Chemical Thermodynamics


Understanding the basic concepts of thermodynamics (laws of thermodynamics and relationships between the macroscopic equilibrium properties of a system), with an emphasis on phase equilibrium and reaction equilibrium.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Susana Filipe Barreiros


Weekly - 4

Total - 63

Teaching language





1. Physical Chemistry, I. Levine, 6ª ed., McGraw-Hill, 2009.

2. Termodinâmica Aplicada, E. Gomes de Azevedo, 4ª ed., Escolar Editora, 2018.

3. Physical Chemistry for the Biological Sciences, 2ª ed., G.G. Hammes, S. Hammes-Schiffer, Wiley, 2015.

4. Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences, 2ª ed., P. Atkins, J. de Paula, WH Freeman and Company, 2011.

Teaching method

All lectures combine the presentation of fundamental concepts with problem solving, a key element of any physical chemistry course involving a reasonable load of mathematics (kept as simple as possible).

Evaluation method

Students enrolled in the course for the first time

5 one-hour tests throughout the semester.

These tests will cover mostly different topics, although some of the topics dealt with at an earlier stage of the course will be readdressed later on, and articulated with new ones.

Only 4 of these 5 tests will contribute to the final grade in the course, each one weighing 25 %.

For a student to pass the course, the average of the 4 scores must be ≥ 9.5 points.

Students may miss 1 of the 5 tests without any repercussions.

Students who do not reach an average grade of 9.5 points in the tests can take the final exam.


Students enrolled the course for the first time must sit though a  minimum of 2/3 of the sessions.

Prospective dates of tests

Test 1 – week 5.

Test 2 – week 8.

Test 3 – week 10

Test 4 – week 13.

Test 5 – the week after the last week of classes.

Sstudents who have attended a previous edition of the course

If they opt for continuous evaluation, they will have to follow the rules given above, although they will not be required to attend a minimum of 2/3 of the sessions.

Alternatively they may choose to take the final exam only.

Subject matter

Internal energy. Work and heat. The first law of thermodynamics. P-V work. Heat capacity. Perfect gases and the first law. The second law of thermodynamics. The Carnot cycle. Entropy. Temperature scales. Helmholtz and Gibbs energies. Thermochemistry. Standard enthalpy and entropy. The third law of thermodynamics. Fundamental equations for a closed system in equilibrium. The Maxwell relations. The Gibbs-Helmholtz equation. Extension of the Gibbs equations to processes involving exchange of matter with the surroundings or irreversible composition changes. The chemical potential. One-component phase equilibrium. The phase rule. The Clapeyron equation. Chemical potential of an ideal gas. Real gases. Fugacity and fugacity coefficient. Solutions. Partial molar quantities. The Gibbs-Duhem equation. Ideal solutions. Raoult''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s law. Freezing-point depression and boiling-point elevation. Ideal solubility of a solid in a liquid. Osmotic pressure. Ideally dilute solutions. Henry''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s law. Nonideal solutions. Activity. Convention I and Convention II activity coefficients. Excess functions. Partial miscibility. Reaction equilibrium. The equilibrium constant. The Debye-Hückel theory of electrolyte solutions.


Programs where the course is taught: