Academic year
2019/2020 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
CT0040 (AF:280048 AR:157460)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
The Physical Chemistry 1 and Laboratory course is one of the basic training activities of the Chemistry and Sustainable Technology degree course. In Module 2 the practical aspects of the Physical Chemistry notions presented in Module1 are considered; thus part of the activity deals with laboratory experiences aimed to determine physico-chemical properties of simple systems, including explanations of the underlying theoretical principles, the required equipment, the evaluation of errors. The second part of the course is focussed on exercise and problem solving allowing the use of the main theoretical concepts learnt in Module 1 and facilitating the appreciation of their potentialities.
1. Knowledge and understanding
i. Make use of some of the basic notions presented in Module 1 to understand the design of experiments aimed to the determination of physico-chemical properties through experimental measurements and to understand the operating principles of some scientific apparatus; make use of the theory of errors to evaluate critically the obtained results.
ii. Go through the theoretical notions presented in Module 1 with an applicative perspective.

2. Applying knowledge and understanding
i. Make use of the notions learnt to determine experimentally some physico-chemical properties of particular systems such as metallic alloys, binary liquid mixtures, solutions, gases.
ii. Be able to write scientific reports on the laboratory activities.
ii. Apply and develop methods of elaboration of the notions presented in Module 1 to solve problems and exercises in the area of physical chemistry and thermodynamics.

3. Making judgements
i. Evaluate the main causes of error on the experimental results obtained (awareness of the role played by the sensitivity of the employed instrumentation, of the followed procedure, of possible operative inaccuracies, etc.); be able to compare the results obtained with appropriate literature data and understand the causes of possible significant differences.
ii. Put into practice the potentialities of the logical-deductive method using the notions learnt in Module 1 to solve exercises and problems.

4. Communication
i. Interact with the classmates during the laboratory activities (in groups) to coordinate the different actions needed, to elaborate the data obtained and later to write the requested reports.
ii. Present synthetically, logically and using an appropriate vocabulary what performed (in the laboratory reports) and learnt (during the oral exam).

5. Lifelong learning skills
i. Take notes during the lessons, recognizing the logical paths proposed by the teacher and identifying the most relevant information.
ii. Record correctly and fully the laboratory activities, also filling out the end-of-shift reports handed out by the teacher as a self-assessment tool.
To have attained the educational objectives of Mathematics and Exercises 1 and General Physics 1, possibly but not necessarily having passed the corresponding exams. In particular, it is required on the one hand to have a fairly good competence of calculus and on the other to know the basic notions of general physics and of the theory of errors.
With regard to programme goals and the expected learning outcomes, the contents of the course can be summarized as follows:

Preparation of the laboratory activities:
- solid-liquid equilibrium of binary mixtures (completely miscibile, immiscibile, partially miscible with eutectic components)
- properties of liquid binary mixtures (namely refractive index, density and viscosity and corresponding excess quantites)
- solution enthalpy at infinite dilution of a salt in water
- molar specific heats of a gas (through IR spectroscopy and statistical thermodinamics)
- review of recommended criteria for the writing of the laboratory reports, including the calculation of the errors on the quantities determined experimentally and a critical assessment of the results obtained.

Hands-on laboratory activities:
- calorimetric measurements: study of the solid-liquid equilibrium of the tin-lead alloy at different compositions through the recording of cooling thermograms and of differential scanning calorimetric curves; measurement of the solution enthalpy at infinite dilution of a salt (potassium nitrate) in water.
- physico-chemical measurements: study of properties of the liquid binary mixture acetone-water through the determination at different compositions of the refractive index (using an Abbe refractometer), of density (using a constant-weight densimeter) and viscosity (using an Ostwald viscosimeter) and calculation of the corresponding excess quantities.
- IR spectroscopy: determination of the molar specific heats of a gas through the study of its mid-infrared absorbtion spectrum, combined with appropriate statistic thermodynamic formulas learnt in Module 1

Exercises and problems regarding the main laws learnt in Module 1:
- work
- first law of thermodynamics
- thermochemistry
- second law of themodynamics
- chemical equilibrium
- phase equilibria
Students can adopt any universitary text on Physical Chemistry, provided it covers the principles exploited by the proposed activities and contains exercises and problems similar to the ones discussed in the classroom.
However, one of the following is suggested:
D. GAZZILLO: Termodinamica e… , Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, 2010
P. ATKINS, J. DE PAULA: Chimica Fisica, 5° ed. ita. Zanichelli, Bologna, 2012
P. ATKINS, J. DE PAULA: Elementi di Chimica Fisica, 4° ed. ita. Zanichelli, Bologna, 2018
The assessment is articulated in three steps: laboratory test, written exam, oral exam. Students are required to participate to at least five out of six laboratory activities, taking into account the availability of a final additional shift to allow carrying out missed activities.
The laboratory test consists in writing (one for each group of students) reports on the activities carried out; these reports should be written in an appropriate language, should be concise but giving adequate information on the exploited principles and on what performed in the laboratory, the calculation of the required quantities and the corresponding errors, as well as a critical discussion on the results obtained based on an analysis of the applied methodology and on the comparison to appropriate literature data.
The written exam consists in solving two exercises relating to the theory proposed in Module 1 and similar, regarding difficulty and contents, to those solved in the classroom. The duration of the written test is one hour and a half – two hours and the use of a scientific calculator is allowed, as well as (at the teacher’s desk) of the suggested texts and a table of pertaining formulas made available by the teacher. At the end of the test the two exercises are solved at the blackboard by the teacher.
The oral text, taking about half an hour, consists in the discussion of what done by the student in the written test and in one or more questions about the laboratory activities, aiming also to ascertain the real participation of the student to the data processing and writing of the group reports. During this discussion, clear reasoning, appropriate language and assimilation of the contents learnt during the course are required.
The final grade will take into account the results achieved in the written and oral tests, incorporating (in positive or negative) the evaluation of the laboratory reports.
The course is articulated in:
i. Lectures, divided into two blocks. The first block precedes the laboratory activites and is devoted to their prepaation, going through the main thermodynamics and physical chemistry principles exploited and presenting the suggested experimental procedures, the operating principles of the adopted equipment and safety and waste disposal rules.
The second lesson block follows the laboratory activities and is devoted to prepare the witten text, going over the main physical chemistry laws presented in Module 1 and applying them to solve exercises and problems.
ii. Laboratory activities, where students put into practice what was presented in the preparatory lectures, with the help of the teacher and of suitable support information material. At the end of each laboratory shift the students are asked to fill in a report form that they can use as a tool to verify if they have carried out the activity properly and collected the data adequately; this report form, even if discussed in the laboratory with the teacher, is not taken into account in the final grade since it is meant as a mere tool given to the students for the self-assessment of their activity during the shift.
In the “Moodle” of the University teaching material (the slides shown in the classroom, including also the safety fiches of the used reagents; support material for each of the laboratory activities; instructions for some atomatic data processing; the collection of the former written tests) can be found.
1 CFU - notes and excercises for self-evaluation online

Accommodation and support services for students with disabilities and students with specific learning impairments:
Ca’ Foscari abides by Italian Law (Law 17/1999; Law 170/2010) regarding supportservices and accommodation available to students with disabilities. This includes students with mobility, visual, hearing and other disabilities (Law 17/1999), and specific learning impairments (Law 170/2010). In the case of disability or impairment that requires accommodations (i.e., alternate testing, readers, note takers or interpreters) please contact the Disability and Accessibility Offices in Student Services:
written and oral
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 16/04/2019