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The University of Southampton

CHEM1033 Fundamentals of Physical Chemistry I

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • explain aspects of titration curves and calculate the pH for different solution mixtures involving strong and weak acids and bases
  • extract model parameters from experimental data sets.
  • differentiate elementary functions.
  • Evaluate the risks associated with an experiment and understand how to mitigate against those risks.
  • Set up glassware and apparatus to conduct experiments in Physical Chemistry.
  • Interpret data from an experiment, including the construction of appropriate graphs and the evaluation of errors.
  • Present the results of a practical investigation in a concise manner.
  • calculate the equilibrium constants, standard Gibbs energy of reactions, and standard cell potentials for Galvanic cells
  • calculate the ionic strength and mean activity coefficient, account for the effect of ionic strength on equilibrium constant
  • define the terms and determine the enthalphy and entropy change associated with a reaction.
  • explain the concept of a state function.
  • explain the concept of spontaneity of a reaction and determine the Gibbs energy change associated with a reaction.
  • explain and apply the concept of thermodynamic equilibrium.
  • comfortably handle a variety of mathematical expressions encountered in chemical sciences.
  • solve linear and quadratic equations and systems of linear equations.


• 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; • Mathematical concepts in physical chemistry: Estimates and units; algebraic transformation rules; linear and quadratic equations; graphs and their analysis; exponentials and logarithms; linearization and data fitting; derivatives and differentiation; differentiation of simple functions and use of the chain, product, and quotient rules; use of derivatives to determine maximum and minimum points. • Completion of two practical experiments and associated reports covering a range of topics and skills in physical chemistry including the measurement of materials and properties with accuracy, precision and reproducibility; and the estimation and treatment of errors; understanding the importance of experimental safety and time management.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, e-learning, problem classes, tutorials with group working, and tutor support Practical chemistry: Prelaboratory e-learning; pre-lab skills lectures/ Seminars; practical sessions, supporting demonstrations, group and one-to-one tuition Feedback is provided • In tutorials and workshops through assistance with the set work. • In the practicals through assistance from demonstrators and members of staff on duty. • On the reports submitted for the practical excercises. • Through the marks achieved in the in class tests. • Through generic feedback following the examinations. • Upon request by viewing of marked examination scripts.

Problem Classes5
Wider reading or practice10
Preparation for scheduled sessions52
Practical classes and workshops22
Follow-up work20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Peter Atkins, Julio de Paula, and James Keeler. Atkins' Physical Chemistry. 

Paul Monk and Lindsey J. Munro. or Maths for Chemistry. 

Eric Steiner. Chemistry Maths Book, The. 

Andrew Burrows, John Holman, Andrew Parsons, Gwen Pilling, Gareth Price. Chemistry 3. 


Assessment Strategy

All absences from practical sessions must be validated and unexcused absences will result in failure of the module. Repeat year externally: allowed if practical component passed. The practical marks are retained, the theory assessment is exam only. Repeat year internally: note that practical may be reassessed by resubmission of reports or repeated.




MethodPercentage contribution
Assessed Tutorials 10%
Examination  (2 hours) 65%
Lab proficiency 
Maths examination  (1 hours) 12.5%
Practical write-ups 12.5%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%
Lab proficiency 

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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