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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CHEM2290 Equilibrium and Analysis: from Ions to Proteins

10 creditsClass Size: 180

Module manager: Dr R J Ansell

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Module replaces

CHEM2240 Principles of Chemical Analysis

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module is about the concept of equilibrium and how it relates to many different fields in chemical science. It is also an introduction to the principles and methods of analytical chemistry. It is continuously assessed, by online tests and by a 1,500-2,000 word essay.


The module seeks to i) reinforce students’ understanding of the concept of equilibrium, and ii) show its application in many areas including titrations, electrochemistry, non-covalent intramolecular interactions, the structure of DNA, self-assembly, separation methods including chromatography, enzyme kinetics and immunoassays, and iii) give an introduction to the principles and methods of analytical chemistry, in particular chromatographic separations and the analysis of proteins, and iv) promote student engagement with a specific area of the literature in some depth via researching and writing an essay.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- understand the principles of solution equilibria; calculate the distribution of chemical species at equilibrium; explain acid-base, precipitation and complexation titrations;
- understand the principles of equilibrium electrochemistry; determine the feasibility and direction of redox processes based on the Nernst equation; explain the electrodes which are used in potentiometry;
- describe the different non-covalent forces acting between molecules/functional groups, their relative strengths, co-operativity and spatial dependence, and how these account for phenomena such as the structure of DNA, ligand-receptor equilibria and amphiphile self-assembly; perform calculations relating to ligand-receptor equilibria, molecule-surface interactions and amphiphile self-assembly;
- understand the principles of interphase equilibria as applied to chemical separations;
- describe the principles and applications of solvent extraction, solid-phase extraction, ion-exchange, HPLC and GC; calculate chromatographic parameters;
- understand the principles of enzyme kinetics, enzyme assays/immunoassays, protein analysis and proteomics; relate enzyme activity and enzyme assays to kinetics and equilibrium; calculate effects of substrate concentration, inhibitors etc on enzyme kinetics, understand how calibration graphs can be used to derive concentrations in different types of assay; describe the methods used to measure concentrations of proteins;
- use the internet for independent study;
- search for, read and summarise published scientific literature via the research and writing of an essay.


- Solution equilibria - pH revisited, polyprotic systems, ampholytes, pI of proteins, complexation equilibria, precipitation equilibria, conditional formation constants, pH and complexometric titrations: 6 lectures/workshops
- Electroanalytical methods - electrode potentials, Nernst equation, redox equilibria, potentiometry: 3 lectures/workshops
- Molecular interactions - non-covalent interactions, structure of DNA, ligand-receptor equilibria, amphiphile self-assembly: 6 lectures/workshops
- Chromatography and separations - phase equilibria, solvent extraction, solid-phase extraction and ion exchange, chromatographic theory, HPLC, Gas chromatography: 6 lectures/workshops
- Biomolecular analysis - enzyme kinetics, enzyme assays/immunoassays, protein analysis and proteomics: 4 lectures/workshops
- session on literature searching: 1 workshop

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Library Session11.001.00
Independent online learning hours18.00
Private study hours56.00
Total Contact hours26.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

The module will be continuously assessed by online tests using the VLE quiz tool and an essay (1,500-2,000 words). Private study is expected to comprise:
- reviewing lecture notes, working through examples class problems 31h
- attempting online tests 15h
- searching for references for essay 3h
- reading and digesting literature, writing essay 25h

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Continuous assessment: 5 online tests at c 2 week intervals, essay submitted at end of module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,500-2,000 words on one of a range of set titles25.00
Computer ExerciseFive online tests, at roughly 2 week intervals, each due in the following week75.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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