Third-Cycle Courses

Faculty of Engineering | Lund University

Details for the Course Syllabus for Course VBM002F valid from Autumn 2021

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  • English
  • Every other spring semester
  • The primary aim is to give the participants an overview of isothermal calorimetry and how this measurement technique can be used in different fields of science and technology. After the course the participants should be able to use an isothermal calorimeter.

    Secondary aims are to encourage participants to:
    • collaborate cross-disciplinary (for example, students of chemistry working together with students of civil engineering).
    • read literature in other fields than their own.
    • develop ad hoc experimental procedures and instrumentation.
  • Practically all processes - physical, chemical and biological - are accompanied by energy changes expressed as release or uptake of heat. These changes may be determined by calorimetric measurements and calorimetry is therefore a measurement technique that can be used in all fields of science and technology, for example for:

    - Stability measurements of explosives, oxidative agents etc.
    - Heat capacity measurement on solids and liquids.
    - Compatibility testing, e.g. of chemicals and packaging materials
    - Sorption of vapors on solids like textiles, pharmaceuticals, food stuffs etc.
    - Microbial growth in different types of food
    - Mapping of phase diagrams
    - Cement hydration as a function of water-cement ratio, temperature, additives etc.
    - Battery efficiency as a function of discharging program
    - Corrosion of metals in gas and liquid
    - Enthalpy of vaporization of water and other liquids
    - Seed and grain germination

    In this course I will give an introduction to calorimetry with the focus on isothermal (non-scanning) calorimetry. The course will include seminars, experimental work and text studies. The course ends with an exam (or home exam for those who are not in Lund at that time). The experiments will be made on isothermal calorimeters at Division of Building Materials.
Knowledge and Understanding
  • For a passing grade the doctoral student must
  • To pass the course a participant must:
    - be able to describe the essential features of an isothermal (heat conduction) calorimeter (thermostat, heat flow sensor, reference, calibration coefficient, baseline, time constant, electrical calibration by the steady state method, stability and resolution of instruments, choice of reference).
    - know the most common uses of isothermal calorimetry (cement hydration, stability/degradation, titration, heat capacity measurements).
    - know the most common sources of error in isothermal calorimetry (evaporation, friction, pressure-volume work).
    - have a knowledge of basic concepts of chemistry (pH, rate constants and rate laws, equilibrium constant & law of mass action, enthalpy, heat capacity, heat, thermal power, activation energy).
    - be able do basic evaluation of results of six types of calorimetric measurements:
    1. Qualitative assessment of influence of additive (cement hydration retardation, food preservatives).
    2. Integrated heat of a process (cement hydration, biological experiments).
    3. Rate of degradation from thermal power and enthalpy.
    4. Heat capacity from drop-cp measurements.
    5. Rate constant and enthalpy from thermal power from first order reaction.
    6. Activation energy from calorimetric measurements at several temperatures.
Competences and Skills
  • For a passing grade the doctoral student must
  • The participants should improve their skills during the course. This cannot only be tested in an examination, and is therefore mainly assessed from a participant's activity during the course. To pass the course a participant should:
    - be able to identify the critical parts of a proposed experiment with isothermal calorimetry and make reasonable simple calculations about whether an experiment is worth trying.
    - show basic laboratory skills and judgement concerning such issues as laboratory safety, notekeeping, keeping order in workspace during experiment, and leavning workspace in good order after experiment.
    - be able to discuss the experiments, both their own and thise of the other participants.
Judgement and Approach
  • For a passing grade the doctoral student must
  • Engage with the experimental problems that arises during the course and have an open mind concerning their own experiments. It is also essential that the participants can value their results, both in terms of trueness and scatter.
Types of Instruction
  • Seminars
  • Laboratory exercises
  • Self-study literature review
  • The time schedule for the course is decided at the start of the course.
Examination Formats
  • Written exam
  • Seminars given by participants
  • Activity during the seminars and the experimental part of course.
  • Failed, pass
Admission Requirements
  • All PhD-students at engineering, science and medical departments are qualified
Assumed Prior Knowledge
  • None
Selection Criteria
  • None
  • Scientific papers.
Further Information
  • Lars Wadsö, Building Materials LTH (
Course code
  • VBM002F
Administrative Information
  •  -02-18
  • FN3 /Per Tunestål

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