigation of reaction kinetics. Your work will be accompanied by discussions with demonstrators and lecturers to enhance your understanding of background theory. You will process the data for later reporting, thus enhancing your digital capabilities. You will report results in the Royal Society of Chemistry style which is essential for graduate Chemists’ employability.

  • Self-study material including self-tests is provided for you on SurreyLearn, which supports the lecture material.

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: CHE1043

Other information

Within the University’s broader education strategy, this module particularly develops students’ Digital Capabilities. Students will build on experience in CHE1040 and CHE1044 in use of spreadsheet software (such as in the laboratory exercises) and dedicated Chemistry software to present and synthesise new information. These will form an important part of a graduate chemist’s skills toolkit therefore enhancing Employability.


Laboratory work forms a significant part of this module, aligning with Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) accreditation of the degree programmes. Lab will be carried out in pairs or in some instances on an individual basis thus enhancing students’ awareness of Health & Safety practices and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of instruments in the lab; these relate both to Employability skills for graduate chemists and their Resourcefulness & Resilience.

This module supports further learning across all programmes it features in. Particular relevance can be found in the following modules (modes of support highlighted in brackets):

  • CHE1041, CHE1042, CHE2041, CHE2044 (justification of chemical reactivity and rates)
  • CHE2043, CHE2040 (quantum mechanics and thermodynamics)

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
Chemistry MChem 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 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 2024/5 academic year.