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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CHEM3222 Chemistry at the Molecular Level

10 creditsClass Size: 180

Module manager: Dr S Auer

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Level 2 in a Chemistry programme or equivalent

This module is not approved as a discovery module


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
(i) Describe the energy level structure within molecules for rotational and vibrational motion, and how molecular parameters (bond lengths, force constants) can be obtained from analysis of spectroscopic experiments.
(ii) Describe the distribution of population amongst energy levels and calculate partition functions for translational, rotational and vibrational motion
(iii) Apply statistical mechanics to the calculation of thermodynamic properties of gases, liquids and solids (heat capacitites, equilibrium constants)
(iv) Describe theoretical approaches to reaction kinetics, understand the links between thermodynamics and kinetics, and calculate rate coefficients using transition state theory (TST) and describe other applications of TST
(v) Describe the link between thermal and microscopic rate coefficients, the partitioning of reaction enthalpy into the products of exothermic reactions (and how this is measured), and features of the potential energy surface that control energy disposal (reaction dynamics)
(vi) Describe the kinetics of surface reactions and the applications of heterogeneous catalysis in the chemical industry
(vii) Describe other applications of kinetics


Statistical Thermodynamics: Concept and applications
Lecture 1. Introduction and revision on classical thermodynamic
Lecture 2. The statistical approach to thermodynamics
Lecture 3. Thermodynamic properties and the system partition function
Lecture 4. The molecular partition function
Lecture 5. Contributions to the partition function
Lecture 6. Internal energy and head capacity
Lecture 7. Entropy
Lecture 8. Chemical reactions and equilibrium constants
Lecture 9 and 10. Summary and perspective

Reaction Kinetics
Lecture 1. Potential energy surfaces and evidence for the transition state
Lecture 2. Transition state theory and formulation using statistical mechanics
Lecture 3. Calculation of rate coefficients using TST
Lecture 4. State-selective kinetics, energy disposal and its measurement, chemical lasers
Lecture 5. Examples of energy disposal, reactions with early or late barriers
Lecture 6. Barrierless reactions
Lecture 7. Kinetics of surface reactions, Langmuir adsorption isotherm
Lecture 8. Mechanisms of surface reactions
Lecture 9. TST for surface reactions, surface dynamics
Lectures 10. Course Summary

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Example Class111.0011.00
Private study hours65.00
Total Contact hours35.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

33 hours- reading for lectures
12 hours - preparation for tutorials
20 hours - preparation for examination.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress monitored through attendance and completion of work for tutorials and examples classes.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Computer ExerciseOnline revision quiz of course material10.00
In-course AssessmentAssessed tutorial work20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

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: 30/01/2019


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