93772 - Fundamentals of 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 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the students will be able to compare different industrial processes in term of efficiency (energy and material efficiency) by using Green Metrics and by following the Green Chemistry principles. In this way, several examples of commercial processes will be discussed. Moreover, the definition and the development of an integrated biorefinery as a way in order to increase the sustainability of the industrial chemistry production will be discussed in detail. Finally, the crucial role of catalysis as driving force for innovation will be underlined. At the same time the student will be able to manage the fundamentals of polymer science, both in terms of synthetic approaches and of structure-properties relationship. Basic principles of polymerization will be explained together with the main industrial implication in terms of macromolecular thermal and mechanical performances obtained

Course contents


Basic knowledge of thermodynamics and kinetics.

Basic knowledge of organic chemistry in order to understand the reactivity of different substrates in the reaction media of the chemical process.

Basic knowledge of inorganic chemistry for the understanding of the role and the main properties of the heterogeneous (or homogeneous) catalysts.

Basic knowledge of stoichiometry.


-Industrial Chemistry and Chemical Industry. The structure and the evolution of the chemical industry, from commodities to fine chemicals, from coal to renewables. Concept of bio-refinery.

- Definition of conversion, yield, selectivity and productivity applied to chemical processes. Hints on the economic aspects of the industrial chemistry processes.

- Definition of catalysis. Catalysis applied in industrial chemistry as a way to increase the sustainability of the processes. Heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis.

- Explanation of the different types of the industrial reactions (oxidation, hydrogenation, dehydrogenation, acid-catalysed reactions): main differences, characteristics and associated risks.

- Design of basic chemical processes: flow-sheet and material balance.

- Introduction to chemistry of macromolecules: monomers, omopolymers and copolymers, configuration and stereoregularity, macromolecules conformation, polymerization processes, molecular weight and molecular weight distribution.

- Polymers in the solid state: amorphous phase and crystal phase, glass transition (Tg) and melting/crystallization (Tm/Tc) in polymeric materials, characterization methods for determination of Tg and Tm/Tc

- Structure-properties correlation in polymers: thermoplastics, thermosettings, elastomers and fibers; thermal and thermo-mechanical properties in polymers

- Main industrially relevant polymers and their fields of application.


Scientific papers on specific topics will be discussed during the lectures (whenever necessary).

Teaching methods

The course is mainly based on frontal lectures with the use of Power Point presentations.

Assessment methods

Type of exam: 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.

Assessment approach: the oral exam will be divided in two sub-sessions.

The first part consists of an interview on the fundamentals of the chemical industry and on the sustainability of the industrial processes. The outcome of this part accounts for 50% of the final vote.

The second part will deal with assessment of the comprehension of basic concepts about the macromolecular chemistry and the correlation of polymer structure and properties lwith their final application. The outcome of this part accounts for 50% of the final vote.

The final mark, in a scale of 30th, will be the weighted average mark.

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 teachers 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 Tommaso Tabanelli

See the website of Laura Mazzocchetti