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Unit information: Intermediate Practical and Analytical Chemistry for Chemical Physics in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Intermediate Practical and Analytical Chemistry for Chemical Physics
Unit code CHEM20220
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Parrish
Open unit status Not open

CHEM10600, CHEM10800



School/department School of Chemistry
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit develops the introduction to practical chemistry given in CHEM 10600/800 to provide the essential skills of practical chemistry required for advanced study at Levels 6 and 7 (Years 3 and 4). It covers the main areas of the subject including taking measurements, data handling and scientific reporting.


This unit aims to provide a deepening understanding and widening knowledge of the main areas of analytical and practical physical chemistry, building on year 1 material and laying the basis to enable progress to advanced aspects of the subject in later years. Students face more challenging experiments than in the first year and learn to choose appropriate techniques for a given problem and the importance of control experiments. The unit aims to teach students how to structure reports. The unit equips students with a fundamental understanding of the array of analytical techniques available in a modern laboratory and how to use them.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to do the following:

Experimental component:

  • Understand the importance of control experiments
  • Use prediction of outcomes as part of experiment planning
  • Choose an appropriate technique to address a problem
  • Use spreadsheets confidently to analyse data
  • Demonstrate whether a set of data agrees with a given theory
  • Draw inferences from data sets
  • Record accurate, reproducible data
  • Understand the importance of testing and calibrating apparatus

Report writing:

  • Write a report on an experiment, with appropriate structure, use of diagrams, figures and tables, and scientific language
  • Find suitable references and include these appropriately

Analytical component:

  • Understand the theory of chromatography
  • Understand the theory of mass spectrometry including fragmentation patterns.

Teaching details

The Practical Chemistry part of the unit consists of laboratory-based practical chemistry experiments, led by a laboratory teaching fellow and guided by demonstrators. Significant e-resources for this are available on the School’s Dynamic Laboratory Manual, including guidance on how to conduct the experiments and on how to report them in a scientific fashion.

The Analytical part of the unit is delivered via lectures, workshops (classes of up to 30 students with two staff members) and independent study. The Dynamic Laboratory Manual provides important e-learning resource in advance of workshop sessions. Pre-workshop online material will be provided to assist students with the contact workshop.

Assessment Details

The laboratory component (80%) will be summatively assessed by continual assessment of laboratory experiments (supervised practicals) and written reports (assessed coursework). The analytical component (20%) will be summatively assessed by one 1-hour written exam.

To receive credit for this unit, students must make a reasonable attempt at every aspect of the teaching and assessment, including pre- and post-laboratory work, practical experiments, formal reports and presentations, group-working and any workshop activities. Failure to do so may result in credit being withheld, even if the overall mark is above the pass mark for the unit. Supplementary or resit assessment of this unit is only possible through engagement in the following academic year.

Reading and References

Most of the reading needed for this course is available on the Dynamic Laboratory Manual

Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry, 8th Edition, D. A. Skoog, D. M. West, F. J. Holler and S. R. Crouch, Brooks Cole, 2004

Practical Organic Mass Spectroscopy, 2nd Edition, J. R. Chapman, Wiley 1993