First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP9087658, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1169, Degree course structure A.Y. 2018/19, A.Y. 2019/20
bring this page
with you
Degree course track Common track
Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY OF FLUIDS
Department of reference Department of Chemical Sciences
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge ALBERTA FERRARINI CHIM/02
Other lecturers GIORGIO MORO CHIM/02

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses CHIM/02 Physical Chemistry 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2018 course timetable

Prerequisites: Concept of mathematics: power series expansion, derivatives, integrals.
Termodynamics: principles, thermodynamic potentials and their properties.
Quantum mechanics: Schroedinger equation, wavefunction, model of particle in a box.
Target skills and knowledge: The course is aimed at giving students the basic concepts and methodological skills for the quantitative interpretation of the properties of fluids, with special emphasis on soft matter. This term indicates a variety of systems (colloids, macromolecular solutions, liquid crystals, polymers, emulsions, membranes,..), which can be found in everyday life and in industry, and represent the major constituents of living matter. The behaviour of such complex systems can be understood using relatively simple models, based on concepts that are relevant for the time- and length-scales at play. The course presents the models and experiments used to explain the phase transitions, the organization and the properties of the systems, in relation to the underlying microscopic structure and interactions.
Examination methods: Oral exam with at least three open questions, which allow students to use the concepts and methods acquired in the two parts of the course.
Assessment criteria: The exam is meant to evaluate the students' capability to apply the concepts and methods developed in the course with autonomy and awareness.
Course unit contents: The first part of the course will introduce concepts and methods of statistical themodinamics (distribution functions, partition functions and thermodynamic properties). These will be used to examine fluctuations on the microscopic and molecular scale, intermolecular correlations and thermodynamic properties of simple liquids.
In the second part of the course, the concepts and methods developed in the first part will be applied to topics such as:
- Colloids and dispersed/supramolecular systems: effective interactions (van der Waals and entropic forces, Poisson-Boltzmann theory, DLVO theory), tuning of attractive interactions (phase diagrams of colloids and of protein solutions).
- Polymers: conformational and elastic properties of polymers (freely-jointed and worm-like chain models) and their experimental determination (measure of shape fluctuations and stretching of single polymers); liquid-liquid phase separation (Flory-Huggins theory); coil-globule transition.
- Anisotropic systems: liquid crystals, lipid membranes.
The course includes also some mention of experimental methods for the investigation of the structure and order of fluids, in particular scattering and microscopy techniques and single molecule experiments.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Classroom lectures.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Teaching material, handouts and copy of slides will be made available on the teachers website.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • J.-P. Hansen , I. R. McDonald, Theory of Simple Liquids with Applications to Soft Matter. Oxford: Academic Press, 2013. (testo generale, di eventuale consultazione su argomenti specifici)
  • D. Chandler, Introduction to Modern Statistical Mechanics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. (testo di base di meccanica statistica) Cerca nel catalogo
  • R. A. L. Jones, Soft Condensed Matter. Oxford: OUP, 2002. Cerca nel catalogo
  • R. Piazza, Soft Matter. The Stuff That Dreams Are Made of. Dordrecht: Springer, 2011. (testo di tipo divulgativo) Cerca nel catalogo
  • I. W. Hamley, Introduction to Soft Matter, Synthetic and Biological Self-assembling Materials. Chichester: Wiley, 2007. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Questioning
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Quality Education Gender Equality Reduced Inequalities