Module Overview

Introduction to Chemistry

This module is comprised of both general and organic chemistry at an introductory level. The module objectives are to give an understanding of fundamental principles and theories of chemistry. This includes an introduction to matter, molecules, atomic theory, stoichiometry, volumetric analysis, redox chemistry, intermolecular forces, the structure of solids as well as electrochemistry and equilibrium chemistry. The organic chemistry component incorporates a systematic examination of the physical properties and reactivity of simple organic compounds (hydrocarbons, alcohols, amines, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids and their derivatives), stereochemistry, the hybridization of carbon and the mechanisms for the halogenation of methane and the electrophilic addition reactions of alkenes. The module introduces safety and the basic techniques used in the chemistry laboratory. The material covered in the lecture is reinforced in laboratory practicals.

Module Code

CHEM 1008

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

General chemistry:

Semester 1


SI units, matter and fundamental particles. An overview of atomic theory, electronic configuration (including 1st row transition series), Pauli’s exclusion principle, the Aufbau principle and Hund's rule. The units mole and molarity.  Volumetric analysis of acid/ base, redox reactions and associated calculations. Periodicity and periodic trends, including atomic size, ionisation potential, electron affinity and electronegativity. Brief overview of intermolecular forces of attraction.


Semester 2


Bonding, intermolecular forces and the structure of solids.  Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion theory.

Chemical Reactions.  Nomenclature of inorganic compounds, balancing reactions, stoichiometry, limiting reagents and percentage yields.

Oxidation and reduction processes, oxidising and reducing agents and balancing redox reactions.

The concept of equilibrium, pH scale and calculating H+ ion concentration, OH- ion concentration and Henderson-Hasselbach equation.



Organic chemistry:

Semester 1

Examples of the applications of organic chemistry within the context of the programmes students are studying. Introduction to organic chemistry and classification of organic compounds, definitions for homologous series and functional groups. IUPAC nomenclature. Chemical reactions, physical properties and applications of simple organic molecules including alkanes, alkenes and alkynes. Structural isomers, intermolecular forces of attraction and their effect on the melting and boiling points of organic compounds.

The chemistry properties, physical properties, applications and IUPAC nomenclature of simple aliphatic and simple aromatic compounds.

Functional group chemistry, IUPAC nomenclature, physical properties, applications and reactions of compounds containing each of the following functional groups: haloalkanes, alcohols, ethers, amines, carboxylic acids and their derivatives.

Semester 2

Hybridization theory as it applies to methane, ethene, ethyne and benzene.  Stereochemistry of organic compounds which includes conformers, geometric isomers and optical isomers.

Functional group chemistry, IUPAC nomenclature, physical properties, applications and reactions of compounds containing each of the following functional groups: aldehydes and ketones.

Chirality, optical isomers / enantiomers (one chiral centre only) and racemic mixture.  Polarimeter and polarimetry.  Biological significance of optical isomerism.

Introduction to reaction mechanisms – the mechanism for free radical halogenations and for electrophilic addition reactions.


Laboratory Programme:

A selection of the following practicals (or an appropriate alternative) will be carried out.

  • Video (General introduction and the use of a balance, pipette and burette). Safety talk.  Completion of an introductory maths worksheet.
  • Pipette error and Burette Barreling Effect
  • Sand and salt separation
  • Gravimetric analysis of copper
  • Coffee distillation (incorporating boiling point determination)
  • Qualitative Analysis - Inorganic knowns and cation tests
  • Qualitative Analysis - Inorganic unknowns and cation tests
  • Video (pipette, burette and titration).  Volumetric Analysis maths lab
  • Standardization of NaOH solution
  • Standardisation of HCl with NaOH
  • Analysis of the sodium hydrogen carbonate in baking powder with standardized HCl
  • Analysis of the sodium carbonate in washing soda
  • Determination of the number of water molecules of crystallisation in iron (II) sulphate by volumetric analysis.
  • Recrystallisation and melting points determinations.
  • Chemistry of the alkanes
  • Chemistry of the alkenes
  • Thin Layer Chromatography of analgesic drugs
  • Preparation of soap (or an alternative reflux set-up)
  • Chemistry of alcohols, aldehydes and ketones
  • Revision session for laboratory exam (titrations and cation tests)
  • Determination of heats of neutralization
  • Preparing a buffer solution
  • Laboratory exam

Students will learn through lectures, use of computer based learning software (including online quizzes / problem solving), tutorials (in the form of problem solving workshops) and laboratory practicals.

Self directed learning is encouraged using tutorial questions, on-line resources and quizzes.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination50
Other Assessment(s)50