Surfaces and Interfaces


Provide to students specific knowledge related to the issue of surfaces and interfaces in materials.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Isabel Maria Mercês Ferreira


Weekly - 4

Total - 84

Teaching language



Although this discipline do not have mandatory precedence, it is recommended that students have done propedeutics disciplines of physics, mathematics and chemistry


Interfaces in Materials, Howe, James, John Wiley & Sons, 1997

Physical Chemistry of Surfaces, Adamson, Arthur, John Wiley & Sons, 1990

Physical Chemistry, Atkins, P.W., (6th Edition), Oxford, 1998

Teaching method

The lectures involve exposing the material through powerpoint, practical lessons solving problem alternate with labs.

Evaluation method

The evaluation is done through two tests for exemption from final exam with the following three conditions:

1) Final note resulting from the arithmetic mean of the marks obtained in two tests and notes of the reports of practical work.

2) Minimum grade in any of the tests: 6.0 values.

3) Average minimum exemption from final exam: 9.5


Due to covid-19 pandemic, evaluation has been changed to include the class questionaires (done at home) with 50% weight in theoretical grade (see below).


 a) 50% 1st Test (1st modulus – Sufaces L-L and S-L)) +50% class questionaire

b) 2nd Test (2nd modulus - Solubility in solids).

c) Reports on practical works and EXPO-FCT presentations

Frequency given by practical works (positiva grade in reports and assiduity in all works

Final grade = 50% b)+ 50%[50% c)+50% a)]

Grades obtained in evaluations done in the new teaching regime at home equal or higher than 15 may be subjected to oral evaluation.

Subject matter

Surfaces and interfaces. Classification of interfaces and interfacial tension or surface tension. Capillarity; Contact liquid / solid. Wettability. Contact angle, gas-solid adsorption. BET equation. Specific area of solids; roughness. Solid-solid friction. Wear; solid surfaces. Coordination and atomic energy surface. Effect of orientation on the structure and energy. Anisotropy of surface tension. Faceting. Thermodynamics of interfaces. Gibbs-Duhem equation. Gibbs equation. Concentration of excess. Adsorption positive and negative. Effect on surface tension. Surfactants. Segregation.