00088 - Chemistry

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Sustainable cities Oceans Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student knows the basic principles of general chemistry and the chemical properties of elements and compounds, which are necessary for the study of geological processes and materials. He can : - utilize the IUPAC nomenclature, SI units, concentration expressions; - illustrate the atomic structure of the elements and classify compounds on the basis of the different kinds of chemical bond; - perform stoichiometric calculations using mole, concentration, pH, solubility; apply the principles of chemical equilibrium to homogeneous and heterogeneous systems, and illustrate the properties of the different aggregation states; - use the Periodic Table to identify the characteristics of the main elements and of their inorganic compounds.

Course contents

Introduction. Chemical and physical properties of matter; states of aggregation; phases.

Atoms and atomic theory. The fundamental laws of chemistry; subatomic particles; atomic symbols, atomic number and mass number, isotopes, ions; mole.

Atomic structure. Wave-particle dualism and quantum-mechanical model of atom; quantum numbers and their meaning, orbital shells and sub-shells, Hund rule and Pauli principle, electronic configurations.

Chemical compounds and periodic properties. The Periodic Table. Dimensions of atoms and ions, ionization energy, electronic affinity and interpretation of their periodic behavior. Chemical compounds.

Name of inorganic compounds. Oxidation number. Rules to determine the oxidation number. Name of inorganic compounds.

Stoichiometry. Chemical reactions, chemical equations and their balancing. Reactions in solution. Acid-base reactions. Redox reactions and their balancing. Combustion reactions. Titrations.

Chemical bond. Ionic bond: reticular energy, Born-Haber cycle, ionic radii and lattice structures. Covalent bond: octet rule, Lewis structures, multiple bonds, resonance, partial and formal charges, molecules geometry, valence bond model, hybrid orbitals. Electronegativity and polar bond. Intermolecular bonds: Van der Waals forces, hydrogen bond.

Gases. Properties of gases, laws of gases, ideal gas law, Dalton law on partial pressures; molecular kinetics theory; deviations from the ideal behavior in real gases; critical parameters.

Chemical thermodynamics. Heat and energy; first principle of thermodynamics. Enthalpy of reaction, standard states, Hess law, enthalpy of formation. Entropy and the second principle of thermodynamics. Free energy and reaction spontaneity.

The solid state. The solid state and the physical properties of solids. Crystal structures. Ionic, covalent, molecular and metallic solids. Polymorphism. Isomorphism. Biogenic minerals.

Phase diagrams. Phase diagrams of pure substances: equilibrium curves, triple point, critic point.

Liquids and solutions. Liquid properties. Solutions. Colligative properties: ebullioscopy, cryoscopy, osmotic pressure.

Chemical equilibrium. Equilibrium constant. Law of mass action. Relation between Kp and Kc. Principle of Le Chatelier. Homogeneous equilibrium. Dissociation of gases. Heterogeneous equilibrium.

Acid-base equilibria. Dissociation of water, pH, Properties of acids and bases, Brønsted-Lowry definition, acid-base conjugated pairs; strength of acids and bases; pH calculations for strong and weak acids and bases, salts and pH of their solutions; buffer solutions and buffering ability; titration curves; indicators.

Solubility equilibria. Solubility product. The common ion effect.

Electrochemistry. Chemical cells, Nerst equation, Table of standard-state reduction potentials, batteries. Electrolysis: electrolytic cells, Faraday laws.

Overview on the chemical properties of the principal elements. The periodic table and the periodic chemical characteristics; Elements and compounds of high geological relevance.


The topic treated in this course can be found in any recent university textbook of general chemistry. See, for exemple: L. Palmisano G. Marci, A. Costantini, G. Luciani, M. Schiavello, Elementi di Chimica EdiSES Napoli, II Edizione

Teaching material is provided, available through username and password at VIRTUALE - Online teaching support - University of Bologna.

Teaching methods

Lectures with the use of PowerPoint presentations. Exercises aimed to solve stoichiometry problems. Laboratory experiments.

Numerical exercises and laboratory activity are focused to acquire practical skills.

In consideration of the types of activities and teaching methods adopted, the attendance of this training activity requires the performance of all students of modules 1 and 2 in e-learning mode and participation in module 3 of specific training on safety and health in places of study. Information on dates and methods of attendance of module 3 can be consulted in the specific section of the degree program website. 

Assessment methods

The final examination consists in an oral exam, which tests the acquired abilities and knowledge. During the exam, the student can use the Periodic Table of the Elements. The first question of the test is a stoichiometry problem aimed to verify the student's knowledge of the names of inorganic compounds and of the meaning of chemical reaction, which are mandatory requirements to pass the exam. Further questions are addressed to evaluate the student's knowledge of the basic principles of general chemistry and of the chemical properties of elements and compounds.

Teaching tools

Overhead projector, PC, video projector, powerpoint presentations, laboratory instruments and tools.

The slides used in the lectures can be downloaded as PDF files from the Virtuale platform. Texts of problems and exercises will be available in the same platform.

Office hours

See the website of Elisa Boanini

See the website of Adriana Bigi