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Chemical Energetics and Dynamics

Course Code: CHEM 1210
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Chemistry
Credits: 5.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab
Typically Offered: Fall, Summer, Winter
course overview

Topics studied will include liquids, solids, solutions, electrochemistry, the laws of thermodynamics, equilibrium as well as acids and bases. A practical laboratory component is an integral part of the course.

Course Content

Liquids and Solids

Phases:  vaporization; boiling, vapour pressure, Clausius-Clapeyron equation, other phase changes, phase diagrams (one component) and associated concepts; crystalline solid types.


(Review: types of solutions, solution concentrations) The solution process and associated energetics, Henry’s Law, Raoult’s Law (one and two volatile components), fractional distillation.


Concentration effects and Nernst equation, relationship between Ecell and delta G/K, electrolysis, quantitative electrolysis. (Review: sufficient review of electrochemical cells and standard reduction potentials to effectively cover the section 3 topics above)


(Review: basic principles of chemical equilibrium, equilibrium constant (K) and expressions, magnitude of K, basic Le Chatelier’s principle) Kc versus Kp, reaction quotient, homogeneous (Kp focus) and heterogenous equilibrium calculations (including approximations), detailed examples of Le Chatelier’s principle.


(Review: basic concepts of thermochemistry, simple heat capacity problems) First Law of Thermodynamics, calorimetry (constant pressure and volume), enthalpy, Hess’s Law, standard enthalpies of formation, entropy, standard molar entropies, Third Law, Second Law and derivation of Gibbs free energy, standard free energies of formation, free energy and spontaneity, relationship between free energy and equilibrium, thermodynamic equilibrium constants, temperature dependence of equilibrium constants.

Acids and Bases

(Review: Arrhenius and Bronsted-Lowry theory, auto-ionization of water and and Kw, pH, strong/weak acids and bases, Ka, Kb, qualitative hydrolysis of salts) quantitative hydrolysis of salts, polyprotic acids, common ion effect, buffer solutions, titration curves (strong and weak acids/bases), indicators, solubility product (Ksp).

Laboratory Course Content

Experiments will be chosen from the following:

  1. Synthesis of a Coordination Compound
  2. Oxidation/Reduction Analysis
  3. Spectrophotometric determinations
  4. Kinetics
  5. Thermochemistry
  6. Equilibria
  7. pH and Indicators
  8. Electrochemistry
  9. Acids and Bases
  10. Solubility Product
  11. Determination of K, delta G, delta S and delta H
  12. Design of a Thermal Insulator
  13. Physical Properties and Phase Equilibria
  14. Applied Electrochemistry
  15. Applications of Buffers

Methods of Instruction

The course will be presented using lectures, problem sessions and class discussions.  Films and other audio-visual aids as well as programmed material will be used where appropriate.  Problems will be assigned on a regular basis. The laboratory course will be used to illustrate the practical aspects of the course material.  Close coordination will be maintained between laboratory and classroom work whenever possible.  This will be accomplished by discussing laboratory experiments in class and when necessary, by using the lab period for problem solving.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation will be based on the following:
1. Laboratory work (30%)
  • Reports will be submitted for each experiment. These may be numerical results, report sheets or formal lab report
  • Quizzes or assignments may be given before or after a lab experiment.
  • Qualitative results of experiments performed on unknown samples may be graded.

2. Lecture (70%)

  • A final comprehensive examination during the exam period:  30%
  • A minimum of two in class tests will be given throughout the semester:  30%
  • Any or all of the following evaluations, at the discretion of the instructor: problem assignments, quizzes, class participation [5% maximum] (10% in total)


A student who misses three or more laboratory experiments will earn a maximum P grade.

A student who achieves less than 50% in either the lecture or laboratory portion of the course will earn a maximum P grade.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Define or explain any of the chemical terms used in the course (i.e. anode, state function).
  2. Solve problems of the following types, given a list of selected equations:
    • Determination of the amount of material produced in an electrolytic cell
    • Calculation of the e.m.f of a galvanic cell
    • Calculation of delta G from electrochemical data
    • Calculations involving use of the First Law of Thermodynamics
    • Enthalpy changes in a chemical or physical process
    • Hess’s Law
    • Calculation of delta S from absolute entropies
    • Calculation of delta G for a chemical reaction
    • Calculation of K from delta G°
    • Equilibria in gaseous systems
    • Equilibria in aqueous acid-base systems (pH, weak acids, hydrolysis, buffers)
    • Amounts of material involved in redox reactions
  3. Determine the mass of a substance involved in a redox reaction.
  4. State Faraday’s Law of Electrolysis.
  5. Determine whether chemical reactions will occur spontaneously under standard conditions, given a table of standard electrode potentials.
  6. Using a table of standard electrode potentials, compare the relative strengths of oxidizing agents or reducing agents.
  7. Distinguish between various types of heats of reaction and write the corresponding chemical equation.
  8. Interpret the signs of enthalpy changes.
  9. Describe both qualitatively and quantitatively the contributions of delta H and delta S to reaction spontaneity.
  10. Predict the sign of delta S for various chemical and physical processes.
  11. Interpret equilibrium in terms of the thermodynamic driving forces.
  12. Write the chemical equation for the equilibrium involving weak acids and bases in aqueous solution.
  13. Classify various aqueous salt solutions as acidic, basic or neutral and write the corresponding equation.
  14. Explain how an acid-base indicator works and choose suitable indicators for various acid-base reactions.

Laboratory Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Give the name and describe the use of some of the more common laboratory equipment.
  2. Accurately perform standard laboratory techniques using the accepted methods, such as titration, weighing, pipetting.
  3. Give the random and systematic errors inherent in each of the common quantitative techniques which are used in the laboratory.
  4. Given an experimental problem, state the series of steps and the accepted techniques required to solve that problem in the laboratory.
  5. Write a report based on observations and data obtained in the laboratory using a standard report format.
  6. Given a set of experimental data or using data obtained in the laboratory, apply the appropriate mathematical techniques (e.g. graphical analysis, solution of equations, etc.) necessary to obtain a numerical result.
  7. Using the data, observations or results of an experiment, determine the relationship between experimental variables.
  8. Analyze the overall laboratory experiment with respect to errors inherent in the method or techniques.
  9. State the theory upon which the experiment is based.

course prerequisites

CHEM 1110, C or better

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.