CHIM/12 - 6 CFU - 1° Semester

Teaching Staff

Office: Edificio 1 Viale Andrea 6 Doria 95125 Catania
Phone: 095 738 5007
Office Hours: Su appuntamento

Learning Objectives

Educational goals: to provide the students with knowledge and skills in the field of environmental chemistry in order to develop the ability to critically analyse actual environmental cases. The aim of the course is oriented to stimulate autonomy of judgment and to promote ability in communication in the field.

Course Structure

Lessons. If the course would be at distance, or in presence and at distance at the same time, the necessary and appropriate changes to the statement originally declared will be introduced to comply to the program reported in the syllabus.

Detailed Course Content

Introduction: formation of the earth, of the primitive atmosphere and its evolution; the origin of life.

Environmental problems and their evaluation. The ecological footprint, the increase in temperature and the greenhouse effect. Capture and storage of the CO2.

Structure and composition of the current atmosphere. Air pollution: photochemical reactions in the troposphere and "smog" formation. Thermal inversion. Origin and diffusion of the acidity in the atmosphere. Acid rain. Origin and characteristics of the main pollutants in the atmosphere. Chemical reactions in the stratosphere: formation and destruction of ozone. Ozone hole: role of CFCs. Gaseous inorganic pollutants: CO, CO2, SO2, NOx, VOC.

The water compartment: chemical-physical properties of aqueous systems. The CO2/H2O system. Classification and environmental quality of water and its physical and chemical properties (pH, dissolved oxygen and biochemical/chemical oxygen demand, BOD and COD, water hardness, etc.). Drinking water and water pollution. Main classes of pollutants: chemistry, sources and mechanisms of action. Heavy metals in water and soil: Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic, Chromium, Tin. Complexing agents: synthetic (phosphates, EDTA, etc.) and natural (humic acids). Surfactants. Organic chlorinated compounds: non-persistent pesticides and PAHs. Redox potential in natural waters. The oxygen demand. Aerobic and anaerobic decomposition. Anions and Nutrients and the eutrophication problem. Oxidation resistant compounds. Bioaccumulation: bioavailability, bioconcentration and biomagnification.

Purification of waste and contaminated water. Water treatments: biological treatments, phytoremediation and energy recovery. Potabilisation treatments. Contamination and remediation of groundwaters.

The soil and its constituents. The sediments. Soil pollution. Municipal solid waste and industrial waste. Main organic and inorganic pollutants. Natural and anthropogenic organic pollutants: aromatic and non-aromatic hydrocarbons. Persistent organic micropollutants: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and furans (equivalent toxicity factors), polybrodiphenyl ethers, chlorinated and phosphorus pesticides, metals. Modern instrumental methods for environmental analysis: spectroscopic and chromatographic methods (GC and LC). Mass spectrometry and hyphenated techniques GC-MS and LC-MS.

Textbook Information

1) C. Baird e M. Cann, Chimica Ambientale (terza edizione italiana), ed. Zanichelli
2) S.E. Manahan, Chimica dell’ambiente, ed. Piccin
3) Environmental Chemistry 5th Edition, by Colin Baird (Author), Michael Cann (Author). Ed. W.H. Freeman and Company

Open in PDF format Versione in italiano