SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHF125907
Module Leader Kaitlin Ramsay
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Chemical Science
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

M3F121840 Organic Chemistry 2 M3F121844 Environmental Chemistry and Chemical Hazards M3F124481 Instrumental Analytical Chemistry M3F424479 Forensic Analysis

Summary of Content

The student will gain knowledge and understanding of the processes of risk assessment (prior to) and incident investigation (subsequent to) major incidents and vehicle accidents . The student will gain a fundamental knowledge and understanding of materials and materials failures as well as non-destructive techniques. Case studies of major incidents that have occurred will form the basis of two independent courseworks underpinned by an understanding of research methods. Major incidents involving malicious intent, for example explosions and arson, will be studied and the experimental techniques for investigating such incidents will be applied in appropriate laboratory exercises.


Risk assessment hazards, risk and risk evaluation. Incident investigation; safety, security of the scene, preserving the chain of evidence, witness statements, recording and reporting. Engineering Failure. Materials failures and defects including ageing, fracture, fatigue, corrosion and wear of materials. Inspection and non-destructive testing. The application of chemistry and materials to the understanding of major incidents and engineering failure through examples and case studies of real incidents and failures. Traffic accidents and collisions. The application of chemistry and materials to the understanding traffic accidents and collisions through examples . Fires and Arson. The chemistry of combustion and fire; ignition of gases, vapours, solids and dusts. Hazards arising from combustion and fire; the development of fire in unconfined and confined cases; self-heating and thermal runaway. Explosions and shock waves, damage potential; progress from combustion to explosion; explosives and explosive mixtures, dust explosions; detection and fighting of fire. Case studies of fires and explosions. Detection, identification and analysis of accelerants. Explosives Introduction to common types. Characteristics of explosive substances. Detection of explosives.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module the student should be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of:-1 The application of chemistry and materials to investigate materials failures (including practical work);2 The application of chemistry and materials to investigate major incidents; engineering failure and traffic accidents;3 The use of risk assessment and incident investigation techniques;4 Real incidents through case study examples of major incidents and failures;5 Fires and explosions, their causes, propagation properties and the damage caused by them;6 The detection methods for malicious incidents (including practical work on the detection of accelerants)

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will be taught by a series of lectures reinforced by practical work and seminars. Students will be supported by the managed learning environment GCULearn. Where appropriate there will be group working activities. Case studies will be used to develop the ability to apply knowledge. This module will be taught by an integrated package of lectures reinforced by practical work and seminars. Students will study and solve real world analytical problems encouraging divergent thinking and broader, deeper learning. Students will take part in practical laboratory work which will enhance data acquisition and manipulation skills, individual and group working skills, technical report writing skills and communication skills in general. Use of state of the art equipment will enhance their employability. Through the use of the managed learning environment GCU Learn, students will become more engaged, flexible and independent in their learning as there will be a wide range of learning resources available on line. In addition to the core module content, links to relevant external application notes and videos from sources around the world will be made available. Students will receive individualised feedback on their performance through one-to-one contact with tutors at seminars and through the timely return of marked coursework, which will reinforce the students' learning.

Indicative Reading

1 2 Inorganic Materials Chemistry Mark T Weller Oxford Chemistry Primers 23 Jan.1995 Oxford University Press.ISBN:978-0-19-855798-2 3 Materials Science and Engineering, William D Callister, John Wiley & Sons; 8th Edition 2010, ISBN-10: 0470505869 3 The Chemistry of Explosives Jacqueline Akhavan 2nd edition 2004 Royal Society of Chemistry ISBN:978-1-84755-202-0 4 Flame & Combustion, J F Griffiths & J A Barnard, 3rd edition, Chapman & Hall 1995, ISBN 0751401994.

Transferrable Skills

The student will develop skills in risk assessment, incident investigation and the application of scientific knowledge to real incidents.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 8.00
Lectures (FT) 20.00
Assessment (FT) 3.00
Independent Learning (FT) 159.00
Seminars (FT) 10.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 60.00 n/a Case Study Learning Outcomes 2, 3 & 4
Coursework 1 n/a 40.00 n/a Portfolio Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 5 & 6