Physical Chemistry

NAME OF THE COURSE Physical Chemistry



Year of study


Course teacher

Assoc Prof Renato Tomaš

Credits (ECTS)


Associate teachers

Type of instruction (number of hours)






Status of the course


Percentage of application of e-learning

0 %


Course objectives

The aims of the course are to enable students to:
- understand basic concepts, laws and principles of thermodynamic and kinetic approaches to physical and chemical changes,
- resolve different physicochemical problems,
- perform measurements in the laboratory individually or in a team, present and process measurement data,
- apply acquired knowledge and skills in professional and specialist courses.

Course enrolment requirements and entry competences required for the course

Course enrollment prerequisite is General Chemistry.
Required competences are knowledge of Mathematics (Calculus) and fundamentals of Physics and Chemistry.

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

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:
1. Describe basic concepts, laws and principles of thermodynamic and kinetic approaches to physical and chemical changes.
2. Explain different physicochemical dependencies of the examined systems.
3. Calculate physicochemical parameters using thermodynamic and kinetic equations.
4. Perform experiments and measurements in the laboratory.
5. Interpret experimental and numerical data.

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

Lectures (2 hours weekly):
1st week: Introduction: Physical chemistry - course contents. Basic terms. System and surroundings. Intensive and extensive thermodynamic variables. Progress of the reaction. Zeroth low of thermodynamics.
1st and 2nd week: Properties of gases: The perfect gas equation of state. The ideal gas temperature scale. Ideal gas mixtures and Dalton’s law. The kinetic model of gases. Real gases. The van der Waals equation of state.
2nd, 3rd and 4th week: First law of thermodynamics: Work and heat. Internal energy. Enthalpy. Heat capacities. Joule-Thomson expansion. Adiabatic processes with gases. Thermochemistry. Enthalpy of formation. Calorimetry.
4th, 5th and 6th week: Second and third laws of thermodynamics: Direction of spontaneous change. Entropy as a state function and the second law. Entropy changes in system and surroundings. Entropy changes in irreversible processes. Entropy change accompanying a phase transition. Entropy of mixing ideal gases. Calorimetric determination of entropies and the third law. Gibbs energy. Properties of the Gibbs energy.
6th and 7th week: Phase equlibria-pure substances: Condition of stability. Variation of Gibbs energy with pressure. Variation of Gibbs energy with temperature. Phase diagrams, phase boundaries and location of phase boundaries. The phase rule. Significance of the chemical potential. Fugacity.
8th i 9th week: Properties of mixtures: Partial molar properties. Gibbs-Duhem equation. The chemical potentials of liquids. Spontaneous mixing. Ideal solutions. Ideal-dilute solutions. Real solutions: activities. Colligative properties. Phase diagrams of mixtures.
10th and 11th week: Principles of chemical equilibrium: Homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions. The reaction Gibbs energy. Reactions at equilibrium. Equilibrium constants and determination of equilibrium constants. Standard reaction Gibbs energy. Effect of temperature on the equilibrium constant. Effect of pressure, initial composition, and inert gases on the equilibrium composition.
11th and 12th week: Ionic equilibria: Activity of electrolytes. Debye-Hückel theory. Proton transfer equilibria. Salts in water. Solubility equilibria.
12th and 13th week: Electrochemistry: Ions in solution and migration of ions. Conductivity of electrolyte solutions. Viscosity. Strong and weak electrolytes. The drift speed. Ion mobilities. Mobility and conductivity. Measurement of transport numbers. Electrochemical cells. Varietes of cell. The cell reaction and electromotive force. Cells at equilibrium. Standard potentials. Determination of pH. Membrane potential.
13th i 14th week: Chemical kinetics: Empirical chemical kinetics. Reaction rates. Rate laws and rate constants. Reaction order. Half-lives and time constants. The temperature dependence of reaction rates. The relation between rate constants and equilibrium constants. Parallel and consecutive reactions.
15th week: Properties of surfaces: Properties of liquid surfaces. Colloidal systems. Adsorption on solid surfaces. Adsorption isotherms. Catalytic activity at surfaces.
Seminars (one hour weekly):
Solving numerical problems in physical chemistry.
Exercises (five hours weekly):
By working out 6 exercises student evidences in practice some of the principles presented through lectures and seminars: Coligative properties. Viscosity. Chemical equilibrium. Phase diagrams of ternary system. Conductivity and conductometric titration. Kinetics of inversion saccharose by polarimetric method.

Format of instruction:

Student responsibilities

Lecture and seminar attendance and active participation of at least 70 percent of the planned schedule.
Complete all laboratory exercises.
The exam can be taken continuously (cumulatively) through colloquiums (partial tests) combining theoretical and practical tasks or as one comprehensive exam (written and oral).

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

Continually evaluation: (success (%) / share in evaluating (%):
- presence and activities in the classroom: (70 - 100 / 10)
- laboratory exercises: (100 / 15)
- first partial test: (60 - 100 / 25)
- second partial test: (60 - 100 / 25)
- third partial test: (60 - 100 / 25)
Final evaluation: (success (%) / share in evaluating (%):
- written exam with numerical tasks: (50 - 100 / 40)
- oral exam: (50 - 100 / 45)
- priviously activities from continually evaluation: (50 - 100 / 15)

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, Elements of Physical Chemistry, 4th Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005.


R. J. Silbey, R. A. Alberty, M. G. Bawendi, Physical Chemistry, 4th Edition, John Wiley and Sons, New Jersey, 2005.


R. Tomaš, Predavanja iz fizikalne kemije, ppt-prezentacija, 2009.


digitalni zapis

J. Radošević, Lj. Aljinović, Fizikalna kemija, Laboratorijske vježbe, Sveučilišna naklada Liber, Split, 1980.


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


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

I. Mekjavić, Fizikalna kemija 1, Školska knjiga Zagreb, 1996.
I. Mekjavić, Fizikalna kemija 2, Golden marketing, Zagreb, 1999.
A. M. Halpern, Experimental Physical Chemistry, A Laboratory Textbook, 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1997.

Quality assurance methods that ensure the acquisition of exit competences

- monitoring suggestions and reactions of participants during the semester
- student survey

Other (as the proposer wishes to add)