Physical Chemistry (2016/2017)

Course code
Ugo Luigi Monaco
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff Timetable
teoria 5 II sem. Ugo Luigi Monaco
laboratorio [1° turno] 1 II sem. Ugo Luigi Monaco
laboratorio [2° turno] 1 II sem. Ugo Luigi Monaco

Lesson timetable

II sem.
Activity Day Time Type Place Note
teoria Monday 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM lesson Lecture Hall F  
teoria Tuesday 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM lesson Lecture Hall D  
laboratorio [1° turno] Thursday 2:30 PM - 7:30 PM laboratorio Laboratory Laboratorio di Chimica Fisica from Mar 1, 2017  to May 18, 2017

Learning outcomes

See the details under theory and lab


Thermodynamics. Introduction. Description of a macroscopic system. State variables. Definition of the state of a system. Process. Heat and work. Work in the expansion of a gas. Other types of work. Mathematical description of a system with one or more independent variables. First law of Thermodynamics. Exaples of calculations using the first law. Molecular interpretation of energy variations.
Enthalpy and heat capacity. Measurement and calculation of enthalpy variations. Thermochemistry. Molecular interpretation of enthalpy variations. Cooperative processes. Thermodytnamic properties of water. Biological significance. Second law of Thermodynamics. Spontaneous processes. Entropy. Calculation of entropy veriations for some important processes. Molecular interpretation of entropy. Third law of Thermodynamics. Residual entropy.Examples of calculations. The Gibbs and Helmholtz free energies. The free energy spontaneity criterion. Physical meaning of the Gibbs and Helmholtz free energies. Chemical potential. Physical meaning. Chemical equilibrium. Equilibrium constant. Methods used to calculate and measure the free energy variations of chemical reactions.Influence of the temperature. Van't Hoff's equation. Biochemical examples. Denaturation of proteins. The hydriphobic effect. Phase equilibria. The phase ruler. The Clausius-Clapeyron equation. Phase transitions in biological systems. Other examples of biological applications of Thermodynamics.

Chemical and Biochemical kinetics. An introduction to chemical kinetics and its methods. Reaction mechanisms. The relationship between rate constant and equilibrium constant. The principle of microscopic reversibility. The determination of a reaction mechanism. The rate law. Methods. Integration of the rate laws. Examples: radioactive decay and DNA renaturation. Reaction profile and reaction coordinates. Arrhenius theory: activation energy and frequency factor. Eyring’st heory. Free energy of activation. Experimental methods. Enzyme kinetics. The Michaelis-Menten model. Plotting the data with the Eadie and Lineweaver-Burk methods. Application of Eyring’s theory to enzymes. Factors that influence the catalytic activity of enzymes. The transition state.

Recommended textbooks

1) Eisenberg, D. and Crothers, D. Physical Chemistry with applications to the Life Sciences. Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company.Menlo Park, California, U.S.A. 1979.

2) Atkins P. e De Paula J. Physical Chemistry for the Life sciences Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K. 2006.

Assessment methods and criteria

Written and oral exam