2020 Introduction to the Frontiers of Environmental Chemistry II

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Chemical Science and Engineering
Takahashi Yoshio  Yamada Keita  Toyoda Sakae 
Course component(s)
Lecture    (ZOOM)
Day/Period(Room No.)
Intensive ()  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

[Summary of the course] In this lecture, I would like to explain basic thermodynamics and analytical techniques to clarify the chemical states of various elements in environmental and geochemical samples. The information from atomic level obtained by the methods contributes to the better understanding of cycles of various materials, behaviors of toxic substances, and evolution of the earth. The research area can be called as "Molecular geochemistry", which can be assumed as the new direction of development of geochemical and environmental sciences.

[Aim of the course] I hope that the students who take this course will be able to predict the behaviors and cycles of inorganic materials at earth's surface based on the physico-chemical information at atomic level.

Student learning outcomes

At the end of this course, students will have following knowledge and capabilities.
(1) To understand the lows of distribution of elements and to know their abundances at earth’s surfaces
(2) To understand the concept of chemical state which governs the distribution of elements
(3) To learn various methods to know the abundances and chemical states of elements in environmental samples
(4) To understand the recent topics of environmental geochemistry such as radionuclides migration emitted from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, aerosols including PM2.5, and resource sciences for rare earth elements


Molecular geochemistry, chemical speciation, isotope, elemental cycle

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Lectures will be conducted by writing on blackboards, using power point slides, and hands out. Short discussion will be also introduced.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 1. Why do you have to know chemistry to understand earth and environment - Methods to know chemical state - Migration of cesium and iodine related to FDNPP accident - Decay of radionuclide and dating method 2. Basic thermodynamics - Entropy - Free energy - Standard formation free energy - dG = dH - TdS, dG =dG0 + RT ln a, G0 = - RTlnK - Law of mass action 3. Compelxation reaction and classification of elements - Stability constant and estimation of soluble species - Ionic bonding and covalent bonding - Geochemical classification of elements 4. Redox reaction, Eh-pH diagram - Nernst equation, Eh-pH diagram - Manganese nodules - Cerium isotope and evolution of the atmosphere 5. Solubility of elements and its controlling factors - Solubility under oxic condition - Solubility under reducing condition - Evolution of the earth and essential elements 6. Geochemistry at solid-water interfaces - Metal resources - Isotopic fractionation during adsorption reaction and its application to paleo research 7. Environmental chemistry of toxic elements - Environmental chemistry of arsenic and antimony - Iron-oxidizing bacteria - Antimony isotope and its application to environmental chemistry - Antimony and lead in plastic materials 8. Rare earth element geochemistry - HSAB theory - Tetrad effect - REE adsorption on DNA 9. Aerosol chemistry - Neutralization of acid rain - Cooling effect of aerosols - Iron cycle and primary productivity - Zinc isotope and chemical species in aerosols 1) Explain why you have to know the chemistry to understand various environmental problems. 2) Explain the physico-chemical aspects of the phenomena. 3) Give examples that can be understood by physico-chemical reactions in environment including variation of abundances and isotopic ratios of various elements.


None required.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

None required.

Assessment criteria and methods

Attendance is taken in every class. Full attendance are compulsory. Report on relation between own study theme and chemical substances cycles and/or cutting-edge technologies introduced is assessed.

Related courses

  • CAP.I405 : Environmental Chemistry
  • CAP.I419 : Analytical Techniques for Environmental Chemistry
  • CAP.I536 : Advanced Material Cycle Analysis
  • CAP.I435 : Advanced Geochemistry
  • CAP.I481 : Introduction to the Frontiers of Environmental Chemistry I

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisites

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