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Subject: PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY I (A.A. 2024/2025)

degree course in CHEMISTRY

Course year 2
CFU 15
Teaching units Unit Chimica fisica I
Inorganic Chemistry and Physics (lesson)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: CHIM/02 CFU: 9
Inorganic Chemistry and Physics (exercise)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: CHIM/02 CFU: 2
Inorganic Chemistry and Physics (laboratory)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: CHIM/02 CFU: 4
Teachers: Marco BORSARI, Alfonso PEDONE, Giovannimaria PICCINI
Exam type oral
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language Italiano
Contents download pdf download


Giovannimaria PICCINI
Alfonso PEDONE


The main objective of the course is to present to the student of the second year the principles of classical and statistical thermodynamics and chemical kinetics and consolidate this knowledge in various fields of chemistry of life and materials, laying a solid background for subsequent courses characterizing the chemistry degree.
The theoretical treatment of the different arguments will be constantly accompanied by numerical exercises and laboratory applications in order to make clear the relationship between the observable measured experimentally and theoretical models that allow their interpretation.
During the course the student will acquire the language of chemical physics and acquire the ability to solve problems in a variety of chemical and physical relevant scientific technological areas through the application of the basic concepts of thermodynamics and chemical kinetics.
After completing the course, the student will know the principles that govern thermodynamic energy exchanges between chemical and physical systems, conversion between different forms of energy, the chemical and physical equilibrium in multi-component systems and stages. You will be able to collect scientific data by using techniques and methodologies of chemical-physical, obtaining molecular properties from calorimetric and electrochemical data.

Admission requirements

Basic knowledge of General Chemistry, Mathmetics 1 and 2, Physics 1.

Course contents

Recalls of differential and integral calculus. (2 hours)
Properties of Ideal Gas. (4 hours)
Kinetics theory of gases. (3 hours)
The Real gases. (3 hours)
The first law of thermodynamics. (5 hours)
Thermochemistry. (5 hours)
The second law of thermodynamics. (5 hours)
Gibbs and Helmholtz free energies and their applications. (7 hours)
Physical transformations of pure substances. (6 hours)
Mixtures of non-electrolytes. (6 hours)
Colligative properties. (3 hours)
Mixtures of electrolytes. (6 hours)
Chemical equilibrium. (6 hours)
Electrochemical equilibrium. (5 hours)
Statistical thermodynamics. (6 hours)
Chemical kinetics (10 hours)
Laboratory experiments.
-Determination of the pK of a weak acid through spectrophotometric measurements
-Determination of the pK of a weak acid through conductometric measurements
-determination of the enthalpy of deprotonation of a weak acid through pH-metric measurements at different temperatures
-determination of E° for the couple Cu2+/Cu°
-determination of entropy and entalpy changes of the reduction of Cu2+ to Cu°
-determination of the heat molar capacity of water
-determination of the formation enthalpy of water
-phase diagram of the binary system Pb/Sn
-kinetics of the hydrolysis of the ethyl acetate by conductometric measurements
-kinetics of acid hydrolysis of sucrose by polarimetric measures

Numerical exercises on the properties of gases, first and second law of thermodynamics, calorimetry, physical transformations of substances, phase diagrams, chemical reactions, chemical balances, yield of a chemical reaction and chemical kinetics. (20 hours)

Teaching methods

Lectures and numerical exercises and laboratory involving the active participation of students.

Assessment methods

The final exam is based on the i) evaluation of laboratory reports; ii) on the performance of a written exam, iii) on an intermediate oral test that focuses on the part of the program related to chemical kinetics and iv) on a final oral exam that focuses on the topics covered during the theoretical lessons. The written test consists in the resolution of 3 exercises on the topics of chemical thermodynamics treated in class. The duration of the test is 4 hours. During the test the student will be able to consult lecture notes and textbooks. The intermediate oral test generally consists of 3 questions on topics of chemical kinetics and catalysis. The final oral exam generally consists of three questions: one relating to the general part of classical thermodynamics; one relating to the applications of chemical thermodynamics; and finally to a question related to the introduction to quantum mechanics. The laboratory reports will be evaluated with a suitability according to organization criteria, language and synthesis skills, understanding of the final objective that the proposed experience aims for, correct execution of the experience and ability to describe and interpret the results. Both the written test and the two oral tests will be evaluated with a score of thirty, with possible praise. In the attribution of the test scores the level of theoretical knowledge acquired (50%), the ability to apply the acquired knowledge (30%), autonomy of judgment (10%) and communication skills (10%) will be evaluated. Each skill will be evaluated from time to time on topics or blocks of different topics. The final score of the exam will be a weighted average of the scores obtained in the written test and in the two oral tests. The written test and the intermediate oral test will weigh 25% while the final oral test will weigh for the remaining 50%.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
Through lectures in class, numerical exercises, laboratory experiences and group discussions, the student will learns:
- the application of thermodynamics and chemical kinetics in physical and chemical processes;
- a method that allows the use of an experiment designed for the solution of chemical problems; and it includes
How to process chemical-physical models to be applied to chemical problems;
-which are the variables that determine and control the physical and chemical processes;
- How to use thermodynamics and chemical kinetics in the study of chemical phenomena.

Applying knowledge and understanding
Through discussions and exercises in classroom and laboratory, the student will be able to apply the concepts learned to
-design experiments and analyze the results;
-carry out measurements and understand the results;
-studying physical and chemical processes in quantitative terms;

Making judgments
Through classroom discussions, reports and written examinations the student will improve and expand its capabilities
- formulating ideas and propose deductions on the basis of the knowledge acquired
-critical evaluation of the experimental results obtained with instrumental techniques
-design experiments
-predict the trends of physical and chemical phenomena

Communication skills.
Through group discussions, students will acquire adequate skills and tools for communication with respect to obtaining, processing and presentation of data in an efficient and concise way; to express the concepts learned with appropriate scientific language and to hold a discussion about the topics covered.
Learning skills
The activities described, the tutorials, laboratory applications and the study will allow students to acquire the necessary methodological tools in order to investigate specific topics and address issues related to physical and chemical processes.


Dispense del docente.
P. W. Atkins, J. De Paula, Chimica Fisica, Zanichelli, Bologna.
R. Chang, Chimica Fisica I, Zanichelli, Bologna.
W. J. Moore, Chimica Fisica, Piccin, Padova