Course Description

Course Name

CHEM201 Physical Chemistry and its Applications

Session: VDNS3121

Hours & Credits

18 Credit Points

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


Fundamental physical chemistry and its application to chemical processes in the natural environment. Includes spectroscopy, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and kinetics.

CHEM 201 Environmental Physical Chemistry is designed to provide a strong basis in many of the principles underlying chemical structure and reactivity. The focus of the paper is on principles considered to be of fundamental significance in all areas of chemistry.

Course Structure
The topics covered in CHEM 201 are:
- Structure, bonding, quantum mechanics and spectroscopy
- An introduction to quantum mechanics and spectroscopy and the close link between them
- Developing a basic understanding of the Schrödinger equation, its solutions and atomic and molecular orbitals
- Developing a basic understanding of vibrational and rotational spectroscopy
- Kinetics and geochemical cycles
- Introduction to methods of obtaining chemical kinetic data
- Derivation and use of simple rate laws
- Case studies: geochemical cycles and comparison between theory and experiment
- Thermodynamics in the natural environment
- Using thermodynamics to obtain information about energy transfer,directions of chemical changes and equilibrium conditions in chemical reactions and phase changes
- Gaining an understanding of the energetics of chemical systems and cycles
- Instilling in students an appreciation of the use of thermodynamics in the analysis of chemical systems in nature and in technology

Learning Outcomes
Expectations at the completion of the paper:
- A basic understanding of the physical aspects of chemical systems
- An understanding of basic elements of molecular spectroscopy, quantum mechanics, kinetics and thermodynamics and the skill to use the basic equations in these topics
- Self-confidence in laboratory skills and problem solving via a laboratory course that complements the lecture course
- The ability to analyse rigorously and communicate results in appropriate formats
- An understanding of how chemical knowledge is applied in a practical, problem-solving context
- Students who are majoring in chemistry will have acquired knowledge and skills that will enable them to proceed to 300- and 400-level papers in chemistry
- Students not majoring in chemistry will have acquired knowledge of many of the physical principles of chemistry and experimental skills that will serve them well in

*Course content subject to change