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CODE 110734
SEMESTER 1° Semester


Physical Chemistry is the branch of chemistry that defines and develops its principles using the underlying concepts of physics and the language of mathematics. It studies the fundamental elements of thermodynamics applied to chemical systems, the concept of energy associated with chemical reactions, and allows the determination of thermodynamic quantities associated with phase transformations and chemical reactions through the use of suitable instrumentation.



Knowledge and understanding of the fundamental concepts and elements of thermodynamics applied to chemical systems. Development of critical judgment and learning ability with particular reference to understand the concept of energy associated with chemical reactions. Development of the ability to determine thermodynamic quantities associated with phase transformations and chemical reactions through the use of suitable instrumentation.


The aim of teaching Physical Chemistry is to provide the fundamental concepts of thermodynamics applied to chemical systems such as heat and energy associated with phase transformations and chemical reactions. The concept of chemical equilibrium is considered as a function of the environmental variables (typically pressure and temperature) for which the student will be able to evaluate the energetically most favourable conditions to predict how to advance (or quench when appropriate) a reaction. The student will acquire the ability to solve problems on the teaching contents, identifying the chemical and physical parameters of reference and elaborating an adequate schematization of the considered process.

The laboratory activities will allow the student to acquire the ability to correctly use laboratory instruments (in compliance with current safety standards) and to elaborate experimental results by correctly estimating the typical measurement errors.


In order to effectively deal with the teaching contents, correctly carry out the exercises proposed in the classroom and the laboratory exercises, the following basic knowledge is necessary: Real functions of one or two real variables, with differential and integral calculus; Introduction to the concept of measurement, measurement error and error propagation; The concept of interpolation and extrapolation of a function; The atomic structure of matter, elements and periodic system, chemical bond, chemical nomenclature; The states of aggregation of matter and their characteristics.


The teaching consists of in person lessons, for a total of 48 hours, and a practical laboratory part of 13 hours. Attendance at laboratories is compulsory, as per the Educational Regulations. The laboratory will be held by the teaching staff, assisted by laboratory tutors. At the beginning of each laboratory activity there is a brief theoretical introduction with the aim of providing the basic principles on which the instrumental methodologies that will be used are based. In the practical part, the students, divided into groups of two or three and with the support of teachers and tutors, will have to apply the experimental protocol provided and the methods described. At the end of each activity, students will have to present a brief report with the results obtained from the experimental activity.


The teaching program includes the presentation and discussion of the following topics: Generalities and thermodynamic nomenclature; Properties of gases; Concepts of Work, Heat and Energy; Concept of Thermal Capacity; First Law of Thermodynamics and its application to Thermochemistry; Born-Haber cycle; Second Law of Thermodynamics; Calculation of the Gibbs Free Energy, Gibbs-Helmoltz Equation, Vant'Hoff Equation, Chemical potential; Third Law of Thermodynamics and the concept of Entropy from a Statistical Thermodynamics point of view; Phase transformations of pure substances and the Clausius-Clapeyron equation; Phase equilibria and Gibbs' phase rule; Thermodynamics of Mixtures, Ideal Solutions and Real Solutions, Colligative Properties; Basic elements of crystallography.

The laboratory activities will focus on: Methods of measuring temperature and pressure; Determining the combustion heat of a substance; Determining the vaporization heat of a liquid; Determining the neutralization heat; Determining phase transformations in a binary alloy and of the consolve temperature; Determining the heat capacity of a metal.


The lecture notes showed during the lessons will be available in Aulaweb. 

The reference text are the following:

P. W. Atkins e J. De Paula – CHIMICA FISICA – Zanichelli (varie edizioni)

T. Engel e P. Reid - CHIMICA FISICA - Piccin (varie edizioni)




To start lessons, consult the study manifesto available at the following link

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The exam consists of an oral test in which the understanding of the teaching topics is verified. The student accesses the oral after having delivered the reports of the laboratory experience, drawn up collectively by the members of the group, and having carried out a short seminar in the classroom on a topic chosen from among the topics of the practical activities carried out.


Students who have valid certification of physical or learning disabilities on file with the University and who wish to discuss possible accommodations or other circumstances regarding lectures, coursework and exams, should speak both with the instructor and with Professor Sergio Di Domizio (, the Department’s disability liaison.


The assessment of the understanding of the topics covered and of the student's preparation for passing the exam takes place through the student's participation in the numerical exercises carried out in the classroom, the active and autonomous participation in the laboratory exercises, the drafting of the reports on the laboratory exercises , an oral test carried out partly in seminar form on a topic proposed by the teacher and partly in the traditional form on specific questions relating to the program of the theoretical part.

The oral exam will mainly focus on the topics covered during the frontal lessons and will aim to evaluate not only if the student has reached an adequate level of knowledge, but if he/she has acquired the ability to critically analyze a thermodynamics problem such as those that have been proposed during the frontal lessons.

The laboratory reports are evaluated to verify the effective acquisition of practical skills and the ability to critically elaborate the results obtained. The in-depth seminar allows to verify the autonomy of the individual student in carrying out a topic of his/her choice, the ability to organize and present a topic in public, the ability to connect and integrate the knowledge learned during the laboratory activities with those provided during the frontal lessons.


The lessons are held in person and there are no alternative online methods.

If it will be necessary to proceed with distance learning due to emergencies, all activities, in particular laboratory exercises, will be remodulated.