Chemical reactions underpin the production of pretty much everything in our modern world. But, what is the driving force behind reactions? Why do some reactions occur over geological time scales whilst others are so fast that we need femtosecond-pulsed lasers to study them? Ultimately, what is going on at the atomic level? Discover the answers to such fundamental questions and more on this course in introductory physical chemistry. The course covers the key concepts of three of the principal topics in first-year undergraduate physical chemistry: thermodynamics, kinetics and quantum mechanics. These three topics cover whether or not reactions occur, how fast they go and what is actually going on at the sub-atomic scale.
- Week 1 - Thermodynamics I
This module explores thermodynamic definitions, the zeroth law of thermodynamics and temperature, the first law of thermodynamics and enthalpy, reversible expansion, and heat capacity.
- Week 2 - Thermodynamics II
This module explores the second law of thermodynamics and entropy, the second law of thermodynamics and spontaneity, the second law of thermodynamics and equilibrium, the third law of thermodynamics and absolute entropy, and Hess' Law.
- Week 3 - Virtual Lab 1: Thermodynamics
This lab allows you to further explore thermodynamics.
- Week 4 - Chemical Kinetics I
This module explores the rate of reaction, stoichiometry and order, zero order reactions, first order reactions, second order reactions, determination of reaction order, and effect of temperature on reaction rate.
- Week 5 - Chemical Kinetics II
This module explores complex reactions, steady-state approximation, and catalysis.
- Week 6 - Virtual Lab 2: Kinetics
This lab allows you to further explore kinetics.
- Week 7 - Quantum Chemistry I
This module explores Planck's quantum of energy, particle nature of light, wave nature of matter, Heissenberg's uncertainty principle, the Schrödinger equation, free particle & the particle in a box, Born's interpretation of the wavefunction, and normalisation...
- Week 8 - Virtual Lab 3: Particle in a Box
This experiment involves the visible absorption spectra of dyes.
- Week 9 - Quantum Chemistry II
This module explores hydrogen atoms, hydrogen atom quantum numbers, radial and angular solutions for hydrogenic atoms, and energy levels for hydrogenic atoms.
- Week 10 - Virtual Lab 4: Hydrogen Emission Spectroscopy
This lab allows you to further explore quantum chemistry.
Patrick J O'Malley, D.Sc
Michael W. Anderson, FRSC
Professor of Materials Chemistry
School of Chemistry
Jonathan Agger, MRSC
Lecturer and Deputy Director of Outreach