MEng Chemical Engineering with Energy and Environment / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Chemical Thermodynamics

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEN10192
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by
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

Lectures provide fundamental aspects supporting the critical learning of the module and will be delivered as pre-recorded asynchronous short videos via our virtual learning environment.

Synchronous sessions will support the lecture material with Q&A and problem-solving sessions where you can apply the new concepts. Surgery hours are also available for drop-in support.

Feedback on problems and examples, feedback on coursework and exams, and model answers will also be provided through the virtual learning environment. A discussion board provides an opportunity to discuss topics related to the material presented in the module.

Students are expected to expand the concepts presented in the session and online by additional reading (suggested in the Online Reading List) in order to consolidate their learning process and further stimulate their interest to the module.

Study budget:

  • Core Learning Material (e.g. recorded lectures, problem solving sessions): 24 hours
  • Self-Guided Work (e.g. continuous assessment, extra problems, reading)     : 44 hours
  • Exam Style Assessment Revision and Preparation: 32 hours

Assessment methods

Assessment Types

Total Weighting

Continuous assessment


Exam style assessments


Please note that the exam style assessments weighting may be split over midterm and end of semester exams. 

Recommended reading

Reading lists are accessible through the Blackboard system linked to the library catalogue.

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Daniel Lee Unit coordinator
Andrew Masters Unit coordinator

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