65601 - Chemistry and Technology of Materials (L-Z)

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Martino Colonna (Modulo 1) Enrico Sassoni (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Civil Engineering (cod. 8888)

Learning outcomes

By attending this course, the student aquires basic knowledge of chemistry and chemical processes related to Civil Engineering. Moreover, the student becomes familiar with physical and mechanical properties of the main building materials used in Civil Engineering (concrete, steel, traditional ceramics, polymers) and acquires the tools for materials selection based on their properties and durability in different environments.


Course contents

CHEMISTRY MODULE (40 h, Prof. M. Colonna)

  • Atomic structure of matter.
  • Electronic structure of atoms; periodic table of the elements and periodic properties.
  • Chemical bonds: ionic, covalent and metallic bonds. Weak interactions.
  • Molecular structure and polarity of molecules.
  • Nomenclature of inorganic compounds.
  • Chemical reactions, redox, and stoichiometry.
  • States of matter: gases, liquid and solid state.
  • Solutions and measures of concentration.
  • Chemical thermodynamics and chemical equilibrium.
  • Fundamentals of chemical kinetics.
  • Phase equilibria: Gibbs' rule and one and two component state diagrams.
  • Ionic equilibria in aqueous solutions.
  • Acids and bases and pH determination.
  • Fundamentals of electrochemistry and organic chemistry.


  • Crystal structures and defects. Stress-strain diagrams and relationship between chemical bonds and elastic modulus. Elasticity, stiffness, ductility and brittleness. Real and geometric density. Relationship between open porosity and water absorption.
  • Binders: gypsum, slaked lime, hydraulic lime and cement. Cement technology and setting reactions, cement classification according to European standard EN 197/1. Traditional and special concrete according to EN 206-1. Technology, mix-design, properties and casting of ready mix concrete. Concrete properties in the fresh and hardened state. Concrete durability: environmental exposure classes. Self-compacting concrete and digital concrete.
  • Traditional ceramics: bricks, tiles and glass. Raw materials, production technology, physical–mechanical properties and performance.
  • Metals: cast iron and steel. Raw materials and production technlogy. Thermal treatments (annealing, quenching, Bain diagram, etc.) and weldability of low carbon steel. Corrosion: morphology, mechanisms and aggressive environmnets for steel. Stainless steel. Aluminium, copper and titanium alloys for building applications. 
  • Polymers: thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers. Structure, physical–mechanical properties and performance for civil engineering applications.
  • General criteria for building materials selection: performance, durability and sustainability.






  • Michelin, Munari "Fondamenti di CHIMICA per Ingegneria", CEDAM.
  • Michelin, Mozzon, Munari "Test ed Esercizi di CHIMICA", CEDAM.


  • N. Jackson (Ed.), Civil Engineering Materials. Macmillan Press London 1983
  • M. Illston (Ed.), Construction Materials. E & F Spoon London 1994


Teaching methods

Lectures are given in classroom with the support of slides and videos, which are made available to the Students.

Practical classes about cement and concrete technology will be offered in the laboratory for better understanding of their properties and practical use.


Assessment methods


The final test of the Chemistry module is based on a written test, which aims at evaluating:

  • the knowledge of the atomic structure and relevant properties in three states of matter, with special focus on solid state
  • the knowledge of resolution methods for fundamental chemistry problems

The grade of the written test is based on the evaluation of theoretical answers and exercises resolution.


The final test of the Technology of Materials module is based on an oral exam, which aims at evaluating:

  • the physical-microstructural properties of the investigated building materials;
  • the mechanical properties and durability of the investigated building materials;
  • the main requirements that building materials must meet, in view of their application and the relevant standards.

The final grade is awarded based on the student's ability to demonstrate organic understanding of the subject, to critically apply the aquired concepts, and to clearly and concisely present these contents.


The final grade is calculated by CFU-weighed average of the grades obtained in the two different modules (4/9 Chemistry module + 5/9 Technology of Materials module).


Teaching tools

Slides shown during the classes are made available to the Students.




Office hours

See the website of Enrico Sassoni

See the website of Martino Colonna


Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.