Chemistry for Engineers

The course is conceived within a framework of four fundamental scientific-knowledge domains that underpin chemical engineering as a discipline: i) conservation of matter and energy; ii) structure and properties of matter; iii) equilibrium and spontaneity; and, iv) rates of reaction and transport.

The course comprises six modules. At the end of each module, students are expected to be able to explain observable physical phenomena from a microscopic viewpoint and to apply this understanding to the analysis and solution of practical problems. At the end of the course, students should be able to recognize the relevance of physical chemistry to their own engineering discipline and also be able to communicate with other professionals, including physical chemists and chemical engineers, using appropriate terminology. Modules 2, 3 and 5 are currently available and modules on stoichiometry, equilibrium in reactive systems, and rates of reaction are expected to be available by Fall 2017.

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2. States of Matter

This module addresses the following concept domain: Structure and Properties of Matter. After completing this module, students should be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the properties of the three states of matter with reference to molecular interactions.
  • Apply the ideal gas law to problems involving gases in closed systems.

3. Phase Equilibrium

This module addresses the following concept domains: Conservation of Matter and Energy, Structure and Properties of Matter, and Equilibrium and Spontaneity. After completing this module, students should be able to:

  • Explain phase transitions and the approach to dynamic equilibrium between different phases from microscopic and macroscopic points of view.
  • Quantitatively describe a variety of phase equilibria in non-reactive systems.
  • Apply your understanding of phase equilibrium to solve a variety of problems relevant to engineering practice and everyday life.

5. Equilibrium in Electrochemical Systems

This module addresses the following concept domains: Conservation of Matter and Energy, Structure and Properties of Matter, and Equilibrium and Spontaneity. After completing this module, students should be able to:

  • Identify reduction-oxidation (redox) reactions and justify the identification with reference to atomic oxidation states and electron transfer.
  • Calculate cell potentials and the direction of spontaneous reaction for cells at standard and non-standard conditions.

Additional Information

The course material was developed by Eline Boghaert, Jason Grove and Marios Ioannidis from the Department of Chemical Engineering and implemented by the Centre for Extended Learning. Funding was provided by Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (former Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities) through the Shared Online Course Fund.