375:340 Environmental Applications of Organic Chemistry
Instructor:      Lisa A. Rodenburg (formerly Totten)    Rm 348; 932-9800 x 6218; rodenburg@envsci.rutgers.edu

Spring Semester 2011; Time  Tuesday/Friday 10:55-12:15 PM, Hickman 131

Course description:  This course uses concepts from organic chemistry and applies them to environmental systems.  In the first half of the class, the physico-chemical properties of organic compounds will be discussed, with emphasis on Henry’s Law and octanol-water partitioning.  Student will learn how to use these physico-chemical properties to calculate the partitioning of organic chemicals in environmental systems.  The second half of the course will focus on reactions of organic compounds that are important in the environment, including acid-base reactions, nucleophilic substitution reactions (especially hydrolysis), and redox reactions.  The students will then use all of the concepts learned in the course to predict the lifetimes of organic chemicals in the environment.  Chirality will be discussed in the context of determining whether chiral compounds such as PCBs and organochlorine pesticides have undergone biotransformation in the environment. 

Pre-requisite:  Elementary Organic Chemistry (Chem 209) or two semesters of Organic Chemistry (Chem 307 & 308). 

Grading:  grades will be based on 6 homework assignments (20%), two mid-term exams (20% each), and one final exam (35%), attendance (5%).

Attendance policy:  Attendance is required.  If for any reason you cannot come to class, you must notify the instructor at least 48 hours in advance of the class session and receive permission to miss a class period.  In the case of illness or accident, you must provide a doctor’s note or other documentation of your situation in order to avoid losing points from your attendance score.


Text:  None.  see electronic resources on sakai.

Once you have registered for this course, you should be able to log on to the course sakai site

Tentative Schedule:

 

Section I:  Equilibrium

Reading

1/18

Review of chemical structures and nomenclature

Chs 1,2,3

1/21

Thermodynamics Review

 

1/25

Molecular forces:  van der Waals forces, polarity, polarizability, and H bonding

 

1/25

Physico-chemical properties

 

1/28

    Vapor Pressure

Ch 4 pp 98-109

2/1

    Solubility in water

Ch 5 pp 135-164

2/4

    Henry's Law

Ch 6 pp 182-185, 197-204

2/8

    Octanol-Water Partitioning

Ch 7 pp 214-218, 223-235

2/11

Calculating equilibrium partitioning in complex environmental systems

 

2/11

            Three phase water column partitioning

 

2/15

            Gas/particle partitioning

 

2/18

            Groundwater partitioning

 

2/22

Sorption

Ch 9 pp 280-313

2/25

MIDTERM EXAM I

 

 

Section II:  Reactions

Ch 12

3/1

Review of reaction kinetics

 

3/4

Organic Acids and Bases

Ch 8

3/8

            Hammett constants

 

 

Nucleophilic substitution reactions:

Ch 13 pp 491-540

3/11

Hydrolysis

 

3/15

Swain Scott model

 

 

Redox reactions

Ch 14

 

Abiotic oxidation reactions

 

3/18

                        Gas-phase oxidation of organics and formation of tropospheric ozone

 

3/22

                        Water-phase oxidation of simple organics and formation of complex organics

 

3/25

                        Drinking water disinfection with chlorine and ozone

 

 

Biotic oxidation and reduction

 

3/29

    Reductive dehalogenation

 

4/1

    Electron acceptors in “mineralization” of organics

 

4/5

    Predicting the biodegradability of organics

 

4/8

MIDTERM EXAM II

 

 

Part III:  Putting it all together:  Predicting the lifetimes of chemicals in the environment

 

 

Case studies

 

4/12

            Case study:  replacement of CFCs by HCFCs

 

4/15

            Case study:  brominated flame retardants

 

4/19

            Case study:  replacement of organochlorine with organophosphorus pesticides

 

4/22

Special topic:  Chirality

 

4/26

Use of enantiomeric ratios in source apportionment of organics

 

4/29

Pharmaceuticals in the environment