CHEM 252 : Properties and Analysis of Matter


2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Understanding the physico-chemical properties of matter is crucial for modern chemistry. Fundamental processes to the analysis and understanding of chemical systems, including thermodynamics, equilibria, acid and bases will be covered. Applications of modern electrochemistry, physical chemistry of modern materials and methods for assessing the reliability of results will be described while the laboratory course emphasises the obtaining and understanding of chemical measurements.

Course Overview

Students are required to complete CHEM110, 120, and one of the prescribed courses from Maths, Physics, or Statistics before enrolling in CHEM252.
This course is one of the three compulsory Stage 2 Chemistry courses (CHEM 251,252,253). All three are required for a CHEM major.
This course is included in the following majors and specializations; Green Chemistry and AdvSci Chemistry.

In this course, the focus is placed on developing a deeper understanding of the mathematical basis for measuring the uncertainty and error in an analysis, as well as providing a basis for ensuring that experiments are designed in such a way that reliable conclusions are drawn from the data.  This course also examines the core principles of thermodynamics in depth which allows the development of a thorough understanding as to why a chemical reaction will, or will not, occur.

Further, solution and acid-base chemistry are used to explore the fundamental chemical analysis technique, titration, in order to demonstrate the importance of proton transfer in chemical reactions, whilst an exploration of modern surface chemistry demonstrates the importance of chemistry in modern materials science.

Electrochemistry discusses the foundation for electrochemical cells,  potentiometry, and application of ion-selective electrodes in the measurement of analytes including the impact of interfering species. 

The laboratory program allows students to develop proficiency in modern analytical instrumentation, whilst putting into practice their knowledge of statistical methods of analysis to ensure that their data is reliable.  They will also improve their wet-chemistry techniques, developing skills in measurement and safe handling of glassware and chemicals.

With the completion of CHEM252 students will be able to progress to Stage 3 chemistry courses.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: CHEM 110, 120, and 15 points from MATHS 108, 110, 120, 130, PHYSICS 120, 160, STATS 101, 108 Restriction: CHEM 240

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain the principles of acid-base chemistry, including calculation of relevant factors, such as pH and concentrations, and application in real-world settings. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6)
  2. Understand and be able to discuss the basic principles and practical significance of electrochemistry. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6)
  3. Describe the basic concepts of materials chemistry and its applications in modern technological applications. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  4. Analyse qualitatively and quantitatively, sets of chemical data, taking into account statistical factors, such as error calculations. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  5. Understand and utilise chemical techniques, in particular chemical instrumentation, in a laboratory setting following safe laboratory practises. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  6. Communicate results in various ways including technical report writing and in forms for a non-technical audience. (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignment 5% Group Coursework
Tutorials 5% Individual Coursework
Laboratories 25% Individual Coursework
Quizzes 10% Individual Coursework
Test 15% Individual Test
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Final Exam
 Students must pass both the theory component and the practical component to gain an overall pass. The theory component is composed of the quizzes, the term test, and the final exam. The practical component is composed of pre-labs and laboratory experiments.


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of chemical sciences aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection) and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved.

Tuākana Chemistry runs a range of activities for students enrolled in this class. This includes weekly workshops, social activities, and opportunities to engage with senior students and researchers within the School of Chemical Sciences. Tuākana-eligible students will be added automatically to the Tuākana Chemistry program when they enroll in this course. For more information, please see the Tuākana program website or email

Key Topics

  • Measurement and Uncertainty
  • Acid-Base Chemistry
  • Thermodynamics and Equilibria
  • Electrochemistry
  • Material Chemistry- Colloids and surfaces

Special Requirements

Attendance at the laboratories is a compulsory part of this course. Students must be wearing safety glasses, covered footwear, and a lab coat before entering the laboratory and must keep these on until after exiting the laboratory. Jandals or other open shoes are not satisfactory footwear. Students who wear prescription spectacles are required to wear safety glasses over their spectacles. You must pass both the practical (laboratory) and theory components independently in order to gain an overall pass in this course. 

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15-point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures, a 1-hour tutorial, 3-hour labs, 2 hours of reading and thinking about the content, and 1 hour of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs and tutorials to receive credit for components of the course.

Lectures will be available as recordings.

The course will not include live online events.

Attendance on campus is required for the test/exam.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Lecture notes as pre-readings are available on  Canvas.  

Laboratory manual prelab videos are also available on canvas.

Digitized textbook chapters are available in Reading lists on Canvas.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Submissions for the Group Assignment will be changed.
Only include the presentation ad the annotated bibliography. 
Remove the need for submitting research diary

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 31/10/2022 09:28 a.m.