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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LLLC0114 Chemistry for Earth and Environmental Sciences

30 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Ellen Avery

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is not approved as a discovery module


-To provide an introduction to the structure and bonding in atoms and molecules, salts and metals; atomic structure and properties as a basis for the systematic chemistry of the elements.
-To investigate the background to the gas laws, atomic and molecular theory, kinetic theory, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, thermochemistry, and the behaviour of ions in solution, acids and bases. Chemical equilibria, pH and redox reactions. Minerals as chemicals.
-Development of knowledge and understanding of chemical theories related to study of the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere that constitutes our planet.

Learning outcomes
-Understanding of the nature of matter, atoms, chemical amounts and bonding, periodicity of elements;
-Understanding of acids, bases, chemical equations and pH;
-Inorganic reactions (group 1, 2 & 7), redox reactions and transition metals;
-Knowledge of organic compounds;
-Understanding of enthalpy, chemical equlibria, and rates of reactions.

Skills outcomes
-Students will be able to apply chemical principles in new situations
-Students will be able to describe, explain and interpret results in terms of chemical principles and concepts and be able to apply mathematical methods to solve problems in chemistry
-Students will have gained practical skills in preparing and analysing inorganic and organic compounds, measuring reaction rates, measuring pH and carrying out acid-base and redox titrations.


The content will cover such areas as:

Semester 1
-States of Matter
-Fundamentals of atomic and molecular structure
-Periodic patterns: the periodic table and its importance
-Chemical reactions and interactions
Semester 2
Analytical Chemistry; sample treatment, data errors and unit conversation, wet chemistry, common instrumentation GC, XRD, XRF, MS, ICP-MS, ICP-OES, AA, UV-VIS, Lab project planning.
Chemistry of Water ; water cycle, equilibrium reactions, physical changes in water and its link to hydrogen bonding in water, common trends in the chemistry in Seawater, rainwater and freshwater, origin of cations and anions in water, alkalinity, dissolved gases, mass to charge ratio, environmental concerns for water, organics in water.
Chemistry of the Atmosphere; Atmospheric zones, concepts required to study atmospheric chemistry, common reaction within zones, photolysis, chain reactions, chapman mechanism, ozone in troposphere and stratosphere, CFC'S, Polar stratospheric clouds, Photochemical smog and importance of Nitrogen dioxide, chemical lifetime, constant of proportionality, factors determining chemical concentration in the atmosphere.
Chemistry of soil; Physical properties of soil, Soil profiles, pH and conductivity , Chemical weathering (hydrolysis, redox, acid-base, chelation), lattice enthalpy, Environmental problems (nutrient leaching, reactions with acids, simple metal contamination), CEC, base saturation, acid mine drainage.
Solid state chemistry; introduction to lattice structure of simple rocks.
Green chemistry: 12 principles of green chemistry, process developments, considerations for research planning.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours44.00
Private study hours146.00
Total Contact hours110.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Independent on-line learning:
Weekly quizzes - 22 hours
Using VLE resources - 22 hours
Total 44 hours

Private Study:
Reading - 44 hours
Working example problems - 32 hours
Preparing coursework - 16 hours
Revision for examinations - 32 hours
Preparation for practical sessions - 22 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Weekly quizzes (formative); coursework (20%); 1 mid-term quiz (5%)

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Written Work8 x 2 hour problem sets15.00
In-course Assessment1 x 30 minute in-course exam5.00
PracticalLab competency10.00
Reportformal laboratory report10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

A minimum attendance standard is expected for lab sessions. Resits are not available for individual coursework elements in the module. Attendance is required for coursework elements which are linked to an assessment available only at that specific time, such as fieldwork, lab reports on specific labs, and midterms. Chemistry Lab competency – resit opportunity is available and will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins20.00
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 30 mins40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Resits for the exam component of the module will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt during the July Resit period in most cases or during the next available opportunity.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 21/12/2018


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