CH400 Special Topics in Chemistry

for UU 2007

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CH 400 Special Topics in Chemistry  Environmental Chemistry


UU 2007 HOZ


Chernovitz, Patricia

Office Location


Office Hours


Daytime Phone

816 584 6338


Web Page

Semester Dates

04 June 2007 - 31 July 2007

Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours



James E. Girard, Principles of Environmental Chemistry, Jones and Bartlett, 2005

(ISBN 0-7637-2471-8)

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
A seminar devoted to selected topics in modern chemistry of interest to students requiring more depth in the field. The course may involve laboratory work. PREREQUISITE: Permission of instructor. Variable credit: 1-4 hours.
Environmental chemistry is the study of the processes that affect the fate and transport of specific compounds that act as contaminants on local- to global-scale levels. In general, the compounds under consideration tend to be anthropogenic contaminants (those compounds, both organic and inorganic, released into the environments from human activities). The behavior of contaminants is influenced by physical, chemical, and biological processes naturally occurring within various ecosystems. This course describes these processes and the extent to which they affect different classes of contaminants. 

Educational Philosophy:

The instructor’s educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, quizzes, problems, dialogues, examinations, internet, videos, web sites and writings along with the lab experience. The instructor will engage each learner in what is referred to as disputatious learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues, and contradictions. The goal is to transfer adequate and sufficient amount of knowledge to all students at the appropriate level. In doing so making sure 1) students understand what is being conveyed; 2) prepare students for the next level of education; 3) develop the understanding of study such that they adapt the process of thinking rather than memorize facts and principles; 4) develop practical skills and techniques to work confidently in the laboratories; 5) demonstrate how chemistry is part of our daily lives; 6) to use alternative and diverse methods of teaching to keep the student motivated and interested during the course of study during the semester and hopefully the rest of their lives.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss and examine a topic that is not normally offered as a formal class in chemistry.
  2. Demonstrate a degree of competency via readings, discussions, and/or experimentation in the area of chemistry in which the course is offered.
  3. Research the appropriate journals to write professionally in the area.
  4. Master the instrumentation and laboratory skills required for the subject level.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify the major sources of chemicals introduced into the environment and describe their reactivity and eventual fate.
  2. Develop a sensitivity for the environmental impact of large quantities of industrially produced chemicals
  3. Describe the health effects of organic and inorganic pollutants
  4. Explain the equilibrium processes which support life in aquatic environment.
  5. Develop an understanding of the chemical/physical processes in the natural environment
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the major sources of energy and explain viable alternative sustainable and renewable sources of energy.
  7. Explain the chemical processes involved in global warming, acid rain and photochemical smog
  8. Describe the chemical processes involved in water treatment
Core Assessment:
Papers, homework, reports, presentations, proficiency of lab work

Class Assessment:

Your final grade will be based on two (2) papers, chapter summaries, and chapter problem sets.

CORE ASSESSMENT: Major paper (20% of grade)



Grading Plan

Your earned final grade is bases on you performance on two papers, chapter summaries, and homework.


Paper 1                                  150 points                                 A             1737-1930 Total points

Paper 2                                  250 points                                  B             1544-1736      (“)

Chapter summaries (18x15pts) 270                                          C             1351-1543      (“)

Problems/questions (18x70)    1260                                          D             1158-1350      (“)

Total Points                              1930                                         F              <1158             (“)

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Against the rules. 

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Additional Information:



Chemistry 400  See professor's website for more details
Literature Review Paper 1 – 150 points





The objective of this assignment is the preparation of a literature report demonstrating your ability to search the physical chemical reference literature for specialized information related to a specific instrumental analysis technique. The nature of the assignment allows you to fulfill this task by selecting a topic that is of personal interest to you, perhaps because of past experience or (future) interests.

You should select a unique topic that involves physical chemistry in some way. You must obtain approval from Dr. Chernovitz for your topics before proceeding with the writing of the reports. Finding good topics is the hardest step for many students. One way to find a topic is to browse current journals that publish physical chemistry papers. If possible, a key literature reference might be selected to provide an "entrance" to the literature of the chosen area.  See suggested Journals on page 5.


Presumably, if you choose a topic of interest to you, you may find yourself motivated enough to read in detail all the articles that you find! As your chemistry career progresses, it is exactly this sort of reading on your own that will serve as an important way to advance your knowledge. The summary and list of journal references that you produce should be complete enough to provide an adequate overview of the current state-of-the-art in the selected topic.

The reference list of research publications related to your chosen topic should place emphasis on journal articles published within the last few years.





References older than 10 years should not be included unless they represent truly major contributions or unless the literature is sparse. The primary source of this reference list should be research journals not textbooks, although textbooks may be listed as background references if necessary. Because the emphasis is on recent literature, it is appropriate to seek material from the following sources:

a. Scan current journals for articles published in the last few months.

b. Search abstracting indexes such as "Current Contents" for appropriate keywords related to the topic; this will identify publications 6-12 months old.

c. Having found an article in the literature that is several years old, you can find more recently published articles that reference that old article by searching "Science Citation Index." SCI is published several times each year and five-year cumulative indexes are published. You can find the listing of the old article in SCI and under the listing, any articles that cite that article during the pertinent time period. This is good way to quantitate the importance of an article to the growth of the literature in an area: important articles will tend to be cited more heavily (although it is possible to be cited for a major debacle).

d. Another avenue of literature exploration is the computer-searchable CD-ROM material available in the Linda Hall Library or web databases provided by the Park University library. Use these sources, but do not rely on them alone. There is a considerable delay before articles appear in the any database. If you are looking for current or recent articles, browsing the current journals may be the best resource.





Specific instructions

1. Select your topic and get approval from Dr. Chernovitz

2. Compile your list of references, arranging them chronologically, with the more recent articles listed last and alphabetically by first author within each year. Use the ACS reference style for the appropriate literature citation style. It might be useful to mark with an asterisk the more important or interesting articles that you have found. Also, include in your citation of each article the TITLE of the paper; place it between the author list and the journal name. Although including the title deviates from the ACS citation style, retaining it with the reference may make the list of citations more useful to you in the future. (Note that because the reference list is to be organized in chronological fashion, the order of citation of the articles in the text may not be in numerical order, depending on how the paper is organized.)

3. Write a summary describing the topic that you selected for your literature survey. Your written report should explain the background of the problem, and should describe the major approaches used to solve the task or problem. Focus on the instrumental analysis techniques employed. Describe instrumentation, conditions, etc., along a summary of results achieved. You can imagine that the report you are writing might serve as the background introduction to an article on this subject. The text should refer to the literature that you have found by citing the references by number from your list grouped at the end of the paper.

4. Your report should be typed in double-spaced format. The writing should be concise— no less than 11 pages, no more than 20 pages in length, not including the list of references or the cover sheet.  Insert the date that the literature report was completed at the bottom of the report. Font: no greater than 12, Margins: one inch on all sides

5. Turn in your completed literature review paper by 07/03/06, no later than 7:00 pm by sending a copy of the report (preferably in Microsoft Word format) as an email attachment to Dr. Chernovitz. “The subject line must be CH400 report-1.”



Instructions for the 250 Point Paper

(You will receive the rubric for this in a week or so)


                Examples of topics for the term paper are listed below. If you prefer to write the term paper on different subjects (related to the course, of course), you should consult with the instructor for approval. Please inform the instructor about your selection as early as possible. An outline of the paper (one page) with at least three references and the copies of the abstract for research articles, or copies of relevant pages for books is due on 30 June 2006. The final version of the paper is due 26 July 2006.


                The format of the paper can be decided by the student. However, it should include the following aspects:


·         Significance of the problem

·         Principle of environmental chemodynamics (e.g., mechanisms, governing equations / reactions, predicting models, etc.)

·         Applications to the fate and transport of specific environmental contaminants

·         Weakness in the current understanding of the problem

·         Future directions in understanding and/or modeling of the problem


The paper should be about 20 pages (double space, font 12, 1 inch margins), including upto 5 figures and/or tables. (These are not counted as pages. If embedded in the text, they should be of normal size – just large enough to read, not large enough to take up an enormous amount of space.  Eight to ten references (preferably later than 1998) should be adequate. In order to obtain necessary information, you should make a full use out of our library systems. Consult with a librarian for guidance. Linda Hall is down the road. 




Examples of Subjects


·         Effects of suspended solids on contaminant transport in the Missouri River

·         Biodegradation kinetics of petroleum oil spills in contaminated soils

·         Adsorption and irreversible desorption of chlorinated hydrocarbons in soil

·         Desorption of dioxin in sediment and its effect on water quality in the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers

·         Partitioning of organic contaminants in atmospheric aerosols and its effects on air quality in the Kansas City metropolitan area

·         Fate and transport of chemicals of emerging environmental concerns: Pharmaceuticals, hormones and other endocrine disrupting chemicals


Suggested Journals



Environmental Science and Technology (available on-line)

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry


Water, Air and Soil Pollution

Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry

Journal of Air Pollution Control Association

Journal of Environmental Engineering, ASCE

Journal of Environmental Quality

Journal of the Water Pollution Control Federation

Water Resources Bulletin

Water Resources Research

Water Research

Internet (EPA, TCEQ web sites, etc.)






1.        Planet Earth: Rocks, Life and Energy

2.        Earth’s Soil and Agriculture: Feeding the Earth’s People

3.        The Earth’s Atmosphere

4.        Chemistry of the Troposphere

5.        Chemistry of the Stratosphere

6.        Analysis of Air and Air Pollutants

7.        Water Resources

8.        Water Pollution and Water Treatment

9.        Analysis of water and Wastewater

10.     Fossil Fuels: Our Major Source of Energy

11.     Nuclear Power

12.     Energy Sources for the Future

13.     Toxicology 

14.     Inorganic and Organic Chemicals in the Environment

15.     Organic Chemicals in the Environment

16.     Insecticides, Herbicides, and Insect Control.

17.     Abestos

18.     The Disposal of Dangerous Wastes


The instructor has the right to change the syllabus during the semester. This includes substituting lab work for the short paper.



Problems/Questions:    For numerical problems show all work in a neat orderly manner with the final answer boxed in. See instructions above.


1: 1 4 10 19 21 34 35 43 45 46 53 58 59 60 61

2: 2 4 8 11 13 18 20 21 24 26 28 32 33 42 46 51 52 54 59 60 62 64 65

3: 2 4 8 13 18a 21a 24 32 36 39 51

4: 1 2 4 7 10 16 19 22 26 36 42 43 48 49

5: 2 4 7 14 17 22 31 35 40 45 46 49 52


This material is protected by copyright and can not be reused without author permission.



This material is protected by copyright and can not be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:6/14/2007 12:49:43 PM