69076 - General Chemistry

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Luca Prodi
  • Credits: 9
  • SSD: CHIM/03
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Chemistry and Materials Chemistry (cod. 8006)

Learning outcomes

The student acquires the fundamental knowledge on Chemistry and understands its importance as a central, useful, and creative branch of science. He also learns how to solve practical and numerical problems.

Course contents

1) Introduction to Chemistry, highlighting its role on addressing the major problems of mankind in the XXI Century.

2) Atomic composition; atomic and mass numbers. Isotopes and atomic weight. Bohr's atomic theory; energy quantization. Quantum theory for H; orbitals and quantum numbers n, l and m. Spin. Orbitals in polyelectronic atoms, electronic configurations of elements. Periodic Table and relation with electronic configuration. Ionization energy, electron affinity, atomic and ionic radii.

3) Chemical bond: general concepts. Covalent bonds as sharing of electron pairs: number of bonds, molecules and infinite networks; electronegativity and bond polarity; bond energy and distance. Covalent bond and electronic configuration: electron promotion. Lewis structures of polyatomic molecules and ions. Dative bond: electron acceptors and donors. Molecular geometry. Ibridization. MO theory: sigma and pai orbitals; application to biatomic and polyatomic molecules. MO theory for infinite networks: band theory. Resonance.

4) Ionic bond: lattice energy. Stoichiometry and geometry of ionic compounds. Metallic bond: electrical conductivity; semiconductors. Intermolecular forces: Van der Waals, London and hydrogen bond. Nature of bond and position in the Periodic Table: metals and non-metals.

5) Empirical and molecular formula. Isomerism, polymorphism and allotropism. Molecular and formula weight. Mole and NA, molar mass. Determination of chemical formula.

6) Valence, oxidation state, coordination number. Binary compounds of oxygen. Classification and nomenclature of oxides and their derivatives. Binary conpound of hydrogen. Other binary compounds. Salts. Coordination and organometallic compounds.

7) Solid, liquid and gaseous states: general properties. Equation of state for gases. Gas mixtures: partial pressure. Changes of state and phase diagrams.

8) General properties of solutions. Concentration. Solubility. Solutions of electrolites. Ideal, diluted or concentrated solutions. Changes of state in liquid solutions. Osmosis. Colligative properties and determination of molecular weight. Colloidal systems; lyophilic and lyophobic colloids. Amphiphilic species: micelles and bilayers.

9) Chemical reactions and equations; mass conservation law. Equation balancing. Redox reactions and their balancing. Reactions in solution and ionic equations; redox half-reactions. Mass relation in the reactions; equivalent weight.

10) Thermochemistry: internal energy and enthalpy of reaction. Hess's law; enthalpy of formation. Spontaneity of reactions: entropy and free energy. Change of G during a reaction: reversible and irreversible reactions. Free energy and useful work.

11) Rate of reaction, kinetic equation. Reaction mechanism. Activated complex and activation energy. Catalysis. Chain reactions.

12) Chemical equilibrium: Kc and Kp. Dependence of K on T. Homogeneous and heterogeneous equilibria. Le Chatelier's principle. Solubility and Kps. Simultaneous equilibria. Stoichiometric calculations on equilibria.

13) Protonic theory of acid and bases. Autoionization; Kw. Ka and Kb. Polyprotic acids and bases. Molecular structure and acid/base properties. Acidity of solutions: pH. Acid-base reactions. Buffers. pH and solubility.

14) Galvanic cells. Reduction potentials and cell e.m.f. Electrolysis.

15) Position in the Periodic Table, electronic configuration, main oxidation states, acid/base and redox properties of: H, Li, Na, K, Be, Mg, Ca, Ba, B, Al, C, Si, Sn, Pb, N, P, As, Sb, Bi, O, S, F, Cl, Br, I, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ag, Hg.


Slides used during the class that can be downloaded at:


Information on Elements, that can be downloaded at: chimica.unibo.it

Suggested textbooks

Balzani, Moggi, Prodi, Venturi, "Chimica: Fondamenti e Prospettive", Bononia University Press.

Kotz, Treichel, Weaver, Chimica, EdiSES

Atkins, Jones "Principi di Chimica", Zanichelli editore.


Teaching methods

Class lessons: theory and stoichiometric exercises. Part of these will be conducted in groups.

Assessment methods

Final written and oral examination.

Admission to oral depends on the result of the written test (= or > 18/30). The written test is composed by 5 problems to be solved, one for each of the following topics:

  1. colligative properties;
  2. Redox reaction;
  3. Homogeneous and heterogeneous equilibria;
  4. Acid/base reactions;
  5. Electrochemistry

To access the written test you must have an identity document. The test lasts two hours. It is not allowed to leave the classroom, even temporarily, before the final delivery of the task. Students can bring texts and notes with them. A calculator is needed that can perform calculations in scientific notation and the periodic table. The use of other electronic devices such as mobile phones, computers, tablets and smartwatches that can be used to transmit information is prohibited.

For being admitted to the written test, the student should register at Almaesami three working days in advance.

The complete and correct resolution of each exercise is worth 6 points.
The written tests are evaluated in one of the following two ways:
Student admitted to the oral with sufficient task (grade greater than or equal to 18/30);
Student not admitted to the oral exam.
The list of students admitted to the oral exam will be published on Almaesami as soon as the correction of all the papers has been completed.
Regardless of the evaluation, the written test can be repeated in any subsequent exam. However, repeating the test automatically cancels the previous test.
Written tests are valid for 6 months.
The student admitted to the oral exam can take this test in any appeal of the period of validity of the written test. The oral exam includes questions on all the topics presented in the lesson.
The possible negative result of the oral test does not involve the cancellation of the written test. The overall grade of the module will be based on the average between the written grade and each oral question.


The final evaluation of the integrated course Fundamentals in Chemistry with Laboratory is determined as the average weighted on the credits of the marks obtained in General Chemistry (9 credits) and Chemistry Laboratory (6 credits).

Teaching tools

During the course slides will be projected. These slides can be downloaded from the indicated internet page https://virtuale.unibo.it/?lang=en

Office hours

See the website of Luca Prodi


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