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Cursus: GEO4-1439
Aquatic and Environmental Chemistry
Cursus informatie
Studiepunten (ECTS)7,5
Categorie / NiveauM (Master)
CursustypeCursorisch onderwijs
Aangeboden doorFaculteit Geowetenschappen; Graduate School Geowetenschappen; M Earth Sciences;
Contactpersoondr. M. Wolthers
dr. T. Behrends
Overige cursussen docent
Contactpersoon van de cursus
dr. M. Wolthers
Overige cursussen docent
1  (03-09-2018 t/m 09-11-2018)
TimeslotC: MA-middag/namiddag,DI-middag, DO-ochtend
Cursusinschrijving geopendvanaf 28-05-2018 08:00 t/m 24-06-2018 23:59
Inschrijven via OSIRISJa
Inschrijven voor bijvakkersJa
Na-inschrijving geopendvanaf 20-08-2018 08:00 t/m 21-08-2018 23:59
PlaatsingsprocedureStudiepunt/Student desk
Wouldn’t it be fascinating to understand which chemical principles play a key role in the Earth’s near surface environments? At the end of the course, you will have the theoretical foundation and practical skills to interpret and predict the composition of natural or contaminated waters based on equilibrium thermodynamics. You will have an overview of quantitative concepts to describe acid base properties of solids and solutions, redox speciation of certain inorganic and organic compounds in aqueous solution, solubility of solids, metal speciation in aqueous solution, distribution of compounds between different phases, and the adsorption of ions at the solid-liquid interface. You will also have learned how to use computer-based chemical speciation models and practiced your writing and assessment skills.
The course deals with processes that control the composition of water in aquifers, soils, lakes, and in the ocean. The focus lies on using equilibrium approaches to describe and quantify these processes.
The course is organized around three main themes:
  1. Speciation of dissolved compounds in aqueous solution:
    Acid-base reactions, complexation of metals, redox speciation, introduction into quantitative methods in aquatic chemistry including the tableau method and speciation models.
  2. Partitioning of compounds between different phases:
    Thermodynamics of equilibrium partitioning, gas – water partitioning, solid-water partitioning, liquid – liquid partitioning
  3. Adsorption at the solid-water interfaces:
    adsorption isotherms, surface reactivity of solids, surface complexation, ion exchange
The course includes project-based work. These projects are devoted to processes controlling the composition of waters in surface and subsurface environments or the phase distribution and transformation inorganic compounds in aquatic environments. Computer equilibrium models will be used to solve quantitative problems related to the different projects.

Development of transferable skills
  • Ability to work in a team: The quantitative problems related to various projects in the course are solved in teams, typically couples. Important part of the team work is the critical assessment and discussion of results obtained from the chemical equilibrium models.
  • Written communication skills: students are introduced to the scientific review process. They write a scientific manuscript, review manuscripts from their fellow students and improve their manuscripts based on the comments. 
  • Problem-solving skills: In the projects, students have to find a strategy to answer the given research or practical questions.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: Students have to learn to conceptualize processes affecting the composition of natural waters. Conceptual understanding is a prerequisite to properly define problem sets in chemical equilibrium models.
  • Technical skills: students are introduced to the methodology to solve quantitative problems in the field of aquatic chemistry including chemical equilibrium models.
Je moet een geldige toelatingsbeschikking hebben
Basic calculus, derivatives and integration.
Basic knowledge of equilibrium thermodynamics.
Basic concepts in chemistry and geochemistry.
Voorkennis kan worden opgedaan met
Reading the following chapters in a standard students Chemistry textbook: “Thermochemistry/Thermodynamics”, and “Acids and Bases”.
At the start of the course, you will take a short, non-graded test in Blackboard to refresh required knowledge.
Bronnen van zelfstudie
For example, the textbook used during the BSc GEO1-1122 Chemistry of the Earth: “Chemistry” by McMurry and Fay. In Blackboard, links to relevant weblectures will be provided for you to work on deficiencies.
Verplicht materiaal
Aanbevolen materiaal
François M. M. Morel, Janet G. Hering. Principles and Applications of Aquatic Chemistry. John Wiley & Sons, 1993.
Additional reading material will be provided to the students.
Computer practicals

Bijdrage aan groepswerk
During computer practicals, you will work in pairs.


In lectures, we will treat key examples and show controlling principles and material properties that are at work behind the scenes. During tutorials, you will also learn to apply these principles (on paper and computer), starting off fairly simple and ending with complex natural systems. Computer equilibrium models will be used to solve quantitative problems related to the different projects.

Voorbereiding bijeenkomsten
The course includes project-based work, on which you will mostly work outside class. For these projects, you will write a short geochemistry paper and one project includes a peer-assessment round. While this project is aimed to get in depth understanding of geochemical processes, it is also a great opportunity to work on your writing skills and get prepared to write an MSc thesis.


Bijdrage aan groepswerk
During tutorials, you will work in pairs.

Minimum cijfer-

Assignments (40%)
These assignments are project-based work, on which you will mostly work outside class. For these projects, you will write a short geochemistry paper and one project includes a peer-assessment round.

Written Examination (60%)
This examination will consist of approximately 60% questions that are similar to the tutorial questions and approximately 40% open and true/false questions on the concepts and contents of the course.

For further conditions, see course guide.

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