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CODE 72478
SEMESTER 2° Semester


The module presents the chemical thermodynamics relating to ideal open systems and/or systems with variable composition, i.e. describable not only by the physical variables, pressure and temperature, but also by composition variables.




The module proposes itself to provide to the students the basics and the operational tools of thermodynamics for the calculation of the volumetric properties and of physical and chemical equilibrium conditions in ideal open systems or with variable composition.


The attendance and active participation in the proposed training activities (frontal lessons, exercises and numerical exercises) and individual study will allow the student to:

know the foundations of thermodynamics of ideal open systems;

understand the basic physics mechanisms of distillation;

provide examples of the application of chemical thermodynamics to current life and process engineering;

estimate the volumetric properties in systems with multiple components;

quantitatively determine the phase and reaction equilibrium conditions as a function of temperature, pressure and composition;

evaluate the vertical and horizontal sizing parameters of a plate distillation column;

critically discuss the working hypotheses formulated using the appropriate lexicon;

manage their social interactions with a collaborative attitude, constructive communication, in different environments, demonstrate decision-making autonomy, collaborative attitude, negotiation skills, uncertainty management.



For a successful learning, basic knowledge of mathematics, chemistry and physics is required, but no formal propaedeuticity is provided.


The module traditionally includes frontal lectures in the classroom. The presentation of theoretical contents (35 hours) are alternate by exercises (25 hours, that include exercises and numerical exercises) aimed at encouraging learning and the discussion of specific examples of process engineering applications. 

Transversal skills in terms of independent judgment will be acquired through the performance of the numerical exercises to be carried out with the use of commercial and open source software and the use of ICT tools and the communication skills will be encouraged with the proposal to create an application video or podcast about the chemical thermodynamics to be evaluated during the examination.

As part of the innovation learning project adopted by the Bachelor Degree Course in Chemical and Process Engineering, novel tools will be used for the active learning of students. The goal is to increase students' skills via interactive, experience-based, learning methodologies (e-learning, teamwork, etc.) for enhanced student participation, using an advanced level of communication that makes the student more aware and autonomous.

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 Federico Scarpa (  ), the Polytechnic School's disability liaison.


The program of the module includes the presentation and discussion of the following topics: 

The thermodynamic foundations in closed or constant composition systems (10 hours): Zero, first and second principles of thermodynamics: recalls and consequences of their formulation. Equilibrium in terms of extensive properties. Calculation of thermodynamic potentials.

Extension to open systems (25 hours): The chemical potential. Equilibrium in terms of intensive properties: phase and reaction equilibrium. Molar and partial molar quantities and their properties. Gibbs Duhem equation. Mixing quantities. Variance according to Gibbs and Duhem. Denbigh ideal models of the chemical potential.

Equilibrium condition calculations (15 hours): L/V Phase equilibrium for pure component, the Clausius-Clapeyron equation and the calculation of the vapor pressure. L/V Phase equilibrium  for pure and inert component. L/V phase equilibrium for binary mixtures: Raoult and Henry laws. Mention to L/S and L/S/V equilibrium. Lowering of the freezing point and raising of the boiling point. Reaction equilibrium and the Van’t Hoff’s law. Mentions of kinetic and thermodynamic constraints to the kinetic equations.

Application of distillation (10 hours): Ideal binary isothermal flash. Ideal multicomponent isothermal flash. Differential distillation. Distillation in a column with plates: vertical and horizontal sizing.


The teaching material the educational material used during the lessons will be available in the web classroom, as well as the examples of final tests proposed in the previous years with the related solutions. The notes taken during the lessons and the material in web classroom are sufficient for the preparation of the exam, but the following books are suggested as supporting and deepening texts.

-K. Denbigh, “I principi dell’equilibrio chimico ”, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano 1977

-M. Dente, E. Ranzi, “Principi di Ingegneria Chimica”, Città Studi Edizioni, Torino 1998 

-R.H. Perry, D.W. Green, “Perry’s chimica engineers’ handbook” VII ed., Mc Graw Hill 20008

-B.Poling, J.M. Prausnitz, J.P. O’Connell, “The properties of gases and liquids” V ed., Mc Graw Hill, New York 2000




Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The final test of the module consists in passing a written test for admission to the oral test. The written test consists of a test composed of 6 multiple choice problems, which must be solved with an extended numerical discussion for admission to the oral test. Each problem can be graded at most 5 points based on the correctness and completeness of the answer. The student has 2 hours of time and the necessary data are provided in the exam text. Technical manuals are made available by the teacher, while the use of any personal consultation material is not allowed. Students will find examples of tests proposed in previous years with the related solutions on the web classroom and some of which, at the request of the students, are carried out in detail in class. The written test can be held either in previous appeals or in the same appeal in which student intends to take the oral exam. The written test has no expiry limits, it can be repeated, but in this way  the grade which is considered valid is the one obtained on the last written exam. The oral exam can be repeated while retaining the written test score.

To access the oral exam students must have passed the written test with a minimum grade of 16/30 and the final grade will be the average between written and oral exam.

During the examination the optional implementation of an application video or podcast on chemical thermodynamics will be also evaluated (1 point extra on the final average of the module).

Three exam appeals for the ‘winter’ session will be available (January, February and only oral exam during the teaching break provided by the Polytechnic School in Easter) and four appeals for the ‘summer’ session (June, July, September and only oral exam during the autumn break provided by the Polytechnic School).

No extraordinary appeals will be granted outside the periods indicated by the Polytechnic school, with the exception of students who have not included formative activities in the study plan in the current academic year.


The details on how to prepare the exam and on the degree of deepening of each topic will be given during the lessons. The written test concerns 6 exercises and application calculations on the topics indicated below. There will be a test on each of the following four topics: variance, phase equilibrium, reaction equilibrium and distillation; and the other two tests may concern other arguments as for example the equation of ideal gases, the principles of thermodynamics and the partial molar quantities. The oral exam includes questions concerning mainly the application to the process of the topics of chemical thermodynamics in ideal systems presented in class. A further question will be on the basic principles of distillation. The examination aims to assess the ability to apply the theoretical bases of the module to general or specific cases of technological interest and to critically analyze the problems. The quality of the exposition, the correct use of technical terminology and critical reasoning ability will also be assessed.


Working students and students with DSA, disability or other special educational needs certification are advised to contact the teacher at the beginning of the course to agree on teaching and exam methods that, in compliance with the teaching objectives, take into account individual learning opportunities and provide suitable compensatory tools.

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Quality education
Quality education
Gender equality
Gender equality


 PRO3 - Soft skills - Sociale base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Sociale base 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Gestione progettuale base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Gestione progettuale base 1 - A