INDUSTRIAL AND POLYMER CHEMISTRY
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Knowledge and understanding
Polymeric materials are one of the most advanced fields of research in
chemistry. Polymer science is an highly multidisciplinary field, spanning
from organic chemistry to mechanical engineering, which cannot be
treated extensively in a single course. Object of the present course is the
general introduction to the field of polymer chemistry.
Applying knowledge and understanding.
The student will be able to apply the acquired theoretical knowledge in
the day to day practice in the field of polymer chemistry.
The students will have to be able to:
a) correlate the concepts (making judgements);
b) use them as theoretical background to tackle topics on polymer
sciernce not necessarily handled during the course, but connected with it
Knowledge: The main objective of the course is to provide students with
the general criteria useful for an industrial chemical process planning and
with the fundamental concepts that must be taken into account in
designing a plant. To this aim, some industrial chemical processes are
described and analyzed in terms of thermodynamic and kinetic aspects
and are also highlighted the most important technology. Problems
associated with the cost, sustainability and safety of an industrial process
are also discussed.
Applying knowledge and understanding: students will acquire the ability
to analyze thermodynamically and kinetically an industrial process,
highlighting the most important aspects and technological solutions. They
will also acquire concepts related to environmental and economic
sustainability of a process.
Proficiency in basic organic chemistry and basic physical chemistry.
Course contents summary
Definitions and nomenclature; average molecular weight; isomerism and
stereoisomerism; main classes of polymers, thermodynamic conditions
Step-growth polymerization: statistical treatment, theory of gelation.
Free radical polymerization, anionic and coordination polymerization.
Structure of polymers
Conformations and configurations of polymer chains, polymer
Crystallization, melting and glass transition.
Methods for the determination of the average molecular weight:
Spectroscopic methods for structural analysis: NMR.
Mechanical and reological properties
Introduction to viscoelasticity, mechanical and theoretical models of
Elements of thermodynamics and kinetics: finding the right operating
conditions (pressure, temperature, contact time) in conducting a
chemical reaction in some examples of industrial processes. Concepts of
yield, conversion and selectivity. Parallel and consecutive reactions. Mass
and energy balances applied to chemical industry. Examples of recycling,
by-pass and purge. Selection and design of a reactor in continuous or
discontinuous operation mode. Multiphase reactions. Use of
homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts in industrial field (examples
from petroleum industry). From laboratory to industry: problems
associated with the scale-up. Importance of availability of raw materials,
sustainability and safety of a chemical plant. Considerations on the
overall costs (fixed and variable) of a process (raw materials,
production,separation, purification products, use and/or disposal of byproducts,
equipment depreciation, personnel costs, etc..).
The aspects described so far will be illustrated with industrial processes
-Liquefaction of gases. Separation of air gases.
-Hydrogen and syngas.
-Nitrogen and nitrogen compounds: ammonia, hydrazine, nitric acid.
-Sulfur and sulfur compounds: sulfuric acid. Claus process.
-Chloro-alkali industry: chlorine and sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid,
Handsout furnished by the teacher, available online.
1) "Chimica Inorganica Industriale" Carlo Botteghi (Piccin)
2) "An Introduction to Industrial Chemistry" C. A. Heaton
3) "Organic Chemistry: Principles and Industrial Practice" Mark M. Green,
Harold A. Wittcoff
4) "Principi della Chimica Industriale" Vol. I e II G. Natta, L. Pasquon
Transparences and power point presentation.
The course is composed of 48 hours of lessons, during which students
are guided to the understanding of the basic principles of Industrial
Chemistry. During the lessons the general problems associated with the
conduction of a chemical reaction on industrial scale will be discussed .
The theoretical concepts will be exemplified with some industrial
processes of great importance.
Assessment methods and criteria
Written and oral examination
To verify the level of learning achieved, written tests with open questions
will be employed. The questions will span all the topics treated during the
course. This type of examination allows to determine in an absolute and
comparative fashion: 1) the competence on the different subjects; 2) the
ability in giving precise answers to specific questions; 3) the presentation
skills; 4) the exactness of the scientific language employed.
Two partial written exams, weigthing respectively 1/£ and 2/3 of the
written grade. Each question will be given a mark from 0 to 5. The marks
of the two written exams will be summed up and scaled to yield a grade
in the 30/30 range. Then the oral examination will determine the ability
of the student to discuss and correlate the topics learned. The oral will
add 0 to 3 points to the grade of the written examination.
Written and oral examination.
Knowledge and understanding of the concepts are verified by a written
test and an oral examination. Students who have passed the written test
can be admitted to the oral examination.
The student must demonstrate:
1) to understand the industrial chemical processes in all their aspects.
2) to be able to compare and discuss the processes individually and in a
critical way: for example, compare a process dated with a more
3) to use a proper language to describe the processes.
4) to be able to find connections among contents of other courses: for
example to explain in terms of thermodynamic and kinetic reaction of an
industrial process using the skills acquired in the courses of General and
Inorganic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry I.
The handsout are available online. The teacher is available for questionsupon appointment.