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Module FXX-2204:
OC 2 Aromatics and Polymers

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Hongyun Tai

Overall aims and purpose

This course covers fundamental aspects of aromatic and heteroaromatic chemistry together with the concepts in aromatic synthesis, together with and introduction to polymer and radical chemistry. This will be achieved by a formal lecture course (24 lectures)

Course content

Dr H Tai (12 lectures). This part of the module will cover an important area of organic chemistry: the chemistry of aromatic systems. A discussion of the chemistry of benzene and of its mono- and poly-substituted derivatives leads to a broad survey of polycyclic aromatics, of non-benzenoid carbocyclic aromatics, and of heterocyclic aromatic compounds. The general chemistry of heteroaromatic compounds containing nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur atoms will be discussed and differences to carbocyclic aromatic compounds will be highlighted.

Dr H Tai (12 lectures). An introduction to radical chemistry, the nature of these species and their formation and reactions. Fundamental aspects of polymer chemistry will be introduced, including the classification of polymers, e.g. homopolymer, copolymer, tacticity (isotactic, atactic, syndiotactic), branching, and dendrimers, and the properties of polymers, e.g. molecular weight and molecular weight distribution and their analytical evalutation. The course will focus on polymer synthesis, including the kinetic and mechanism of step growth and chain growth polymerisations, in particular, radical chain growth polymerisations, such as FRP, ATRP, RAFT and NMP. (12 lectures)

Course Team: Dr H Tai (24 lectures).

Assessment Criteria


Knowledge and understanding of the content covered in the course is basic; Problems of a routine nature are generally adequately solved; Transferable skills are at a basic level.


Knowledge base covers all essential aspects of subject matter dealt with in the programme and shows good evidence of enquiry beyond this. Conceptual understanding is good. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved in a logical manner; solutions are generally correct and acceptable. Performance in transferable skills is sound and shows no significant deficiencies.


Knowledge base is extensive and extends well beyond the work covered in the programme. Conceptual understanding is outstanding. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved with efficiency and accuracy; problem-solving procedures are adjusted to the nature of the problem. Performance in transferable skills is generally very good.

Learning outcomes

  1. Students should be able to know the bond and orbital structure of benzene and its energy properties. and be able to demonstrate an understanding of the type of reactivity shown by benzene and to know common electrophilic substitution reactions and their mechanisms. Students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of Huckel's rule.

  2. Students should be able to: show fundemental knowledge of the general chemistry of hetro aromatic compounds containing various heteroatoms (N, S, O).

  3. The student should be able to describe the kinetics and mechanisms of free radical polymerisation (FRP) and controlled radical polymerisation (ATRP, RAFT and NMP), and the roles of the key chemicals involved in these polymerisation reactions. The student should be able to describe the key processes in the synthesis and characterisation of polymers, their advantages and disadvantages relative to other materials, their appropriateness under specific circumstances and to demonstrate a clear understanding of their properties and utility, including biodegradability etc.

  4. Students should be able to demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of radical reactions and intermediates including mechanistic aspects (e.g. half-headed arrow mechanisms, resonance structures), their properties (e.g. stability, reactivity) and appropriate use in synthesis.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
OC 2 Aromatics and Polymers 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy


The module has 24 hours lectures, problem solving will be practised during the lectures. Active participation is expected.

Private study

76 hours will be reserved for private and reflective studies and to revise first year material and other lectures


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • CC4 The ability to recognise and analyse problems and plan strategies for their solution
  • PS3 Problem-solving skills, relating to qualitative and quantitative information
  • SK2 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of fundamental physicochemical principles with the ability to apply that knowledge to the solution of theoretical and practical problems
  • SK3 Gain knowledge of a range of inorganic and organic materials
  • SK4 Demonstrate, with supporting evidence, their understanding of synthesis, including related isolation, purification and characterisation techniques


Talis Reading list

Reading list

Organic chemistry - Clayden, Jonathan, Greeves, Nick, Warren, Stuart G. c2012 And Chemistry3 - most recent edition

Polymer Chemistry: An Introduction, Malcolm P. Stevens, Third Edition, 1999.

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Co-requisite of:

Courses including this module