cod. 1001114

Academic year 2010/11
2° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Chimica fisica (CHIM/02)
Discipline chimiche
Type of training activity
40 hours
of face-to-face activities
5 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The aim of the course is to provide the students with basic knowledge in order to understand and explain the chemical reactions, by means of models, peculiarity of the Physical Chemistry. Students will acquaint themselves with models of classical, statistical and non-equilibrium Thermodynamics, especially with regard to the study and the interpretation of biochemical and biological processes of transport phenomena and of colloidal chemistry, foundation of structural and functional features of beauty and health products.


No preliminary examinations are requested, but it is recommended to attend the courses of General Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics before the course of Physical Chemistry.

Course unit content

1. Equilibrium thermodynamics applied to chemical and biological systems with a statistical thermodynamics outline. Variables and state functions. The laws of thermodynamics. The temperature and pressure dependence of thermodynamic quantities. Thermochemistry. Calorimetry.. Outline of statistical Thermodynamics. Exercises.
2. Changes of state: physical transformations of pure substances. Phase diagrams. Clapeyron and Clausius-Clapeyron equations. Vapour-liquid phase transition and critical phenomena. The principle of corresponding states. Gibbs phase rule
3. Changes of state: physical transformations of simple mixtures. Open systems and partial molar quantities. Ideal and real solutions. Raoult and Henry laws. Fugacity and activity. The water activity in foods. Regular solutions. Ideal mixing and excess functions. Phase equilibria in binary systems. Fractional distillation. Azeotropes, eutectic, partially miscible liquids, binary mixtures compounds forming. Solvent chemical potential. Colligative properties. Osmotic pressure. Molecular weight measurements. Membrane equilibria. Solutions of macromolecules. Dialysis equilibrium. Donnan equilibrium.
4. Equilibria of chemical reactions. Thermodynamics of chemical equilibrium. Gibbs free energy and equilibrium constant. Activity and ionic strength. Standard state. Distribution diagrams. Binding curves. Cooperativity.
5. Electrochemistry. Electrochemical cells. Electrodes. Nernst equation. Standard reduction potentials. The potentiometer.
6. Bioenergetics. Active and passive processes. Transport phenomena: passive and active transport. Exergonic and endergonic reactions. Coupled reactions.
7. Intermolecular forces. Van de Waals forces. Dipole and induced dipole. Potential energy. Lennard-Jones potential. Hydrogen bond. Hydrophobic interactions. Partition coefficient.
8. Colloid chemistry. Dispersed systems. Size and shape of colloidal particles. Ostwald classification. Surface tension. Intermolecular forces in colloidal systems. DLVO theory. Structure and classification of surfactants. Micelle formation. Emulsions. Emulsifiers and stabilizers in foods. Microemulsions. Lyotropic and thermotropic liquid crystals. Biological and artificial membranes.

Full programme

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- P. W. Atkins, J. De Paula, Chimica Fisica Biologica, vol.1 e 2, Zanichelli, Bologna, 2008
- P. W. Atkins, Elementi di Chimica Fisica, seconda edizione, Zanichelli, Bologna, 2000

Teaching methods

Lectures by means of computer presentations, available to the students before classes.

Assessment methods and criteria

Written examination on the whole syllabus during scheduled examination sections

Other information

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