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Unit of study_

CHEM3920: Environmental and Analytical Chemistry (Adv)

No greater challenge faces humanity than that posed by the need to understand our impact on the environment, to accurately measure that impact and to develop and implement strategies to return us, globally, to a sustainable existence. In this unit we address the first two aspects of this challenge. The unit provides an introduction to the essential chemistry of the atmosphere, water and soil, the chemistry associated with the environmental impact of compounds arising from human activity and some of the major analytic techniques used in measuring the concentration of chemical species in the environment. You will learn the basic concepts underlying global warming, ozone hole, aerosols, photochemical smog, CO2 capture by oceans, environmental acidification, water purification and desalination, soil salinity and soil contamination by heavy metals and organic waste. You will investigate the fundamentals of analytic methods including atomic absorption spectroscopy, flame photometry, gas chromatography, gravimetric methods and mass spectrometry. By doing this unit you will develop a solid understanding of the interaction between the natural environment and human chemical activity, the capacity to assess discussion of environmental issues in an informed and critical manner and establish a solid foundation for continuing involvement in the areas of environmental and analytic chemistry. Advanced students attend in addition an advanced seminar series to gain more in-depth disciplinary knowledge where they actively engage with a diverse range of contemporary chemical research problems and case studies. They gain additional opportunities to develop skills in collaborative work and enhance their written and oral communication skills.

Code CHEM3920
Academic unit Chemistry Academic Operations
Credit points 6
A mark of 65 or greater in [(CHEM2401 or CHEM2911 or CHEM2915) and (CHEM2402 or CHEM2524 or CHEM2912 or CHEM2916 or CHEM2924)] or a mark of 65 or greater in (CHEM2521 or CHEM2921 or CHEM2991)
CHEM2404 or CHEM3120

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Explain the interaction between the natural environment and human chemical activity and challenges it poses to humanity.​
  • LO2. Frame the underlying key environmental challenges including global warming, aerosols, photochemical smog, carbon dioxide capture, water purification and soil salinity and contamination in chemical language​.
  • LO3. Apply knowledge gained on a range of analytical techniques to measure the concentration of chemical species in the environment.​
  • LO4. Examine discussion of environmental issues in an informed and critical manner.
  • LO5. Carry out experimental work safely and competently in a chemical laboratory​.
  • LO6. Develop skills to work collaboratively in responsible data collection, analysis and communication and advance chemical enquiry.​
  • LO7. Evaluate and interpret scientific information and experimental data and judge their reliability and significance​.
  • LO8. Communicate scientific information and laboratory findings appropriately both orally and through written work​ and engage in discussions on contemporary topics in chemistry​.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 1 week before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.