cod. 00130

Academic year 2016/17
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Chimica generale e inorganica (CHIM/03)
Discipline chimiche
Type of training activity
73 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit
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Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding: the course of General and Inorganic Chemistry is aimed at equipping the Biotechnology students with the fundamental concepts of Chemistry necessary to interpret the biological phenomena at molecular level. The course has 9 CFU of which 7 of lecturing and 2 of stoicheiometry and laboratory experiments. The theoretical part is divided into four sections, each of which gives the students the basic chemical tools necessary for the future biotechnologist, that is:

1. Implications of the atomic and molecular theory of matter (inorganic chemistry, nomenclature and stoicheiometry)

2. Theory of the chemical bond (atom structure, bond theory according to Lewis, VSEPR theory, VB and MO theory)

3. Chemical thermodinamics (the three principles of thermodynamics applied to chemistry, solution equilibria, basics of electrochemistry)

4. Chemical kinetics.

The computational part aims at using the tools learnt in the theoretical part giving emphasis to the protocols that must be applied in the different problem typologies (chemical equation balance, stoicheiometry, pH calculations etc). The laboratory part is aimed at developing observation and communication skills both in oral and in written form. A particular attention will be devoted to a correct usage of the specialistic language of Chemistry.

Knowledge application: the knowledges learnt during the lectures will be concretized with computational exercises and laboratory experiments. During the practical training students are requested to keep a laboratory log-book in which they take note of all the work carried out and the results of the experiment done in each lab session.

Communication skills: the course leads to the acquisition of a technical language that allows the students to communicate with specialists in the field of chemistry using a formally correct language.


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Course unit content

Chemical instruments. Atoms and elements. Compounds and molecules. Chemical reactions: an introduction. Reactions in water solutions. Thermochemistry. Atomic and molecular structure. Structure of the atom. Electronic configuration of atoms and periodic properties. Basic concepts on the chemical bond and on the molecular structure. – Further concepts on the chemical bond: orbital hybridization, molecular orbital theory and metallic bond. The states of aggregation: gases and their behaviour. Intermolecular forces: liquids and solids. Solutions and their behaviour. The control of chemical reactions: thermodynamic and kinetic aspects. The principles of thermodynamics and their implications in a chemical context. Spontaneity of the chemical reactions. Enthropy and free energy. Chemical equilibrium. The chemistry of acids and bases. Buffer systems. Precipitation reactions. Thermodynamics of redox reactions. Electrochemistry. Kinetics: rate and mechanisms of chemical reactions – Chemistry of the elements and of their compounds: the s and p blocks and the transition elements of biological relevance.
Laboratory activities.
Stoichiometry. Equivalent weight. Chemical reactions. Normality. Redox reactions. Principles of volumetric analysis. Balance in pH solutions. Buffer solutions.
Laboratory activities: determination of the absolute zero through measures of volume variations with temperature. Determination of the titre of a solution. Titrationof an acid with a strong base – Oxidimetric titration - pHmetry.

Full programme

Atomic theory

Atoms and elements - Compounds and molecules - Nomenclature of Inorganic Compounds - Chemical reactions: an overview - Reactions in aqueous solution

Atomic and molecular structure

The structure of the atom - Electronic configuration of atoms and periodicity - Basics on molecular structure and chemical bonding: Lewis and VSEPR theory, VB theory (hybridization) and MO theory (application with homo- and heteronuclear diatomic molecules)


States of matter - Gases and their behaviour - Intermolecular forces - Thermodynamics: the principles of thermodynamics and their implications in chemistry - Thermochemistry - The spontaneity of chemical reactions: entropy and Gibbs free energy - Equilibrium: general concepts - The chemistry of weak acids and bases - Buffer solutions - Solubility


Reaction rate - kinetic equations - Reaction order - Arrhenius equation - Activated complex theory - Mechanisms in Chemical Reactions -


Stoicheiometry. Balancing chemical reactions. Limiting reagent. Principles of volumetric analysis. Equilibria in solution. Calculation of pH in solutions of weak acids and bases. Buffer solutions. Calculations of solubility.


Brian B Laird Chimica Generale
McGraw-Hill, Milano

Teaching methods

The course will be made up of lectures, supplemented by material accessible online on the Biotechnology site ( There will be impromptu tests during the year to check student level of comprehension.
The exam will be written and consist of a series of questions which will retrace, in order, the course syllabus: atomic and molecular theories (nomenclature and stoichimetry), chemical bonds (molecular forms), thermodynamics (thermochemistry and balance in solutions) and kinetics (reaction mechanisms).

Assessment methods and criteria

The acquired knowledge and the comprehension of the concepts thaught in the course will be verified through a final written test.

The test consists of 13 questions of which:

1. Four about the atomic and molecular theory (10 points)

2. Three about the chemical bond theory (6 points)

3. Four about chemical thermodynamics (10 points)

4. Two about chemical kinetics (4 points)

The exam is passed only if the student has gathered at least 18 points and has obtained for each question at least half of the associated points.

Other information

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