Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitSchool of Chemistry
OfferedClayton First semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor Donald McNaughton


Mastery of spectroscopy and molecular structure and chemistry at interfaces and surfaces is essential for graduates in chemistry, materials, bio-science and earth sciences. The first topics covered are advanced spectroscopy, with an emphasis on fundamentals, computational and theoretical chemistry and molecular symmetry. Computational and spectroscopic techniques are described in terms of principles, instrumentation and applications and supported by practical exercises. Together these complementary areas provide a strong foundation in molecular structure, which is central to the molecular sciences. The final topics covered are essential physical chemistry: Surface Chemistry introduces the special features of the molecular structure of the interface, surface tension and adsorption at the interface, surfactants, emulsions and foams, adhesion, wetting, detergency, and formulation of surfactants; Colloid Chemistry focuses on dispersion of small particles in the context of food chemistry, paints, cosmetics, water systems and formulation science.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Show an understanding of molecular symmetry and its uses;

  1. Understand molecular structure in relation to molecular symmetry;

  1. Assign point groups to molecules, and have developed an understanding of advanced spectroscopy;

  1. Comprehend the basic concepts of computational chemistry and become proficient in the "hands-on" use of specific computational chemistry software;

  1. Develop assessment skills of reliability and accuracy of computational chemistry methods for a chemical problem at hand;

  1. Become proficient in the applications of the four laws of thermodynamics;

  1. Learn about the connections between kinetics and thermodynamics of chemical reactions;

  1. Comprehend key terms used in colloid and surface chemistry;

  1. Develop an understanding of the importance of the force and physical effects of surface tension;

  1. Recognise properties of the interface between two different material phases and understand the chemical processes that occur at the molecular level at such interfaces;

  1. Demonstrate an awareness of the importance of processes that occur at interfaces, be able to give examples of the applications of surface chemistry and the functionality of everyday materials;

  1. Be able to identify colloidal systems and comprehend the forces affecting the stability of nanoscale (colloidal) dispersions.


One 2-hour examination: 40%
Mid semester test, assignments and computer testing: 30%
Laboratory work and short laboratory reports and pro forma reports: 30%
Students must achieve a pass mark in their laboratory work to achieve an overall pass grade.

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lectures/tutorials and the equivalent of 3 hours of laboratory activity per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


CHM2911 and CHM2922. Students without these should consult the third year coordinator.