13238 - Fundamentals of Industrial Chemistry

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

The course aims to introduce the fundamentals of industrial process chemistry. Students will be able to read simplified process diagrams and understand thermodynamic and kinetic aspects and their importance in managing a chemical reaction. They will also be able to understand the effect of the main operational variables, also taking into account the aspects of safety and economic and environmental sustainability. During the course, students will have the opportunity to analyze different "case histories" of accidents in industrial processes (e.g. Seveso, Bophal) and to learn the basic principles of the reference regulations for companies at significant risk.

Course contents


Concepts of thermodinamics, in order to understand the concept of reaction equilibrium appied to reactions carried out in industrial reactors. Concepts of kinetics, in order to understand the reaction rates applied to industrial processes, and the meaning of yield, selectivity and conversion in the presence of complex reaction schemes.

Concepts of organic chemistry, in order to understand the reactivity of classes of compounds in the main industrial chemical processes. Concepts of general and inorganic chemistry, in order to understand the behavior and properties of main heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysts.


Chemical industry and industrial chemistry. Structure of the chemical industry. Economics aspects of the chemical industry.

Technologies of building blocks production for the chemical industry from different raw materials: carbon, oil, natural gas and renewables: Production of biofuels and biorefinery concept.

Risk and hazard. Safety aspects of chemical products and reactions: flammability and explosiveness, run-away of exothermic reactions, safety sheets of chemical compounds. Indexes and limits of toxicity, meaning and valence.

Catalysis role in the chemical industry: homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts, Concepts of industrial catalysis. Management of chemical reactions: exothermic reactions in gas and in liquid phase, oxidation and hydrogenation reactions; endothermic reactions, dehydrogenation reactions; acid-base reactions. Concepts of industrial economy.

Analysis of flowsheets of industrial processes. Detailed examples. Basic concepts on the safety criteria in the chemical industry and the main causes of risk. Evaluation of process parameters in model reactions.


It is not necessary to purchase specific texts. Some parts are contained in the texts:

F. Cavani, G. Centi, M. Di Serio, I. Rossetti, A. Salvini, G. Strukul "Fondamenti di Chimica Industriale" Zanichelli Editore 2022.

J.A. Moulijn, M. Makkee, A. van Diepen, Chemical Process Technology, Wiley & Sons, 2001.

C. H. Bartholomew, R. J. Farrauto ”Industrial Catalytic Processes”, Wiley, New Jersey, 2006.

Sito web U.S. Chemical Safety Board http://www.csb.gov

Sito web EPA Green Chemistry https://www.epa.gov/greenchemistry/green-chemistry-resources#education

Teaching methods

A wide variety of teaching techniques will be used, from traditional lectures, to group work on course related topics, to the use of seminars and tutorials and e-learning parts. Attendance is strongly recommended in order to be able to grasp the fundamental critical aspects of the subject and the connections between the different parts of the programme.

Assessment methods

The verification of learning takes place through an oral exam aimed at ascertaining the acquisition of knowledge. The property of language and the ability to make connections are plus points. T

Office hours

See the website of Stefania Albonetti


Affordable and clean energy Industry, innovation and infrastructure Responsible consumption and production Climate Action

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