Physical Chemistry

NAME OF THE COURSE Physical Chemistry



Year of study


Course teacher

Assoc Prof Vesna Sokol

Credits (ECTS)


Associate teachers

Type of instruction (number of hours)






Status of the course


Percentage of application of e-learning

0 %


Course objectives

Student will acquire knowledge about principles of the thermodynamic and kinetic approach to physical and chemical changes.

Course enrolment requirements and entry competences required for the course

Enrolled in or passed the course Exercises in Physical chemistry

Learning outcomes expected at the level of the course (4 to 10 learning outcomes)

After successful completion of the course students will know the basic principles of physical chemistry, which include: 1) physical properties and structure of substances, 2) thermodynamics of mixing, 3) chemical equilibrium, 4) the rates of chemical reactions, 5) molecular motion in gases and the motion of molecules and ions in liquids, 6) electric and magnetic properties of molecules

Course content broken down in detail by weekly class schedule (syllabus)

1st week: Introduction. Properties of gases. The perfect gas. The states of gases. The gas laws. Real gases. Van der Waals equation. The First Law of thermodynamics. The basic concepts. Work, heat and energy. The formal statment of the First Law
2nd week: Expansion work. Heat and enthalpy. Heat capacity. Thermochemistry. Standard enthalpy changes. Enthalpies of formation. The temperature dependence of reaction enthalpies.
3rd week: Work of adiabatic expansion. Perfect gas adiabats. The Second Law. The dispersal of energy. Entropy. Entropy change during the isothermal expansion of a perfect gas.
4th week: The entropy as a state function. The entropy of irreversible change. Entropy changes accompanying specific processes. The variation of entropy with temperature. The Third Law.
5th week: Third-Law entropies. The Helmholtz and Gibbs energies. Standard molar Gibbs energies. Combining the First and Second Laws. Properties of the internal energy. Properties of the Gibbs energy.
6th week: The chemical potential. Real gases – the fugacity. Standard states of real gases. The relation between fugacity and pressure. Physical transformations of pure substances. Phase boundaries. The dependence of stability on the conditions. The location of phase boundaries.
7th week: The first partial exam. The properties of simple mixtures. Partial molar quantities. The thermodynamics of mixing. The chemical potentials of liquids.
8th week: Liquid mixtures. Colligative properties. The sovent activity. The solute activity. The phase rule. Phase diagrams.
9th week: Two-component systems. Vapour pressure diagrams. Temperature-composition diagrams. Liquid-liquid phase diagrams. Liquid-solid phase diagrams. Three-component systems. Chemical equilibrium. The Gibbs energy minimum. The extent of reaction.
10th week: The reaction Gibbs energy. Exergonic and endergonic reactions. The composition of reactions at equilibrium - the thermodynamic equilibrium constant. Perfect gas equilibria. The general case of a reaction. Le Chatelier’s principle.
11th week: The second partial exam. The rates of chemical reactions. Rate laws and rate constants. Reaction order. The determination of the rate law. Integrated rate laws. First-order reactions. Half-lives. Second-order reactions.
12th week: Reactions approaching equilibrium. The temperature dependence of reaction rates. Elementary reactions. Consecutive elementary reactions. The rate-determing step. The steady-state approximation. Pre-equilibria. Third-order reactions. Unimolecular reactions. Molecules and ions in motion. Molecular motion in gases.
13th week: Viscosity. The conductivity of electrolyte solutions. Strong electrolytes. Weak electrolytes. The drift speed. Ion mobilities. Mobility and conductivity.
14th week: The measurement of transport numbers. Conductivities and ion-ion interactions. Spectroscopy. The electric and magnetic properties of molecules. Permanent and induced electric dipole moments. Polarization at high frequencies. The relative permittivity. Refractive index. Optical activity. Beer-Lambert law.
15th week: Atomic spectra. Molecular spectra. Infrared spectroscopy. Rotational and vibrational spectra. Measurement of IR spectra. Visible and ultraviolet spectroscopy. The Franck-Condon principle. Charge-transfer transitions.
Solving numerical problems.

Format of instruction:

Student responsibilities

Students are required to attend classes (lectures and seminars 80%) and actively participate in the teaching process. This will be recorded and evaluated in making a final assessment.

Screening student work (name the proportion of ECTS credits for eachactivity so that the total number of ECTS credits is equal to the ECTS value of the course):

Class attendance




Practical training


Experimental work








Seminar essay






Oral exam




Written exam






Grading and evaluating student work in class and at the final exam

The course content is divided into three units that students take over partial exams or joining final exam at the end of the semester. The written exam is considered passed if students achieve at least 60%. The final grade is based on the evaluation of partial exams. Grades: <60% not satisfied, 60-69% successful (2), 70-79% good (3), 80-89% very good (4), 90-100% excellent (5).

Required literature (available in the library and via other media)


Number of copies in the library

Availability via other media

P. Atkins, J. de Paula, Atkins’ Physical Chemistry, 8th Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2006.


I. Mekjavić, Fizikalna kemija 1, Školska knjiga Zagreb, 1996.


I. Mekjavić, Fizikalna kemija 2, Golden marketing, Zagreb, 1999.


Optional literature (at the time of submission of study programme proposal)

I. Tominić, Fizikalna kemija II, Kemijsko-tehnološki fakultet, Split, 2010.

Quality assurance methods that ensure the acquisition of exit competences

Quality of the teaching and learning, monitored at the level of the (1) teachers, accepting suggestions of students and colleagues, and (2) faculty, conducting surveys of students on teaching quality.

Other (as the proposer wishes to add)