PCC-21802 Introductory Thermodynamics


Credits 2.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. PA Barneveld
dr. MMG Kamperman
Lecturer(s)dr. MMG Kamperman
dr. ir. JT Knuiman
dr. CW Hoogendam
dr. ir. PA Barneveld
Examiner(s)dr. ir. PA Barneveld
dr. MMG Kamperman

Language of instruction:

Dutch and/or English

Assumed knowledge on:

PCC-12303 General Chemistry 1 or PCC-12803 General Chemistry for the Life Sciences.

Continuation courses:

PCC-22306 Driving Forces in Chemistry, Physics and Biology; PCC-20806 Soft Matter.


Thermodynamics is the science that uses the First Law (energy is conserved) and the Second Law (entropy of the universe goes to a maximum) to describe how systems change when they interact with each other or with their surroundings. Thermodynamics was originally meant to increase the efficiency of steam engines, and has nowadays a prominent place in many scientific disciplines including cosmology, physics (phase transitions), chemistry (chemical reactions) and engineering (efficiency of energy conversion).
This course introduces thermodynamic concepts, including energy, enthalpy, entropy, chemical potential, Gibbs and Helmholtz free energy. On the basis of the First and Second Law of thermodynamics, the equilibrium concept will be introduced and used to describe reversible and irreversible processes. The Gibbs free energy has a central role in this. Given the molar Gibbs free energies of the reactants and products involved in a process, it can be deduced in what direction a process tends to go, what will be the maximum yield of a particular product and how the direction or yield for a process can be influenced by changing temperature, pressure and composition of a system.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- interpret processes and systems in terms of thermodynamic concepts;
- perform calculations of thermodynamic properties (e.g. heat, work, energy, entropy) for ideal gases;
- calculate the change of the molar Gibbs free energy of a pure substance and that of a component in a mixture in relation to temperature, pressure and composition of the mixture;
- calculate the molar Gibbs free energy of reaction and apply this to phase transitions and chemical reactions;
- calculate the equilibrium constant of a chemical reaction from standard molar Gibbs energy values;
- predict equilibrium shifts in relation to changes of temperature, pressure and composition.


- participate in lectures;
- participate in tutorials.


Written examination with open questions (statements, derivations and calculations).


To be announced.

Compulsory for: BBTBiotechnologyBSc6AF
BESEnvironmental SciencesBScC: Environmental Technology2MO
BMLMolecular Life SciencesBSc6AF
Restricted Optional for: MESEnvironmental SciencesMSc2MO
BLSBachelor Orientation year Life SciencesBSc6
BLSBachelor Orientation year Life SciencesBSc6MO