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The subject covers important aspects of the structure and chemistry of the hydrosphere, atmosphere and lithosphere (soil) sources, chemistry and impact of environmental pollution. Subject topics also include the principles and application of quantitative chemical analysis and environmental monitoring (calibration methods; experimental errors; volumetric analysis, spectrophotometry, gas and liquid chromatography, and atomic absorption spectrometry).
A key aspect of this subject will be the comprehensive investigation of a current environmental chemistry issue, which will be covered in a small-group, scenario-based learning mode.
The practical component of this subject will involve the application of titrimetric, optical (spectrophotometry, atomic absorption spectrometry) and chromatographic (gas chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography) analytical techniques to the determination of compounds of environmental interest.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should have developed skills in recognising chemically based environmental problems, an awareness of the possible effects of chemicals on the environment and a capacity to interpret environmental data and to apply diverse chemical principles in the explanation of environmental phenomena.
Students should appreciate the need for high quality environmental chemical analysis and the importance of selecting and utilising appropriate analytical methods and techniques for their monitoring. Students should understand the principles of the key analytical methods used in environmental chemistry.
Students should also develop skills in investigating contemporary environmental chemistry issues, a consideration of the wider context of these issues, generic skills in operating in small teams and an awareness of professional practice as a scientist.
Through the practical component of this subject students should acquire enhanced laboratory skills in using classical analytical methods and modern spectrometric and chromatographic techniques, which are widely employed in environmental monitoring and analysis.
This subject will provide students with opportunities to develop the following generic skills:
- the ability to comprehend complex concepts and effectively communicate this understanding to the scientific community and in a manner accessible to the wider community
- the ability to analyse and solve abstract technical problems;
- the ability to connect and apply the learnt concepts to a broad range of scientific problems beyond the scope of this subject;
- an awareness of advanced technologies;
- the ability to use conceptual models to rationalise observations;
- the ability to think and reason logically.
Upon completion of this subject students should gain skills in:
- critical thinking;
- data evaluation and interpretation;
- conducting literature searches using scientific databases;
- oral presentation; (must show in assessment)
- working collaboratively with other students.
Last updated: 18 December 2020