BSc Materials Science and Engineering

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Preliminary Chemistry Materials

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS15551
Credit rating 0
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit covers a range of topics in inorganic, physical, and organic chemistry at A-level standard.  


The unit aims to deliver an overview of basic chemistry, providing essential knowledge for the study of materials science at undergraduate degree level.


Learning outcomes

A greater depth of the learning outcomes will be covered in the follwing sections:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Intellectual skills
  • Practical skills
  • Transferable skills and personal qualities

Teaching and learning methods

This course will comprise 12 classes (10 classes to cover the topics specified below and 2 ‘revision classes’).

Short pre-recorded lecture videos will be uploaded in BB for the enrolled students to watch prior to the ten scheduled synchronous classes. The videos and their transcripts will be also available to help you follow the content. Short quizzes and exercises will be suggested to test how much you have learnt from the videos. You are strongly encouraged to send me the responses by email (optional) for individual feedback using the provided word templates. The answers will be discussed during the synchronous classes for cohort feedback, and you will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

The two ‘revision classes’ will focus on revising some of the materials previously covered and working on more exercises/problems. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions about anything previously covered.

Knowledge and understanding



1. Explain the ordering of elements in the periodic table and their electronic structure
2. Characterise types of bonding (covalent, ionic, metallic, and hydrogen bonding) and orbital hydridisation
3. Explain the term ‘mole’
4. Calculate the molar concentrations in chemical reactions
5. Identify different types of chemical reactions
6. Explain the ideal gas law
7.List classes of organic compounds, identify functional groups.
8. Discuss various categories of organic reactions (addition,
elimination, substitution)
9. Identify endothermic/exothermic reactions
10. Discuss reversibility of chemical reactions
11. Discuss reaction kinetics and rate equations
12. Explain function of catalyst
13. Define acids/bases (Lowry-Brønsted and Lewis) and strength of acids/bases and pH

Intellectual skills

  • Convert to/from mass-mole
  • Balance Chemical Equations
  • Employ systematic nomenclature to name organic compounds
  • Calculate enthalpy changes associated with a chemical reaction
  • Calculate pH of aqueous solutions

Practical skills

  • Use and convert between different units of concentration

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Contribute positively to small group work

Feedback methods

Feedback is provided by marked work sheets

Recommended reading


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 80

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Cristina Valles Unit coordinator

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