CY5010  Physical Chemistry (2021/22)
Module specification  Module approved to run in 2021/22  
Module title  Physical Chemistry  
Module level  Intermediate (05)  
Credit rating for module  30  
School  School of Human Sciences  
Total study hours  300  


Assessment components 


Running in 2021/22 

Module summary
This module will develop the students’ knowledge and understanding of the major areas of physical chemistry and give an appreciation of the importance of modelling physicochemical processes mathematically in order to be able to predict the behaviour of chemical systems. The module will examine key theories and applications of thermodynamics, kinetics, surface chemistry and electrochemistry.
Prior learning requirements
CY4005
Syllabus
Thermodynamics
A review of the laws of thermodynamics, enthalpy changes and heat capacities. Work and heat calculations for the expansion of an ideal gas under isothermal and adiabatic conditions. Variation of heat capacities with temperature, equipartition of energy. Statistical thermodynamics related to entropy changes and residual entropy, the Carnot cycle. Gibbs Free Energy and its link to Trouton’s rule and equilibrium constants. Phase equilibria and phase diagrams of multicomponents systems, azeotropes and eutectics, the lever rule, fractional distillation.
Kinetics
The Arrhenius equation. Collision theory  collision cross sections of colliding molecules, average relative velocities, Boltzmann energy factor, Pfactor to account for steric effects. Potential energy surfaces and reaction trajectories. Transition state theory. Complex reactions and the calculation of theoretical rate constants using the steady state approximation. Introduction to catalytic kinetics and the derivation of the MichaelisMenten rate equation.
Surface Chemistry
The liquid surface, liquidliquid and gasliquid interfaces. Surface tension, surfactants, surface excess, colloidal dispersions and macromolecules. Adsorption mechanisms and isotherms  Gibbs adsorption isotherm and the Langmuir, Freundlich, Temkin and BET isotherms.
Electrochemistry
Revision of cell potentials and reference cells. The thermodynamics of galvanic cells and how free energy, entropy and enthalpy changes can be determined. Calculating standard electrode potentials using the Nernst equation. Conductance, activities and ionic activity coefficients of ions in solution, ionic strength, the DebyeHückel limiting law and its use for estimating the mean ionic activity coefficient. Solubility equilibria of sparingly soluble salts. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6,LO7
Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity
Students will be introduced simultaneously to the theoretical concepts and the mathematical techniques needed to successfully understand and apply these concepts via lectures (24 h) and tutorials (12 h). A problemsolving workshop (3 h) will support the lectures and help prepare students for assessments. Simulated data and practically generated material will be used to allow the students to develop a full understanding of the implications and applications of physical chemistry. The practically generated material will be obtained in laboratory sessions (32 h) which will provide the students with experimental verification of the theoretical work and allow them to develop practical skills in measurement of a range of physical and chemical parameters. Additional resources will be used to direct student learning and preparatory exercises for the laboratory work (16 h) will be used to ensure students are familiar with the background theory and methodologies prior to the practical sessions. Further exam preparation will be facilitated through two revision sessions (4 h). There will also be weekly dropin sessions, of one hour duration, which students can make use of in order to consolidate their understanding of the subject matter.
Learning outcomes
1. Describe the basis of the theories underpinning the various branches of physical chemistry covered
2. Predict the outcome of an experiment based on a specific model for system behaviour
3. Perform experimental procedures correctly and record experimental data accurately
4. Display experimental data appropriately in tabular and graphical forms
5. Identify errors in experimental data and interpret experimental results in the light of relevant theory
6. Calculate the value of specified chemical variables and critically review the results
7. Understand and analyse the limitations of individual models
Assessment strategy
The progress test (1 h) will examine the students’ ability to describe the theory and to perform calculations and will focus on the kinetics and surface chemistry section of the course. The practical report (1000 words) may be concerned with any aspect of the material on the first practical course and will require the students to research the background for a particular model of system behaviour, measure and present experimental data, comment on any errors and discuss the success of the model in light of the experimental results. The datahandling assignment (750 words) will assess the ability to handle and display data, perform calculations and comment on the significance of results. This will focus on the thermodynamics section of the course. The interactive online assessment will require students to utilise the data and knowledge acquired in the second practical course to complete an interactive worksheet (developed using LearnSci) that will provide immediate feedback to students. The final examination (2 h) will be used to assess the students’ knowledge of theory, ability to perform calculations, identify error sources, display data and comment on the validity of models. The exam will focus on the thermodynamics and electrochemistry section of the course. Students must pass with an overall mark of 40%.
Bibliography
Core text: Atkins, P., De Paula, J. and Keeler, J. (2017) Physical Chemistry, 11th Edition, Oxford University Press
Other text: Atkins, P., and De Paula, J. (2011) Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences, 2nd Edition, Oxford
Chang, R. and Thoman Jr., J.W. (2014) Physical Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences, University Sciences Books
Silbey, RJ., Alberty, RA., and Bawendi, MG. (2004) Physical Chemistry, 4th Edition, Wiley
Dogge, G., Cockett, M. (2012) Maths for Chemists: 2nd Edition, Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing
Websites: Specific links to websites will be given on Weblearn including links from www.khanacademy.org
Interactive digital resources: Preparation for practical classes and written practical reports will be supported by interactive LearnSci resources embedded into WebLearn.