Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

MEng Chemical Engineering / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Chemical Thermodynamics

Unit code CHEN10192
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science
Available as a free choice unit? No



This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.


Introduction to intermolecular forces: Coulomb’s law and relative permittivities, polar interactions, induction, dispersion and hydrogen bonding; the Lennard –Jones potential; introduction to torsional potentials in alkanes. 

Revision of basic thermodynamics: Definitions of the main thermodynamic functions (e.g. U, H, A and G) and their differential forms for closed systems. Maxwell relations and their uses. Ideal gases and ideal gas mixtures, Dalton’s Law. Derivation of useful ideal gas relationships, such as the pressure and temperature dependence of the Gibbs energy. Open systems and chemical potentials. 

Phase behaviour of one component systems:  Phase diagram, conditions for phase equilibrium and the Gibbs Phase Rule. Clausius-Clapeyron and Antoine equations. Equations of state: ideal gas, virial expansion and cubic equations of state, e.g. Peng-Robinson (PR). Extraction of vapour-liquid equilibrium (VLE) and thermodynamic properties from an equation of state. Practical spreadsheet calculations using PR. Definition of fugacity. 

Vapour-liquid equilibrium behaviour of binary systems.  Phase diagrams for binary systems, ideal systems, positive and negative deviations from ideality, maximum and minimum boiling azeotropic systems. Brief introduction to ternary systems and the triangular representation. Equations of state approach using PR for mixtures, with practical computer calculations demonstrating azeotropic behaviour and retrograde condensation. Thermodynamic properties of ideal gas mixtures.  Activity models – deriva


The unit aims to.

Develop the laws of thermodynamics into working equations to describe phase and chemical equilibrium and to apply these to chemical engineering processes


Learning outcomes

ILO 1.Use a knowledge of intermolecular forces to qualitatively predict the properties of bulk matter.

ILO 2.Apply cubic equations of state to the properties of one component systems and binary mixtures

ILO 3.Predict the properties of liquid mixtures by using appropriate activity coefficient models To manipulate the equations governing chemical equilibria so as to model chemical engineering processes

ILO 4.Manipulate the equations governing chemical equilibria so as to model chemical engineering processes.

ILO 5.Run and critically evaluate excel-sheet modelling programs.

Teaching and learning methods

24 hours of lectures throughout the semester, including some revision classes. During the semester, regular pieces of formative coursework will be set. Use will be made of computer programs to solve many of these problems. The examination will involve the use of computers, both for multiple choice questions and for solving numerical questions.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 30%
Written exam 70%

Recommended reading

All reading lists now must be managed through the library tool at:


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 4
Independent study hours
Independent study 76

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Daniel Lee Unit coordinator
Andrew Masters Unit coordinator

Return to course details