CHM214 Physical Chemistry (8)

Physical Chemistry is the study of the underlying physical principles that govern the structure and properties of matter. The subject provides many of the tools necessary to understand why materials and chemical systems behave as they do. This subject builds on knowledge introduced in first year Chemistry, with the development of quantitative descriptions for processes that occur at the atomic and molecular level.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 2 (60)
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: CHM214. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences



Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to interpret the physical properties of matter, both descriptively and mathematically;
  • be able to determine the thermodynamic changes that occur during chemical reactions, and have developed an understanding of the impetus for chemical reactions;
  • be able to determine the mechanism by which a chemical reaction proceeds;
  • be able to relate the nature of electrolyte systems to electrochemical behaviour and perform calculations using cell potentials;
  • be able to relate the nature of chemical interfaces to colloidal and surface processes;
  • be able to express a conceptual understanding of quantum chemistry; and
  • be able to employ skills in the evaluation, interpretation and reporting of experimental data.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The structure of matter - properties of gases and solutions;
  • Thermodynamics - the driving force for chemical reactions;
  • Chemical kinetics - the rate and mechanism of chemical change;
  • Electrochemistry - the relationship between electrochemical behaviour and the nature of electrodes and electrolytes;
  • Surface chemistry - the properties of matter on a nano-scale; and
  • Quantum chemistry - at a descriptive level.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of CHM214 in Session 2 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Laboratory reports
Final exam

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

Laboratory work and tutorials will be conducted at the residential school. Experiments will be undertaken to exemplify theory including: bomb calorimetry; conductometric analyses; kinetics of clock reactions; and spectroscopy. Time allowance will be made for students to access resources such as the library during the residential school.

Special Resources

Students attending compulsory residential schools on CSU campuses will incur costs associated with travel, accommodation and required resources (minimum: lab coat, safety glasses and covered footwear for lab-based practicals).

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.