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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


Knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the course, students should have acquired the knowledge of the physical quantities capable of describing the state of ideal and real systems. They will have to know the principles of thermodynamics and their applications, aimed in particular at understanding and forecasting feasibility, spontaneity and equilibrium of simple physical and chemical transformations.
Ability to apply knowledge and understanding:
The course will provide the student with the theoretical notions necessary for understanding numerous current scientific issues and the rationalization of a wide range of chemical and physical processes. Students should be able to interpret the most basic state diagrams for one and two component systems.
Autonomy of judgment:
The student will have to be able to identify the connections between theory and real systems and make the most appropriate choices to define a physical chemistry exercise / problem and in its resolution.
Communication skills:
The course aims to develop the ability to present a scientific topic in a synthetic and exhaustive way, both in written and oral form. Communication skills will be developed thanks to classroom exercises and to the preparation of written and oral tests.
Learning ability:
The learning ability will be developed following the reasoning illustrated in the lectures and in individual study and during the resolution of exercises and problems, both in collaboration and independently.


The course is recommended for students who have earned at least 30 CFU and have passed at least the exams: Mathematics and General and Inorganic Chemistry. It is required the knowledge of basic mathematics, of fundamental operations - including derivation and integration of simple functions, of the principles of Physics, and of the fundamentals of General and Inorganic Chemistry.


Aims of Physical Chemistry, Thermodynamics and Kinetics.
Main IUPAC recommendations, regarding physical chemistry. Physical quantities and units of measurement.
The aeriforms. The perfect gases. Definition of P, V, T, n. Equation of state of ideal gases and other laws. Gas mixtures and Dalton's law. Real gases and liquefaction. Andrews diagram. Equation of the virial and van der Waals. The critical point. The supercritical fluid. Elements of kinetic theory of gases. Maxwell's distribution curve of molecular velocities.
Basic definitions of thermodynamics: system, environment, universe, internal energy, U; work, w; heat, q.
Principle 0 of Thermodynamics.
Statement of the 1st law of thermodynamics for closed or isolated systems. Definition of enthalpy, H. Extensive and intensive functions, state and path functions and use of the delta symbol, Δ. Thermal capacity at constant pressure and volume. Determination of ΔU and ΔH from measurements of ΔT. Reversible and irreversible processes. Determination of q, w and ΔU in the case of isothermal expansion and adiabatic expansion. Thermochemistry. Standard and reference states. Enthalpies of phase transitions and standard enthalpy of reaction. Illustration of standard enthalpy tables of formation, ionization, electron capture and bonding. Law of Hess. Kirchhoff's law. The Joule-Thomson effect.
The 2nd law of thermodynamics. Definition of entropy, S. Implications of the results concerning the Carnot cycle. Entropy variation associated to isothermal expansion or to temperature variation at constant V or P. Calculation of ΔS for ambient and universe. ΔS in phase transitions. Trouton's rule.
3rd Principle of thermodynamics. Calculation of the entropy value between (0 and T) K. Standard molar entropies and calculation of the standard reaction entropies. Definition of Gibbs energy, G. Calculations of application of thermodynamic relations.
Phase equilibria concerning a pure substance. Molar Gibbs energy and phase stability criteria. Dependence of G on P and T. Typical and atypical state diagrams (P, T). Clapeyron equation. Integrated forms of the Clapeyron equation for the different biphasic equilibria. Calculations. Phase rule.
Binary mixtures. Definition of partial molar volumes and ideality. Definition of chemical potential, μ. Raoult's and Henry's law. Ideal mixtures. Deviations from Raoult's law. Chemical potential of components of a liquid mixture. Real solutions, activity and activity coefficients.
Colligative properties and relative relationships. Calculations.
State diagrams of binary mixtures. Rules for reading phase diagrams. Lever rule. Diagrams (P, x, y) and (T, x, y) representing the liquid-vapor equilibrium of an ideal system. Diagrams (T, x, y) of azeotropic mixtures.
Graphic representation of the liquid-liquid equilibrium. Thermal analysis. Different kind of liquid - solid diagrams.
The chemical equilibrium in the reacting systems. Gibbs energy of reaction. ΔrG and composition. Reaction quotient, Q, and equilibrium constant, K. Standard ΔrG from formation ΔfG°. The equilibrium response to perturbations. Influence of T on K. Calculations of application of the main relationships.
Chemical kinetics. Definition of reaction rate, kinetic laws, kinetic constants and order of reaction. Shock theory, transition state theory. Calculations of application of the main relations.
Catalysis. Homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. The enzymes. The Michaelis-Menten kinetics.
The colloidal state. Lyophilic and lyophobic colloids, surfactants and self-association.

Teaching Methods

The course is divided into 48 h of lectures and 16 h of exercises dedicated to the calculation and resolution of questions. The exercises will be carried out at the conclusion and completion of each topic treated from a theoretical point of view.
The teaching will be delivered simultaneously both in presence and in synchronous telematic mode. Each student, at the beginning of the semester, can opt, with a binding choice, for face-to-face or distance teaching. Depending on the availability of the classrooms and the number of students who will opt for the face-to-face mode, shifts may be provided for effective access to the classroom. The contents and activities of the course will be the same, regardless of the delivery methods.

Verification of learning

Methods of examination:
Students will have to pass, with a score higher than 18/30, first a written test and then an oral exam, in person or electronically. As an alternative to the written test, two written tests can be taken and passed; the first halfway through the course and the second at the end of it. The written tests will mainly focus on the performance of numerical exercises and the interpretation of data and graphics, such as state diagrams. The oral exam will consist of a detailed presentation of some of the topics addressed during the course. Passed written tests will be valid for 12 months. The oral exam can be taken only by students in good standing with the prerequisites; they must have passed the Physics and General and Inorganic Chemistry exams
The evaluation of the exam will take into account, for 50 %, the oral test and for 50 %, the evaluation of the written test (s).
Various aspects will be evaluated during the exam tests.
• Quality of knowledge, skills, competences manifested considering:
a) appropriateness
b) fairness
c) congruence.
• Exhibition mode:
a) expressive ability
b) appropriate use of the specific language of the discipline
c) logical capacity and consequentiality in the connection of contents
e) ability to connect different topics by finding common points or other connecting elements.
f) ability to synthesize also through the use of the symbolism of matter in diagrams, graphs, equations.
• Relational qualities:
a) willingness to exchange and interact with an interlocutor.
• Personal qualities:
a) critical spirit.

Each answer to a particular question / exercise / problem, given in writing or oral form, is evaluated according to the following Docimological Table.
Vote expressed in thirtieths. Evaluation Criterion.
30 Praise The answer is unexceptionable from every point of view.
28 - 30 The answer to the question is direct, conceptually and formally correct, complete and articulated. Where appropriate, mathematical deductions are presented and described. The exhibition is particularly rich and precise and makes use of critical and personal ideas; the property of language and knowledge are appropriate in every single detail. The student is able to make connections between different topics.
25 - 27 The answer to the question is formally correct but the most appropriate methods of resolution have not been adopted. The exposure is clear and fluid; the language property is adequate and the knowledge is good even if not particularly rich in details.
22 - 24 The answer to the question is affected by inaccuracies or errors of distraction. The presentation is clear but affected by hesitations or repetitions; language property is limited but knowledge is adequate even with some uncertainty.
18 - 21 The answer to the question, even if correctly set, is affected by significant errors and inaccuracies. The exposure is unclear; the language property is limited and the knowledge is hardly sufficient. The student is unable to make connections between different topics.
1 - 17 The student commits serious conceptual or development errors. The question is not understood.
0 No response is given


Atkins P., De Paula J. Elements of Physical Chemistry. Zanichelli, Bologna, 2007, 3rd Italian edition,
Atkins P., De Paula J. Physical Chemistry. Zanichelli, Bologna, 2012, 5th Italian edition or subsequent editions.

More Information

Course slides will be provided.

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