This course covers fundamental principles of geochemical kinetics, from the atomistic treatment of reaction rates and mechanisms to the quantitative description of chemical dynamics of natural systems.|
By the end of the course:
the students are able derive and apply quantitative expressions for describing the rates of biogeochemical processes;
the students are familiar with important principles and fundamental theories of chemical reactions;
the students have learned about various applications of chemical kinetics to problems related to Earth Science;
the students have critically studied current literature on kinetic processes in the field of Earth Sciences;
the students have advanced their skills of explaining or teaching kinetic concepts to an audience of non-experts.
Most of the examples discussed in the course are biogeochemical processes in aquatic environments. As part of the course, the students have to study independently chapters from the textbook Geochemical Kinetics by Y. Zhang. Students have to solve problems in the book and their solutions will be graded.
- Rates of geochemical reactions. Rate equations, reaction mechanisms, elementary reactions, order of reactions, steady state, Arrhenius equation, principle of detailed balancing, Michaelis-Menten kinetics, heterogeneous kinetics.
- Theory of chemical kinetics: Collision theory, diffusion controlled reactions in solution, transition state theory, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, kinetic processes under non-hydrostatic conditions.
- Applications of geochemical kinetics: Mineral dissolution and growth, kinetics of microbially mediated reactions, kinetics of redox reactions, kinetics of reactions in aqueous solution, geochronology, geospeedometry.
Development of Transferable Skills
- Ability to work in the team: (Video) lectures are prepared in teams. Students have to distribute tasks, organize the workflow and are responsible for the time planning.
- Problem solving: students receive data from (virtual) experiments and have to use different approaches to parameterize empirical rate laws.
- Verbal communication skills: emphasis is put on transferring knowledge to non-expert audience / teaching, including the definition of teaching goals, planning a (video) lecture and preparing/presenting the lecture. Students are familiarized with techniques required to prepare video lectures.
- Analytical / quantitative skills: analytical and numerical integration of differential equations. Solving quantitative problems related to kinetic processes.
- Technical skills: using the computer programmes Excel, Matlab and Stella for numerical integration of differential equations.