Environmental Chemistry

(Course Code: 205Υ, Course outline)

Semester: 4 Teaching Credits: 3 ECTS Credits: 5 Type:


Prerequisite Courses: Course type: General background Instructor: Michael O. Angelidis

– Explain the concept of environmental chemistry

– Provide students with basic knowledge in sources, reactions and fate, transport, and effects of chemical species in air, water and soil environments

– Discuss important chemical processes that determine the balance of the molecular species in the environment and how human activity affects this balance

Topics per Week:
  1. Introduction to Environmental Chemistry: definitions and basic concepts (environment, environmental compartments, pollution), biogeochemical cycles.
  2. The atmosphere: function, chemical composition, fluctuations of density, pressure and temperature in relation to the altitude, atmosphere’s structure, radiation balance, greenhouse effect.
  3. Atmospheric chemistry: photochemical reactions, free radicals, reactions of atmospheric oxygen and nitrogen, stratospheric ozone and “ozone hole”.
  4. Atmospheric pollution: sources and distribution of major atmospheric contaminants, smog and photochemical pollution, greenhouse effect, global warming.
  5. The hydrosphere: introduction to aquatic chemistry, hydrological cycle, water distribution in the hydrosphere, the water molecule, physicochemical properties of water, hydrogen bond, water as solvent.
  6. Natural waters as chemical systems, gas solubility, Henry’s law, dissolved oxygen in natural waters.
  7. Chemistry of the hydrosphere: acid-basis reactions, acidity, CO2 and the carbonates system, alkalinity and buffer capacity of natural waters.
  8. Chemistry of the hydrosphere: complexation (inorganic and organic ligands, humic compounds) , sediments and sedimentation, reactions between phases (solubility, surface chemistry, colloids, adsorption, ion exchange)
  9. Chemistry of the hydrosphere: oxidation and reduction in natural waters (redox reactions, redox potential, Nerst equation), pe in natural waters, pe-pH diagrams, early diagenesis, reducing environments
  10. Soils: Composition and structure, clays, organic matter, humic compounds, water in soil, cation exchange capacity, and soil acidity.
  11. Biogeochemical cycles of Carbon and Nitrogen
  12. Biogeochemical cycles of Phosphorus and Sulphur

Theory – Lectures
(hours / week)
Exercises – Laboratories
(hours / week)
Other Activities:  –
Grading: Written final examination in June and September
  • Lecturer’s notes provided (Michael O. Angelidis)
Basic Textbook:
  • Fytainaos ΚΚ., Samara – Konstantinou Κ., 2009, Environmental Chemistry, University Studio Press, ISBN: 978-960-12-1808-3

  • Skoullos Μ., Siskos P. Α., 2010, Environmental Chemistry,  Simmetria Publishers, ISBN: 978-960-266-297-7

  • Manahan, S. E., 2000, Environmental Chemistry, 7th Ed., Boca Raton: CRC Press LLC

The course is taught in Greek. For exchange students, English literature is proposed and examinations are given in English.

Internet Links: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/