Environmental Chemistry Jose Murillo


Temperature vs. Heat

  • Temperature
Temperature: Energy of a substance
  • Heat
Heat: The transfer of energy of one substance/ particle to another.

Laws of Thermodynamics

  1. Matter and energy cannot be created nor destroyed.
  2. Entropy is always increasing.
  3. Absolute 0 is impossible to reach
  4. Energy moves from high to low

Calories and specific heat

  • Calories: Units of energy.
  • 1 Calorie= 4.814 Joules
  • Q is the change of energy and means heat.


Up-cycling vs Down-cycling

  • Up-cycling
Up-cycling: Making up something more valuable.
  • Down-cycling
Down-cycling: Making a less valuable product when recycling (paper and plastic).

Types of Plastics and Issues

  • Aluminum- Closed loop recycling.
  • Paper- Must be down-cycled.
  • Glass- Takes a lot of energy to make.
  • Plastic- Most important thing to be recycled, but must be down-cycled.

Recycling Metals and Papers

  • Paper: Every time paper is recycled, the fibers get smaller. As the fibers get smaller, it gets down-cycled into tissues and other things.
  • Metals: Aluminum can be recycled and not go to waste. Iron and steel are the most recycled materials and among the easiest materials to reprocess.


Soil Profiles

Soil Horizon

Sand, Silt, and Clay

  • Sand- Little rocks seen by human eye.
  • Silt- See with microscope or magnifying glass.
  • Clay- Atom size in order to see clay.

Issues with Soil and Soil Properties

Issues: In addition to erosion, soil quality is affected by other aspects of agriculture. These impacts include compaction, loss of soil structure, nutrient degradation, and soil salinity. These are very real and at times severe issues.

  • 6 Properties:
  1. Porosity- Air in soil
  2. Permeability- How easy things move through soil
  3. Infiltration- Downward movement of water
  4. Shrink or Swell- How much the soil expands
  5. Water Holding Capacity- Amount of water that a given soil can hold
  6. Erodability- How easy is eroded by water and air

Plant Nutrients

Micro and Macro

  • Macro-nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), sulfur (S), magnesium (Mg)
  • Micro-nutrients (or trace minerals): boron (B), chlorine (Cl), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), nickel (Ni).


Fertilizer: A fertilizer is a substance that contains macronutrients
  • Two Types:
  • Organic- Plant and animal waste
  • Inorganic- Manufactured or mined

Deficiencies and Toxicities


  • Burning: severe localized yellowing;scorched appearance.
  • Chlorosis: general yellowing of the plant tissue; lack of chlorophyll.
  • Generalized: symptoms not limited to one area of a plant, but rather spread over the entire plant.
  • Immobile nutrient: not able to be moved from one part of the plant to another.
  • Interveinal Chlorosis: yellowing in between leaf veins, yet veins remain green.
  • Localized: symptoms limited to one leaf or one section of the leaf or plant.
  • Mobile nutrient: able to be moved from one plant part to another.
  • Mottling: spotted, irregular,inconsistent pattern.
  • Necrosis: death of plant tissue; tissue browns and dies.
  • Stunting: decreased growth; shorter height of the affected plants.


Properties of Water

  1. Its attraction to polar molecules.
  2. High-specific heat.
  3. High heat of vaporization.
  4. The lower density of ice.
  5. High polarity.

Types of Water Pollution

  • Nutrient Pollution
Some wastewater, fertilizers and sewage contain high levels of nutrients. If they end up in water bodies, they encourage algae and weed growth in the water. This will make the water undrinkable, and even clog filters.
  • Surface Water Pollution
Surface water includes natural water found on the earth's surface, like rivers, lakes, lagoons and oceans. Hazardous substances coming into contact with this surface water, dissolving or mixing physically with the water can be called surface water pollution.
  • Oxygen Depleting
Water bodies have micro-organisms. These include aerobic and anaerobic organisms. When too much biodegradable matter (things that easily decay) end up in water, it encourages more microorganism growth, and they use up more oxygen in the water
  • Oil Spillage
Oil spills usually have only a localized effect on wildlife but can spread for miles. The oil can cause the death to many fish and get stuck to the feathers of seabirds causing them to lose their ability to fly.

There is more types of water pollution such as suspended matter, chemical water pollution, ground water pollution, etc.

Water Treatment

  • Processes
  • Pre-chlorination for algae control and arresting biological growth
  • Aeration along with pre-chlorination for removal of dissolved iron and manganese
  • Coagulation for flocculation or slow-sand filtration
  • Coagulant aids, also known as polyelectrolytes – to improve coagulation and for thicker floc formation
  • Sedimentation for solids separation that is removal of suspended solids trapped in the floc
  • Filtration to remove particles from water
  • Disinfection for killing bacteria viruses and other pathogens.

Water Tissues

Tissue of large, highly vacuolate cells with relatively extensible walls, which can buffer the water supply. Water can also be stored in tree trunks, as in tracheids which can be emptied and refilled.

Atoms and Ions

Atomic Theory

a scientific theory of the nature of matter, which states that matter is composed of discrete units called atoms.


Ions- A group of atoms with a positive or a negative charge.

  • Cashions- Lost electron(s), so positively charged
  • Anions- A negative charge because gained electrons

Ionic Compounds

Ionic Compound
  • A metal and a non-metal combined
  • The charges cancel each other out and add up to equal 0.
  • Positives are always written first


Created with images by bretonne0071 - "Eternal snow" • 185053 - "geirangerfjord norway waterfall" • gewa - "forest light autumn" • Dennis Götz - "Nature" • carterg5289 - "Tiger lick" • agneman - "Leaf"

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