Chemical and Biological Engineering 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 - 56

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. Principles and Problems in Physical Chemistry for Biochemists, 3ª ed., N.C. Price, R. A. Dwek, M. Wormald, R.G. Ratcliffe, Oxford University Press, 2001.

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

2, 2-hour tests + homework using the ChemSep program.

The tests - prospective dates: 10th November and 13th January - will cover different topics mostly, although some of the topics dealt with at an earlier stage of the course will be readdressed later on, and articulated with new ones.

Each of the tests accounts for 40% of the final grade in the course, and the homework accounts for 20 %.

Testes will be taken individually, in-person.

The homework will be done in groups of ca. 4 students that may not belong to the same class. The work has to be submitted by the 13th December, and will be discussed orally during the regular sessions taking place on the 17th of December. During the oral discussion, questions will be addressed to specific members of the group whose answers will determine the grade earned by the whole group.

For a student to pass the course, the average of the 3 scores must be ≥ 9.5 points. Students who do not reach an average grade of 9.5 points can always take the final exam.


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

Students who have attended a previous edition of the course

If they chose the evaluation scheme described earlier, they must follow the rules that go with it, 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

Thermodynamics os ideal gases. 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 ideal and real gases. Fugacity. Solutions. Partial molar quantities. The Gibbs-Duhem equation. Ideal solutions. Colligative properties. Ideally dilute solutions. Nonideal solutions. Activity and activity coefficient. Excess functions. Liquid-liquid and solid-liquid equilibrium. Reaction equilibrium. Debye-Hückel theory of electrolyte solutions.


Programs where the course is taught: