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CODE 108374
SEMESTER 1° Semester


The course aims to provide the basic knowledge necessary for understanding the main applications of applied physics in the design of recreational boating. After an introduction to the principles of thermodynamics in energy systems, particular emphasis is placed on the study of heat transfer and the main issues related to thermal and humidity comfort as well as environmental conditioning.



The purpose of the course is to train individuals capable of analyzing and solving simple problems in various fields of applied physics while simultaneously developing proficiency in the appropriate technical and scientific language.


Educational objectives

Through the course contents, the student is able to analyze and solve simple problems in different fields of applied physics: applied thermodynamics, heat transfer, environmental comfort and air conditioning, with particular reference to applications relating to pleasure boats.

The lessons and activities are aimed simultaneously at

  • encourage the acquisition of critical knowledge of the proposed themes or case studies and related physical phenomena;
  • support the student in the acquisition of an adequate technical-scientific language, as an indispensable tool both for understanding technical documentation and for dialogue with the various players in the ship design and construction process.

In particular, the activities carried out according to the TBL (Team Based Learning) method have as their specific objective the acquisition of the following transversal skills, achievable at a basic and/or advanced level:

  • ability to communicate effectively in written and oral form, using sources and aids of various kinds, ability to use, process and evaluate information, argumentative skills.
  • ability to identify one's own skills, concentration and critical reflection on a task, complexity management, autonomy in decision-making and task execution, seeking support if necessary;
  • ability to manage one's social interactions, collaborative attitude, constructive communication, and the ability to respect others and their needs, willingness to overcome prejudices, express and understand different points of view;
  • awareness of one's learning strategies, organization and evaluation of personal learning, ability to identify and pursue learning objectives.


Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students will have to

  • remember the main thermophysical quantities/properties with the relative units of measure,
  • be able to accurately identify the physical meaning of the terms that make up the mathematical expressions of the relationships/physical laws, with particular attention to dimensional analysis,
  • be able to correctly interpret a proposed text, knowing how to discuss the proposed application or case study,
  • be able to solve simple numerical problems,
  • have a clear awareness of the physical phenomena treated and the related technical implications,
  • have acquired an adequate technical-scientific language, which tends not to leave ambiguities in the interpretation.

In addition, as a desirable more advanced result, students will also acquire an awareness of the subject to be able to

  • analyze more complex problems related to physical-applied applications in the nautical sector,
  • study articulated design solutions relating to thermohygrometric comfort and air conditioning systems in pleasure boats.


To effectively approach the content of the course, the following basic mathematical knowledge is necessary:

  • Calculation of areas and volumes of simple geometries.
  • Calculation of percentages, percentage change between two values, percentage increase/decrease.
  • Study of functions: linear, absolute value, parabola, hyperbola, logarithm, exponential, trigonometric functions (sine, cosine, tangent, and their inverse functions).
  • Solving equations of the first and second degree, equations with logarithms and trigonometric functions.
  • Solving simple inequalities.

Furthermore, for a critical understanding of the treated physical phenomena, mastery of the following concepts from mathematical analysis is desirable:

  • Meaning of taking a limit.
  • Differential calculus in a real variable: geometric interpretation of derivative and integral concepts, calculation of derivatives and antiderivatives of simple functions.
  • Ordinary differential equations with separable variables of the first and second order.

To tackle the resolution of simple numerical problems, adequate familiarity with the use of a scientific calculator is also necessary.


The course is carried out in Italian using a traditional teaching method based on lectures and guided numerical exercises.

At the same time, optional teaching activities are proposed according to the TBL (Team Based Learning) method, a teaching strategy based on independent study and collaborative learning. The method requires that individual and group activities be carried out in the classroom aimed at applying and verifying the knowledge acquired: generally both multiple choice test with immediate feedback, to be solved individually or in groups, and practical problems to be analyzed and numerically solved, are also administered. These activities are intended to encourage learning through team discussion. The teacher stimulates and moderates the discussion, resuming and specifying the different contents according to the critical issues that emerged.
For group activities the class is divided into teams defined by the teacher. All individual and group activities are subject to evaluation.


General knowledge of mechanical quantities and their relative units is an essential prerequisite to the study of physical phenomena: in fact, they are recalled in the introductory part of the course.
Then, the course addresses the main topics of technical thermodynamics, hinting at the analysis of thermodynamic systems and energy transfer that characterize them.
Afterwards the course deals with Following is the study of the main heat transfer mechanisms: conduction, convection and thermal radiation. Finally, the basics of thermohygrometry are introduced, aimed at analyzing the conditions of environmental comfort and preliminary to the study of air conditioning systems. In relation to the latter, a brief mention is made of some applications in the nautical sector.


Detailed program


Units of measure, scalar and vector quantities.
Kinematics: displacement, velocity, acceleration. Uniform and uniformly accelerated rectilinear motions. Uniform circular motion.
Fundamental laws of dynamics. Centripetal force, gravitational force, friction force, elastic force.
Work, kinetic energy theorem, power. Conservative and non-conservative forces, potential energy, conservation of mechanical energy law.


Pressure, Stevin's law, Pascal's law, Archimedes' law, Torricelli's experience, differential pressure gauges.


Thermodynamic systems, state variables, thermodynamic transformations.
Operational definition of temperature. Absolute temperature scale. Perfect gases.
Mechanical work. Operational definition of heat.
First law of thermodynamics for closed systems.
Conservation of energy and mass. Continuity equation. First law of thermodynamics for open systems.
Internal energy, enthalpy, specific heat of incompressible substances.
Internal energy, enthalpy, specific heat at pressure and constant volume of perfect gases.
Energy equation in mechanical terms. Bernoulli's equation. Distributed head losses. Concentrated head losses. Prevalence of an engine. Converging and diverging channels. Pump and turbine efficiency, closed circuit.
Pure substances: state diagrams, vapour quality, latent phase transition heat.


Generalities and second law of thermodynamics (outline).
Thermal conduction: Fourier's law, thermal conductivity, conduction across a plane wall and a cylindrical surface, conductive thermal resistance, thermal resistances in series and parallel. Flat multi-layered walls and complex walls.
Thermal convection: generalities, Newton's law, forced and natural convection.
Thermal radiation: electromagnetic waves, black body, Planck’s and Wien’s laws, emissivity, gray body, absorption, reflection and transmission factors, Kirchhoff's law, selective surfaces, view factor, heat transfer between black and gray surfaces.
Combined heat transfer mechanisms: surface resistances, flat multi-layer walls. Transmittance of flat multilayer and complex walls.


Psychrometry: generalities. Thermohygrometric quantities: specific, absolute and relative humidity, specific volume, enthalpy of humid air, dew point temperature, adiabatic saturation temperature. Psychrometric chart, relative humidity measurement.
Thermohygrometric comfort. The thermoregulatory system of the human body. The thermal balance of the human body. Overall comfort indices. Local discomfort indices (outline).
Humid air transformations: adiabatic mixing, sensible heating, sensible cooling and cooling with dehumidification, adiabatic humidification.
Classification of air conditioning systems. Mass and energy balance of an air-conditioned environment. Heating system: dispersions for ventilation and transmission, sizing and calculation parameters.


Bergero S., Chiari A., Appunti di termodinamica, Aracne editrice, 2007.
Bergero S., Chiari A., Appunti di trasmissione del calore, Aracne editrice, 2012.
Bergero S., Chiari A., Appunti di termoigrometria e impianti, Aracne editrice, 2015.
Bergero S., Cavalletti A., Chiari A., Problemi di Fisica Tecnica, Dario Flaccovio, 2023.

All books are available in the library; they can be easily purchased on the main websites and are also available in electronic format.

In the AulaWeb of the course, additional teaching materials are made available to students, including handouts for the topics "General physics recalls", the complete reference bibliography, proposed and solved exercises, texts of past exams.




The course is in the first semester, in agreement with the academic calendar.

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The final exam consists of a written test and an oral test.
The written test focuses on the numerical resolution of problems relating to the main topics of the course. The oral exam is aimed at ascertaining the theoretical knowledge of the same issues and above all the critical understanding of the problems addressed.

In the official calendar only the dates of the written tests are shown.
The date of the oral test is communicated at the end of the written test and, generally, it takes place in the week which follows the one of the written test.

Access to the oral test is allowed after passing the written test.
If the oral exam is not passed, the written exam is no longer considered valid.

During the written test, only the use of the calculator, the tables and the form provided by the teacher is allowed. The use of other notes or books is not allowed.


For all tests, the assessment method takes into account what is specified in the learning outcomes.

Evaluation of the final exam

The final test consists of a written test and an oral test: the latter is accessible only to students who have successfully passed the written test.
The score obtained in the written test does not affect the final score but defines only the exceeding or not of the threshold established for the passage to the oral test. The written test is passed with a score of ≥5.5 / 10 or ≥4.5 / 8.
The final mark of the exam, expressed in thirtieths, is established exclusively on the basis of the evaluation of the oral exam.
In fact, the final exam must be considered as a single activity: if the oral exam is not passed, the written exam will no longer be considered valid.

Evaluation of optional TBL activities

The evaluations of the optional individual and group TBL activities carried out on an ongoing basis may contribute to the achievement of an open badge for transversal skills (


All information about the course (reception hours for students, teacher communications, educational materials, etc.) are available and constantly updated on AulaWeb.


 PRO3 - Soft skills - Sociale avanzato 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Sociale avanzato 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Imparare a imparare base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Imparare a imparare base 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Imparare a imparare avanzato 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Imparare a imparare avanzato 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Sociale base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Sociale base 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Personale avanzato 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Personale avanzato 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Personale base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Personale base 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica avanzato 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica avanzato 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica base 1 - A