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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

CHEM 1523: Principles of Chemistry

This course is the second half of first year chemistry theory designed for students with a strong background in Chemistry. Course topics include gas laws, equilibrium, redox reactions, electrochemistry, thermochemistry, entropy and free energy.

Note: This course provides the equivalent of the second half of a first-year university chemistry course when taken with its accompanying laboratory course, CHEM 1525. In order to complete the equivalent of the entire first year (6 credits) of university-level chemistry students need to complete CHEM 1503, 1523, 1505 and 1525 or CHEM 1500 and CHEM 1520.

NOTE: Students may be required to take CHEM 1525 the lab component in order to receive transfer credit.

Learning outcomes

Upon the successful completion of the course, students will be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of:

  • The microscopic differences between solids, liquids and gases
  • The origins, definition of and measurement of gas pressure
  • The relationship between macroscopic gas properties, the Ideal Gas equation
  • Calculations and stoichiometry involving gases
  • Mixtures of gases and the relationship between mole fraction and partial pressure
  • The distribution of speeds for a gas sample and the effect of mass
  • The postulates of the Kinetic Molecular theory of gases
  • The terms effusion and diffusion of gases and their applications
  • The reasons for the corrections applied in the van der Waals equation for gases
  • The microscopic and macroscopic equilibrium state and the equilibrium constant and reaction quotient
  • The algebraic manipulations of a chemical reaction and its equilibrium constant
  • Le Chatelier's Principle and its application to a chemical system at equilibrium
  • Solving equilibrium problems, given either initial concentrations and the equilibrium constant and finding equilibrium amounts, or given equilibrium amounts and inding the equilibrium constant
  • The Bronsted acid and base definitions and the relationship between conjugate acid-base pairs and their equilibrium constants for reaction with water
  • The relative strengths of acids and bases determined by their equilibrium constants, including polyprotic acids
  • Solving weak acid-weak base equilibrium problems
  • The pH scale and the acidity or basicity of aqueous solutions
  • The acid-base properties of salt solutions
  • The common ion effect and buffer solutions, buffer capacity and buffer pH range, how to prepare buffer solutions, and how buffer solutions react to additions of acid or base
  • The general form of acid-base titration curves, the significant regions, including indicator selection
  • The acid-base properties of amino acids
  • The fundamental processes involved in oxidation-reduction reactions
  • The concept of half-cell reduction potentials, the standard hydrogen electrode, and cell potentials
  • Standard conditions and the cell potential under non-standard conditions, the Nernst equation
  • Fundamental properties of batteries
  • Heat capacity, the first law of thermodynamics and calorimetry; exothermic or endothermic reactions
  • The application of Hess' Law to chemical systems
  • The use of enthalpies of formation to predict enthalpy changes for other reactions
  • The concept of spontaneous reactions and the importance of entropy
  • The second and third laws of thermodynamics

Course topics

  • Unit 1: Gases
  • Unit 2: Kinetics
  • Unit 3: Equilibrium
  • Unit 4: Acid Bases and Solubility Equilibria
  • Unit 5: Thermodynamics
  • Unit 6: Electrochemistry

Required text and materials

There is no required textbook for this course.

Additional requirements

  • Computer with Internet is required.
  • Non-programmable, single numeric line calculator such as the Casio fx-260 is required.


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam. 

Unit 1 Assignment 10%
Unit 2 Assignment  11%
Unit 3 Assignment      11%
Unit 4 Assignment  11%
Unit 5 Assignment  11%
Unit 6 Assignment  11%
Final Exam (mandatory) 35%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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