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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/76]  BIOTECHNOLOGY [76/10 - Ord. 2018]  Industriale e Ambientale 7 68


In general, the student will achieve skills based on the fundamentals of physical chemistry. Throughout the course the student will acquire the knowledge of the parameters that describe the various aggregation states of the matter, their transformations, the energy exchanges with the environment, particularly those concerning the chemical reactions (spontaneity, equilibrium, kinetics and catalysis).
The student will acquire the theoretical knowledge to characterize and understand the evolution of chemical systems.
The course is focused on developing the knowledge and ability to interpret data in a critical way to frame every argument in its scope, finding the appropriate way for its consideration, or resolution.
The course aims to develop the ability to present in a concise and comprehensive way a scientific subject both in written and oral form.
The concepts and knowledge learned by the students will give them the ability to understand the behaviour of real systems and of emerging scientific issues, and the curiosity to explore these subjects by individual study on specialized texts and scientific papers.


It is strongly recommended that the examinations of chimica generale and chimica organica are both passed


- Aggregation states of matter
- Laws of perfect gases (Boyle, Charles, Avogadro). Equation of state. Gas mixtures. Kinetic theory of gases and speed (hints). Energy and force. Intermolecular forces. Van der Waals equation.
- The liquid state. Intermolecular forces accountable for the state of cohesion. Viscosity and surface tension.
- The solid state. Crystalline and amorphous solids. Concepts of isotropy and anisotropy. The colloidal state. Dispersed systems. Aggregation states intermediate between solid and liquid. Phase transitions.
- First law of thermodynamics. Energy storage. Work and energy. Reversible and irreversible processes. Internal energy. Heat capacity. Enthalpy in chemical reactions and phase transitions.
- Second law of thermodynamics. Entropy. Spontaneous transformations. Free energy of formation of compounds and of reaction. The equilibrium condition.
- Chemical kinetics. Reaction rate. Reaction order. First- and second-order reaction. Arrhenius equation. Activated complex theory: potential energy/reaction coordinate diagram.
- Catalysis. Adsorption phenomena. Catalysts. Homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. Enzymatic catalysis.
- Ethanol viscosity determination at various temperatures through the Ostwald viscometer and verification of the Arrhenius equation.
- Kinetics of the persulfate-iodide reaction. Determination of the partial reaction orders.
- Determination of the rate constant k and of the Arrhenius parameters A and Ea of the saponification reaction of the ethyl acetate through conductivity studies.
- Determination of the critical micelle concentration of the sodium dodecylsulfate surfactant through conductivity studies.

Teaching Methods

The course is subdivided in 32 hours of lecture and 36 hours of laboratory. The adopted teaching methods will allow students to acquire skills in the logical and methodological approach to study and gain knowledge.
The course, through the use of on going written tests based on multiple choice questions (in case, open answer questions), aims to make students acquire the ability of identifying the logical aspects and evaluate the errors. Exercises, done according the cooperative learning method before each intermediate test, will allow students to acquire the ability of clarifying doubts and then develop deductive abilities. The teaching will be delivered simultaneously both in presence and online, thus outlining a mixed teaching that can be enjoyed in university classrooms but also at a distance.

Verification of learning

The final exam of the Physical Chemistry course is based on the overall evaluation of the intermediate verification tests (questions and numerical exercises) and eventually an oral examination on the topics covered during the course.
The knowledge of the topics of the course, the ability to link between different topics, the expressive capacity, the use of appropriate terminology, the ability to synthesize, will be evaluated.

Final judgement
The final grade takes into account several factors:
Quality of the knowledge, skills, competences:
a) appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of knowledge
b) appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of abilities
c) appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of ability to apply knowledge and understanding

Communication skills:
a) Ability of expression;
b) Proper use of the specific language of the discipline;
c) Logical skills and inherent consequentiality in communicating;
d) Ability to connect different subjects by finding the common points and establish a consistent overall design, i.e. taking care of structure, organization and logical connections of speech;
f) Ability to summarize also through the use of specific symbolism of each discipline and graphic expression of ideas and concepts, for example in form of formulas, schemes, equations.

Relational qualities:
Availability to exchange and interact with the teacher during the interview.

Personal qualities:
a) critical thinking;
b) ability of self-evaluation.

Consequently, the judgment can be:

a) Sufficient (from 18 to 20/30)
The candidate demonstrates little acquisition of theoretical knowledge, superficial level, many gaps. Modest communicative abilities, but still sufficient to support a coherent dialogue, logical capacity and consequentiality in fitting the subjects of elementary level; poor capacity of synthesis and rather stunted ability of graphical expression, scanty interaction with the teacher during the interview.

b) Moderate (21 to 23)
The applicant demonstrates a moderate acquisition of knowledge but lack of expatiation, a few gaps; communicative abilities more than sufficient to support a coherent dialogue; acceptable mastery of the scientific language, logical capacity and consequentiality in fitting the subjects of moderate complexity, good enough capacity of synthesis and acceptable ability of graphical expression.

c) Good (24 to 26)
The candidate demonstrates a rather large wealth of knowledge, moderate in-depth, with small gaps; satisfactory mastery of the communicative abilities and meaningful scientific language; dialogical ability and critical thinking well detectable, good capacity of synthesis and more than acceptable ability of graphical expression.

d) Outstanding (27 to 29)
The candidate demonstrates a very extensive wealth of notions, high in-depth, with marginal gaps; remarkable ability in communicating and high mastery of scientific language; remarkable dialogical capacity, good competence and relevant aptitude for logical synthesis, high capacity of synthesis and graphical expression.

e) Excellent (30)
The candidate demonstrates a wealth of very extensive and in-depth knowledge, irrelevant gaps, high capacity and high mastery in communicating through the scientific language; excellent dialogical ability and marked aptitude to make connections among different subjects, excellent ability to synthesize and very familiar with the graphical expression.

The praise is attributed to the candidates clearly above average, and whose notional, expressive, conceptual, logical limits, if any, as a whole are completely irrelevant.


P. W. Atkins “Elementi di Chimica Fisica” , Ed. Zanichelli

More Information

Slides of the course and the professor’s lecture notes will be given to the students.

Questionnaire and social

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