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Unit outline_

CHNG9204: Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Chemical Engineering requires an understanding of material and energy transformations and how these are driven by molecular interactions. The rate of such transformations is dependent on driving forces and resistances, and these need to be defined in terms of fundamental physical and chemical properties of systems. This course seeks to provide students with a sound basis of the thermodynamics of chemical and biological systems, and how these, in turn, define limits of behaviour for such real systems. The thermodynamic basis for rate processes is explored, and the role of energy transfer processes in these highlighted, along with criteria for equilibrium and stability. Emphasis is placed on the prediction of physical properties of chemical and biological systems in terms of state variables. The course delivery mechanism is problem-based, and examples from thermal, chemical and biological processes will be considered, covering molecular to macro-systems scale. In addition, there will be considerable time spent during the semester on advanced topics related to the analysis of the behaviour of chemical and biological systems, and recent associated technological developments.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Credit points 6
CHNG2804 OR CHNG5704
Assumed knowledge

Calculus, linear algebra, numerical methods, computational tools (Matlab, Excel), basic mass and energy balances, heat transfer, mass transfer, momentum (from fluid mechanics), reaction balances.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Alejandro Montoya,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Final exam
Individual examination without invigilation
30% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Small test Regular online assessment
Individual Canvas Quiz, Special Consideration required to resit quiz
10% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Tutorial quiz Quiz 1
Individual Canvas Quiz, Special Consideration required to resit quiz
25% Week 05 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO3
Assignment group assignment Research Project
Seminar about special topics in thermodynamics
10% Week 08 15 min
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Tutorial quiz Quiz 2
Individual Canvas Quiz, Special Consideration required to resit quiz
25% Week 11 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Basic concepts of energy balance Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 02 The energy balance in engineering unit operations Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 03 Basic concepts of entropy and entropy balance in engineering unit operations Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 04 Thermodynamic properties of pure fluids under ideal conditions Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO4
Week 05 Thermodynamic properties of pure fluids under real conditions Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO4
Week 06 Basic concepts of binary phase equilibrium Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO7
Week 07 Phase equilibria of binary systems under ideal conditions Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO7
Week 08 Phase equilibria of binary systems under real conditions Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO7
Week 09 Basic concepts of refrigeration Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 10 Basic concepts of power production Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO6
Week 11 Basic concepts of motive power Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO6
Week 12 Basic concepts of thermodynamic equilibrium of reactive systems Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO6

Attendance and class requirements

Self learning: Students are expected to spend at least 3-4 hours per week of 'self learning' outside the specified contact periods in order to progress in the unit of study concepts.

Attendance: The lectures will be delivered online using Zoom. Each lecture will be recorded and available in the Canvas site whithin the first 24 hours after the lecture. You are highly encouraged to attend the zoom sessions at the time of lectures. I will make use of break-up sessions in Zoom during lecture times. Tutors will be available to provide feedback on tutorials during break-up sessions. 

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Lecture slides, tutorial exercises, electronic applications are available in the canvas site before each lecture. Also, students should study from the following primary books:

  • Modern Engineering Thermodynamics, Robert T. Balmer, Academic Press, 2011

Library online link to book:

Library online link to appendices


  • Fundamentals of Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, Kevin D. Dham and Donald P. Visco, Jr. 2015

Library online link to book:



Optional text:

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. undertake a literature review and present the results in a scientific report and participate in workshops
  • LO2. Identify thermodynamic equipment and interpret data obtained from practical experimental laboratory
  • LO3. estimate thermodynamic properties of non-reactive fluids by carrying out energy and entropy balances under steady and non-steady conditions
  • LO4. apply the concept of property interrelation of thermodynamic variables to predict state variables of chemical systems under ideal and non-ideal conditions
  • LO5. employ the concepts of mass, energy and entropy balance and property interrelations to predict state variables in turbine and refrigeration systems
  • LO6. perform thermodynamic calculations on motive power devices
  • LO7. characterise systems that include a mixture of phases and different component species using equilibrium principles in engineering thermodynamics.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No significant changes have been made since this unit was last offered


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.