79085 - Sustainable Industrial Chemistry and Polymers

Course Unit Page


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

Good health and well-being Quality education Affordable and clean energy Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The first part of the course is aimed at providing competences for the development and management of catalytic processes for the production of chemicals and fuels, with a particular attention to aspects related to the improvement of sustainability in the chemical industry. The central role of catalysis in the implementation of chemical process will be highlighted, with focus on the spectroscopic techniques useful for the understanding of the catalytic reaction. In the second part of the course fundamental aspects of polymer science will be acquired. Particular attention will be focused on polymeric materials obtained using low environmental impact technologies and also to polymers deriving from renewable resources.

Course contents


In order to successfully attend this course the student should know:

the basics of the organic chemistry, the fundamentals of polymer chemistry and physics, the synthesis and main properties of macromolecular systems.

the fundamentals of industrial chemistry (flow-sheet, mass balances, main industrial organic and inorganic processes).


  • Assessment of the environmental impact of chemical productions: green metrics
  • Chemical processes from conventional building blocks and from renewables
  • Catalysis as a tool for a better sustainability of chemical processes
  • Spectroscopy in catalysis: principles
  • Brief review of preparation methods for the synthesis of nanoparticles
  • Basic concepts and understanding of characterization techniques (ex-situ, in-situ) as a toolbox for characterizing nanoparticles
  • Basic principles of structure-activity relations
  • Brief review of the main macromolecular chemistry concepts
  • Definition of Sustainable Polymers
  • Identification of the main parameters affecting the sustainability of macromolecules
  • Overview of the main relevant international standards (ASTM and ISO).
  • Polymers from renewable resources:
    • Polymers from fermentation
    • Monomers form renewable resources and their chemical conversion
    • Case studies
  • The fate of polymers:
    • recycling and disposal of polymeric materials;
    • biodegradability;
    • compostability.


Research papers concerning course contents will be discussed during classes and provided to the students

Teaching methods

Room lectures with the aid of power point presentation.

Assessment methods

The assessment takes place through a final test, aimed at ascertaining the acquisition of the expected knowledge and skills.

The final exam consists of an oral test, divided into two parts, of the total duration of about 40 minutes duration.

The first part consists of an interview on the sustainable industrial chemistry principles and on catalysis in chemical processes. The outcome of this part accounts for the 50% of the final vote.

The second part consists of an interview on the topics: sustainability of polymers, correlation of a polymer structure with its application fields and end-of-life fate, industrial applications of polymers, with reference to the concept of sustainability and to regulations in force. The outcome of this part accounts for the 50% of the final vote.

Teaching tools

Room lectures with the aid of power point presentation. The presentations will be available on line on Moodle (IoL) repository platform before the lectures.

Additional material for reference will also be made available on Moodle repository platform.

Students with DSA or disabilities can contact Servizio Studenti con Disabilità e DSA dell’Università di Bologna (http://www.studentidisabili.unibo.it/, Italian only), the Department contact person (Prof. Giorgio Bencivenni, giorgio.bencivenni2@unibo.it) or directly the teacher to address the most convenient approach for accessing teaching materials and supports, and to gain access to all the convenient services and areas of the Departments (i.e. room for frontal lectures).

Office hours

See the website of Laura Mazzocchetti

See the website of Tommaso Tabanelli