CHEM40740 Electrochemistry

Academic Year 2021/2022

This module introduces the subject of modern electrochemistry through the development of core aspects of electrochemical thermodynamics and kinetics alongside a rigorous understanding of both classical and modern techniques used in electrochemical research. Applications of electrochemistry in catalysis, the development of biosensor technologies, for studies at the life science interface, and the implications of nanoscale confinement on electrochemical reactions are all explored through a series of examples and case studies.

Section A: Electrochemical Thermodynamics
Electrolytes; ion-ion and ion-solvent interactions; equilibrium electrochemistry; Galvanic and electrolytic cells; electrochemical potential; the Nernst equation, membrane potential, liquid junction potential and ion transport numbers,

Section B: Interfacial Kinetics
Electron transfer at interfaces; Butler-Volmer Kinetics, Marcus theory, Adsorption; Langmuir isotherms, The electrical double layer (EDL).

Section C: Dynamic Electrochemistry
Mass transport; Classical dynamic techniques; chronoamperometry and the potential step experiment, cyclic voltammetry for diffusing and immobilized species, micro and nano-electrodes.

Section D: Frontiers in electrochemistry
Electrocatalysis; electrocrystallization and electrodeposition; bioelectrochemistry and biosensing; scanning-probe techniques, nanopores.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

The ability to: define oxidation and reduction; distinguish between Galvanic and electrolytic cells; identify the anode and cathode in a electrochemical cell; write and balance the half-reactions and overall redox cell reaction; define the EMF of an electrochemical cell and distinguish it from the cell potential; describe how the thermodynamics (ΔG, ΔH and ΔS) of an electrochemical cell reaction can be determined, use the Electrochemical Series to calculate the standard EMF of a cell; use the Nernst equation to calculate the concentration dependence of an electrode potential and the cell EMF; perform calculations with the Butler-Volmer equation and construct Taefel plots; explain basic the concepts of electron transfer and Marcus theory.

The ability to: describe a variety of classical electrochemical techniques applied in dynamic electrochemistry. e.g. chronoamperometry and cyclic voltammetry; perform calculations to extract useful experimental data such as the diffusion coefficient and electron transfer kinetics; describe the advantages of micro- and nano- electrodes and how fundamental chemical behaviour is altered at these confined length-scales. Determine kinetic data and reaction mechanisms from voltammetry data.

The ability to: describe the uses of electrochemistry at the life science interface e.g. enzyme electrochemistry and the development of DNA biosensors; use Faraday’s Laws to calculate the mass of product formed in an electrolytic cell; describe recent developments and concepts in electrocrystallization and electrocatalysis.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Content will be delivered through a series of lectures and workshops. Lectures will be used to deliver the bulk of the core descriptive material. Workshop activities are designed to provide practice with handling data from electrochemical experiments and calculating useful physical parameters such as electron transfer rates and diffusion coefficients. Students will be directed towards useful online resources and/or book chapters to reinforce their understanding of the content delivered in class. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
CHEM40800 - Electrochemistry, taught MSc

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: Final Exam 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded Yes


Class Test: Two in-class tests (open book) or homework assignments that examine student understanding of key concepts through extended problem solving. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

General feedback will be provided to the class after the homework assignments/in class tests/final exam. Individual feedback and discussion will be provided on request.

Recommended texts for additional reading:

Molecular Thermodynamics, Donald McQuarrie, University Science Books, ISBN: 978-1891389054

A First Course in Electrode Processes, Derek Pletcher, RSC Publishing, ISBN: 978-1-84755-893-0
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Thurs 09:00 - 10:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Tues 10:00 - 10:50