The University of Southampton

CHEM1043 Fundamentals of Physical Chemistry I for non-chemists

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this course is to provide a core for future studies in chemistry and allied subjects, in the following areas: modern ideas of chemical bonding; the shapes and symmetry of molecules; an introduction to spectroscopy and structure solving Teaching in this course recognises the diversity of our intake in terms of A level syllabus followed and choice of non-Chemistry A level subjects (maths, physics, etc.). Lecture component: The aims of the Physical Chemistry part of the module are to provide: • a review of the concepts of enthalpy and entropy. • familiarity with the first and second laws of thermodynamics. • Introduce and apply the concept of Gibbs free energy. • apply thermodynamic concepts to understand the properties of mixures and solution phase equilibria. • further explaination of the concepts of equilibria with emphasis on acid/base equilibria and electrochemistry.


• Chemical thermodynamics: concepts of enthalphy, entropy and internal energy; first and second laws of thermodynamics; Hess cycles; use of energies of formation; definition and use of heat capacity; Gibbs energies and chemical potential; links to chemical equilbria; solution phase equilbria; activities and activity coefficients; effects of pressure and temperature on equilibrium constants; Le Chatelier’s principle; Henderson Hasselbach equation; exploration of equilibria, with emphasis on those important in aqueous acids and bases;

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, problem-solving tutorials with group working and tutor support Feedback is provided • In tutorials through assistance with the set work. • Through the marks achieved in the in online tests. • Through generic feedback following the examinations. • Upon request by viewing of marked examination scripts.

Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Wider reading or practice17
Total study time75

Resources & Reading list

W G Richards and P R Scott. Energy Levels in Atoms and Molecules. 

P.A. Cox. Introduction to Quantum Theory and Atomic Structure. 

P W Atkins and J. de Paula (2013). Elements of Physical Chemistry. 

James Keeler and Peter Wothers (2008). Chemical Stucture and Reactivity. 

P. Monk, L.J. Munro (2010). Maths for Chemists. 

C. Lawrence, A. Rodger, R. Compton. Foundations of Physical Chemistry. 

Andrew Burrows, John Holman, Andrew Parsons, Gwen Pilling, and Gareth Price (2009). Chemistry3: Introducing inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. 

E Steiner (2008). The Chemistry Maths Book. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (1.5 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (1.5 hours) 100%

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: A-level chemistry or equivalent (required) A-level mathematics or equivalent (desirable)

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