While every effort has been made to make sure this electronic syllabus is error-free, it is not official.
The definitive source of course information remains the original (paper) syllabus distributed in class.



Instructor: Charles H. Mahler, Office: HBC 202, Phone 321-4351 or 322-8840 (h)
Office Hours: M 2-3 PM, W, F 10-11 AM, by appointment, or drop by.

CLASS meets M, W, F from 11:30 AM to 12:20 PM in HBC Room 215.
LAB meets T from 7:45 to 11:35 AM in HBC Room 203.

Materials for Course:

"Physical Chemistry" 5th Ed. Peter Atkins; Calculator with logarithmic and exponential functions; Bound Laboratory Notebook with quadrille pages - for lab use only; Safety Glasses or Goggles; Closed Shoes (Lab Coat or Apron recommended); Experimental Procedures will be distributed in class. A lab deposit of $5 will be collected - the cost of lab handouts will be taken from this.

Evaluation and Grading:

Grades will be based on the following weighting scheme: 3 Exams (35%), a Final Exam (20%), Lab (30%), and Homework and Quizzes (15%). 3 extra credit points (on a 1000 point scale) will be given for each Chemistry Colloquium attended. Alternative extra credit will be available for those whose schedules conflict with colloquium (must see me before March 31st).

The following scale will be applied to determine the final letter grade: A > 90% > B > 80% > C > 70% > D > 60% > F . Plus and minus grades are included in these ranges and will be determined at the end of the semester. Adjustments to this scale are possible, but unlikely.

Tests:    Hour Exam 1         Tuesday, February 4, 1997 (in lab)
          Hour Exam 2         Tuesday, March 11, 1997 (in lab)
          Hour Exam 3         Tuesday, April 8, 1997 (in lab)
          Final Exam          Week of  April 21 - 25, 1997, To Be Announced
The course builds on Chemistry 330 and will tentatively cover topics in Phase Diagrams & Equilibria (Ch. 8, 9), Molecular Motion & Kinetics (Ch. 24-27), and Quantum Theory (Ch. 11-18).

Attendance and Make Ups:

Students are required to be present for all labs and exams. Lecture attendance (with textbook and calculator) is expected. Lecture absences will be penalized 3 points per day (on a 1000 point scale), after 3 absences. Colloquium attendance or extra credit assignments will be applied towards nullifying absences before counting as extra credit.

In order to make up exams or labs, only absences notified ahead of time can be made up. Wherever possible, the cause of absences should be substantiated (i.e. doctor's excuse, newspaper article, note from parent, etc.). In case of emergencies leading to absence, you are expected to contact me (at 321-4351 (office) or 322-8840 (home)) or the Department Secretary (321-4006).

If you have questions or comments about anything in the course, please come see me. I am ready and willing to meet with you and discuss your concerns, answer questions, explain concepts, solve problems, etc.


There will be homework problems assigned most days during the semester. These are due at the start of the next lecture (or as soon as you enter lecture if late) and will be graded. Because we then go over the problem and its solution, no homework problems will be accepted after the end of the lecture in which they are due. The lowest two homework grades will be dropped. If you can not be in class or lab, have someone else take notes and hand in any assignments for you.

General Comments:

Students are responsible for knowing material in the assigned reading, problem sets, labs, and lectures. Working problems and understanding the material are keys to doing well. Keys for assigned problems and exams will be reviewed in class and/or posted. There will be periodic review sessions.

It is assumed that the students are familiar with the background material, especially that covered in Chemistry 330. While I am glad to help you in reviewing these topics, it is your responsibility to make up any weaknesses or deficiencies you might have. Much of the course material involves a high degree of conceptual understanding (not just memorization), so adequate preparation and study are essential. It is not sufficient to learn the material from the lecture alone - you are expected to have read and thought about the topics covered before attending lecture. If you have tried and still can't get a problem or concept, see me for help. Please do not worry about admitting that you don't understand something: I would rather learn of this while answering your question than while grading your work.

In homework and exams be neat, box answers, show your work and units (partial credit will be given). On an exam, look at all problems, then do the easiest ones first. Don't spend too much time on any one problem. Preparation and practice (i.e. doing problems and studying) are the best ways to do well on tests. Start work on lab reports well before they are due - these can not be done well at the last minute. Many Physical Chemistry Lab Reports involve as much time (or more) in writing and calculation as the original experimental procedure did.

Administrative procedures (withdrawals, etc.) will follow the published guidelines and rules of the college and department.

Safety and Labs:

Unsafe behavior in Lab will not be tolerated. Repeated unsafe behavior will result in a zero for that lab. In lab: 1) Eyewear must be worn at all times; 2) No eating, drinking, or smoking; 3) No horseplay; 4) No unauthorized, 'independent' experiments; 5) Wear enclosed shoes only; 6) Legs must be covered; 7) See the additional safety rules distributed at lab check-in.

You are expected to read the safety information given and to come to lab each week well prepared. A safety evaluation will be conducted. Report all accidents and injuries immediately. Know the location of all exits and emergency equipment (fire extinguishers, blankets, eye-wash, first aid kit, etc.) When in doubt, ask.

Wearing contact lenses in lab is highly discouraged. If you do wear them in lab, please let me know (no penalty - it is good to know in case of an accident). Wear older clothes - they could be stained or ruined. Above all, use common sense and your chemical intuition - THINK.

As an experienced student chemist, you will be working in many situations which demand your utmost care and attention to protect the safety and health of yourself, your fellow students, and the environment. Preparation and careful, patient work are needed to obtain the results required in each experiment.

Independent Lab Project:

To help familiarize you with the Physical Chemistry literature and references, one experiment this semester will be "do-it-yourself", i.e. a student's idea, researched and written-up as an experimental procedure, which is then done in lab and evaluated by another student. In other words, you will decide on an idea to investigate, research it and write it up in an experimental procedure, then give it to another student to run and evaluate, while you yourself run and evaluate another student's procedure. More information on this project will be given in the first laboratory.


Your Lab Notebook should be neat, well organized, up-to-date and complete, with a Table of Contents. The Table of Contents should be updated with each experiment. Leave room to record your data, the uncertainties in measurements, and any observations about the experiment. Make a copy of each notebook page and hand these in with the report. Each page should be clearly labeled with your name, the date and the name of the experiment (abbreviations are OK). Notebooks will be graded once during the semester. When working in groups, record the names of your group members and also note who performed what tasks, i.e. temperature data (from John), absorbance values (from Susie).

Lab Reports:

Lab reports consist of: Title, Objective, Approach, an Experimental Section (with data, observations, etc.), Sample Calculations, Graphs (or other material needed), Answers to Questions, Error Analyses, and a Conclusion. The first three items should be in your notebook before you start any experiment. When working in groups, each member will submit their own lab report. A group may submit only one copy of supplementary material (i.e. spectra, copy of an article, etc.). One lab report may be formally written up - additional instructions and safety information will be given in the prelab lectures.

Graphs should be on proper paper, fill the page, show data points in ink, have linear (or proper) scales with units and labels on axes. Graphs done on computers should have a printout of the data attached. Data from unknowns and values determined from the graph should be clearly marked. If a line is fitted, the equation of the line should be given (and determination of points from this equation shown in a sample calculation).

Reports are generally due one week after completion of the lab work - a deadline will be given for each experiment. Lab reports are considered late at the end of the lab they are due in (but may be handed in early). Late work will be penalized 5% per school day.

Academic Honesty:

In Physical Chemistry, it is often assumed that constants or values needed to solve problems will be looked up in various reference works. Always include citations for all sources consulted in labs or homework. Unless otherwise stated, all work submitted for a grade should be your own work. For further information on Academic Honesty see the current Catalog or Faculty Handbook.


Scores will be posted using four-character secret codes supplied by the student. If you would prefer not to have your scores posted, let me know (in writing) within the first two weeks of class.

Tentative Lab Schedule - Physical Chemistry II 331

Week of             Experiment

Jan. 13             CONDUCTANCE

Jan. 20             CONDUCTANCE

Jan. 27             IODINE CLOCK

Feb. 3              EXAM ONE

Feb. 10             IODINE CLOCK

Feb. 17             MICROSCALE KINETICS

Feb. 24             SPRING BREAK - UV Dermatological Studies


Mar. 10             EXAM TWO


Mar. 24             LAB PROJECTS

Mar. 31             LAB PROJECTS

Apr. 7              EXAM THREE


Week of Apr. 21     FINAL EXAMINATION

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    Last updated January 6, 1997.
    The URL for this page is http://lyco2.lycoming.edu/dept/chem/spring1997/331syl.htm