Chemical Structure and Reactivity
Queensland University of Technology
Area of Study
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Host University Units12
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3 - 4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4 - 6
Hours & Credits
Chemical Structure and Reactivity explores the influence of the three-dimensional structures of molecules and their chemical reactivity on the physical and chemical properties of all substances. It develops your chemical problem-solving ability in the context of organic compounds of relevance to every-day life as well as the skills necessary to carry out organic chemistry experiments safely and efficiently in the laboratory. This introductory chemistry unit (with its companion unit General Chemistry) provides the foundation for further studies in chemistry including the sub-discipline of organic chemistry that you may encounter in semesters 4 and 5 of your science degree.
On completion of this unit, you will demonstrate that you can:
1. describe and predict the connectivity, shapes and electronic properties of molecules and relate these concepts to the characteristic reactions of organic molecules
2. solve problems involving the principles of molecular structure, polarity, three-dimensional shape and reactivity
3. safely conduct basic laboratory procedures to investigate organic substances and their reactions
4. critically reflect on your learning, particularly in relation to your laboratory skills.
The unit will commence with description of atomic and molecular structure using models appropriate to an introductory unit. The structures and shapes of molecules of carbon compounds will be investigated in a collaborative format where you will work with your colleagues to reinforce your understanding.
Once you are familiar with the three-dimensional shapes and electronic properties of typical molecules, organic reactions will be examined using mechanistic and functional group approaches in tandem.
Having exposed you to the myriad of possible organic molecules and their useful reactions, we will introduce the problem of how to determine the structures of organic molecules using the techniques of spectroscopy.
We will adopt a guided approach to learning in each of these key areas (below) leading from experimental result to conceptual model to predictability and testability. Successful learning will depend on recall of relevant factual material as a necessary preparation for solving problems.
Foundations of molecular structure:
- electronic structures of atoms and molecules (quantum theory, Lewis structures, resonance theory, aromaticity)
- polarity of bonds and molecules
- the functional classes of organic molecules
- naming organic compounds systematically
- three-dimensional structures of molecules and impact of shapes on properties.
Reactions of organic substances:
- the typical reactions of the common functional groups
- how to represent reactions using electron flow
- extension of General Chemistry concepts of acids and bases to organic functional groups and non-aqueous media
- treatment of typical reaction mechanisms using a deductive approach
- applications of principles of structure and reactivity to every-day life, especially involving naturally occurring substances, drugs and polymers.
Introduction to spectroscopy:
- why we need spectroscopy - classical methods
- mass spectrometry
- infrared spectroscopy
- carbon nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
- solving problems in structure determination.
Approaches to Teaching and Learning
Lectorial: Weekly (concept focus - collaborative learning spaces)
Laboratory practicals: Five 3hr laboratory practicals throughout semester (practical organic chemistry focus)
Workshops: Six 1hr workshops throughout semester (Problem solving in chemical structure and reactivity - collaborative learning spaces)
Progress Examination: 10%
Final Examination: 50%
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.
Some courses may require additional fees.
Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.