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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/76]  BIOTECHNOLOGY [76/20 - Ord. 2018]  Farmaceutico 6 56


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 general chemistry, physics, and maths have all been passed


1. Introduction: Physical Chemistry of biological systems
2. The fundamentals: The states of matter, The physical state, force, energy, pressure, temperature, equations of state.

Biochemical thermodynamics
3. The first law, conservation of energy, thermodynamic system and the environment, work and heat, energy conversion in living systems, measurement work and heat internal energy, enthalpy, variation of enthalpy with temperature, enthalpy of state transitions, bond enthalpy, Hess's law, standard training enthalpy. The second law, entropy, spontaneous transformations, entropy and the second law. Gibbs energy. Classical thermodynamics applied to chemical and biological systems. Numerical examples.
4. Balance in a chemical reaction. Equilibrium conditions in a chemical reaction. Gibbs energy and equilibrium constant. Endergonic and exergonic reactions. Dependence of the equilibrium constant on temperature, van't Hoffs equation. Coupled biochemical reactions.
5. Chemical kinetics. Reaction rate, kinetic constant, partial and global reaction order. 1st order and 2nd order kinetics. Half-life. Arrhenius equation, dependence of the kinetic constant on temperature. Molecular collision theory, frequency factor and activation energy, transition state theory.
6. Catalysis, catalysts and activation energy. Homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. Enzymatic catalysis, Micahelis-Menten equation, kinetic parameters (KM and VMAX), Lineweaver-Burk plot.
7. Colloidal systems. Surface tension, hydrophobic interactions. Structure and classification of surfactants. Micelle formation.
8. Elements of conductivity, 2nd Ohm's law, conductivity, specific conductivity, cell constant.

Laboratory experiences:
- Calorimetric determination of the thermal/electrical equivalent.
- Conductometric determination of the rate constant k and of the Arrhenius parameters A and Ea of the basic hydrolysis of ethyl acetate.
-Conductometric determination of the critical micellar concentration of sodium dodecyl sulfate and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide surfactants.
- Dependence of the equilibrium constant of a weak acid by the temperature.

Teaching Methods

The course is subdivided in 32 hours of lecture, 8 hours of numerical exercises and 16 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.

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.

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