Fundamentals of Chemistry

Subject 610-171 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Lectures, practicals, tutorials/workshops, independent learning tasks, computer-aided learning.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 one-hour lectures (three per week), 18 hours of practical activities (6 three-hour practicals), 12 one-hour tutorial/workshop sessions, 6 hours of computer aided learning, 8 hours of independent learning tasks.
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: Some knowledge of basic science will be assumed.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: Students will not be permitted to enrol in chemistry 610-171 if they have already completed chemistry 610-121, chemistry 610-141, chemistry 610-051 or equivalent studies.
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. This subject requires all students to actively and safely participate in laboratory activities. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their participation are encouraged to discuss this with the subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Dr B Abrahams
Subject Overview:

On completion, the student should have an understanding of the nature of matter, solutions and gases, the chemical change related to equilibrium, energy and kinetics, and the nature of redox processes; and structures and functional groups in organic molecules.

In the practical component, students should develop basic laboratory skills (observation, analytical techniques, report writing) and an appreciation of the health and safety issues associated with the safe handling and disposal of laboratory chemicals.

The subject provides an introduction to the nature of matter: elements, atoms, ions and molecules; the electronic structure of atoms and ions; bond formation, including covalent, ionic, metallic, hydrogen bonding, and van der Waals; solubility and the solution state; ions and hydration; the behaviour of gases; the mole concept; concentrations; stoichiometry; acids, bases, neutralisation reactions and salt formation; acid/base strength and the pH scale; energy and chemical systems; rates of reaction and reaction order; catalysis and enzymes; chemical equilibrium; the equilibrium constant, Ka, Kb, stability constants and solubility products; redox reactions and redox potentials; organic molecules: structure, nomenclature and functional groups; hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity; and biologically significant macromolecules.

This subject will provide the student with the opportunity to establish and develop the following generic skills: the ability to use conceptual models and gather and rationalise data, problem-solving and critical thinking.

Assessment: Three 30-minute 'take home' tests held during the semester (15%); ongoing assessment of practical work throughout the semester (20%); a 3-hour written examination in the examination period (65%). Satisfactory completion of practical work is necessary to pass the subject.
Prescribed Texts: Chemistry (S. S. Zumdahl and S. A Zumdahl), 6th edn, Houghton Mifflin, 2003.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Commerce
  • Bachelor of Environments
  • Bachelor of Music

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: This subject encompasses particular generic skills so that on completion of the subject students should have developed skills relating to:
  • the organization of work schedules which permit appropriate preparation time for tutorials, practical classes and examinations;
  • the use of electronic forms of communication;
  • the utilisation of computer-aided learning activities to enhance understanding;
  • the performance of basic manipulations with laboratory equipment;
  • the recording of observations, the analysis of information and the interpretation data within a laboratory setting;
  • accessing information from the library employing both electronic and traditional means;
  • working collaboratively with other students;
  • the use of conceptual models;
  • problem solving; and
  • critical thinking.

Students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and new degrees), BASc or a combined BSc course will receive science credit for the completion of this subject.

Students intending to undertake chemistry 610-102 in order to meet prerequisites for later year chemistry or biochemistry subjects must achieve at a high level in the examination component of this subject. The chemistry sequence of 610-101 and 610-102 is available for students who have completed VCE Chemistry.

A laboratory coat and safety glasses are required for laboratory activities.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Agriculture

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