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Physico/Chemical Processes of Environmental Engineering

Students will learn fundamental principles of physico/chemical processes that are commonly used by Environmental Engineers. Emphasis will be on fundamental concepts, so as to prompt their application in a wide range of settings, and to promote creativity.

This course is archived
Estimated 17 weeks
12–15 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule
Optional upgrade available

About this course

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Physico/chemical processes are central to many Environmental Engineering applications, but also are broadly applied in other engineering disciplines. This course is designed to present fundamental principles of physico/chemical processes that are commonly used in Environmental Engineering (and other disciplines). The course is divided into three modules. Module I addresses transport phenomena and reactor theory. The tools presented in Module I are central to the descriptions of processes that are presented in the remainder of the class. Module II addresses physical separation processes ( i.e. , processes for separation of particles from fluids). Module 3 addresses processes that are used to bring about non-microbially-mediated) transformations. The processes that are described are particularly relevant to water treatment, and many examples presented in the class are from the water treatment domain. But opportunities to apply these principles in other settings are also pursued in this class. Specifically, principles taught in this class are relevant to air pollution dynamics and control, flow through porous media, and transformations of non-aqueous media (food products, air, surfaces).

At a glance

What you'll learn

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  • Fundamental transport phenomena (advection, diffusion, dispersion)
  • Dynamics of interphase transport processes
  • Reaction kinetics
  • Fundamental reactor models
  • Residence time distribution functions
  • Reactor simulation methods
  • Gravity-based separations
  • Centrifugation
  • Physics, chemistry, and process behavior of coagulation/flocculation
  • Filtration theory and behavior
  • Adsorption equilibria and dynamics
  • Ion exchange equilibria and dynamics
  • Physical chemistry of halogens
  • Chemical disinfection kinetics
  • Process behavior of disinfection systems
  • Principles of photochemistry and photochemical reactors
  • UV disinfection kinetics
  • Gas: liquid equilibria
  • Gas: liquid transfer dynamics

Week 1:

  • Contemporary Environmental Problems
  • Categories of Processes
  • Mass Balances
  • Fundamentals of Transport Phenomena
    • Advection, Diffusion, Dispersion

Week 2:

  • Interphase Transport

    • Concepts Involved in Interphase Transport of Heat
    • Hooke's Law
    • Gas-Liquid Transfer: Two-Film Model
    • Gas-Liquid Transfer Dynamics in Semi-Batch Reactor
    • Reaction Kinetics
    • Kinetic Expressions I and II

Week 3:

  • Basic Reactor Models
    • Batch Reactor
    • Ideal CFSTR Model
    • Ideal CFSTR at Steady-State
    • Conversion in an Ideal CFSTR
    • Ideal PFR at Steady-State
    • Ideal PFR

Week 4:

  • Basic Reactor Models
    • CFSTR Cascade
    • PF with Longitudinal Dispersion
    • Plug Flow
  • Residence Time Distribution Functions
    • RTD Concept and Characteristics
    • Experimental Methods: Pulse Test, Step Test

Week 5:

  • Reactor Simulation Methods
    • Segregated Flow Model
    • Numerical Models
  • Solid Fluid Separation Processes

Week 6:

  • Gravity-Based Separation
    • Discrete Particle Settling, Turbulent Settling, and Laminar Settling
    • Drag Forces
  • Ideal Settling Tank Model
    • Model Characteristics, Assumptions
    • Trajectory Approach
    • Particle Separation Efficiency
  • Centrifuges

Week 7:

  • Coagulation/Flocculation
    • Particle Surface Chemistry I and II
    • Colloidal Stability
    • Colloidal Destabilization Mechanisms
    • Coagulation with Metal Salts
    • Jar Testing
    • Smoluchowski Equation
    • Collision Frequency Functions
    • Fluid Shear

Week 8:

  • Coagulation/ Flocculation; Filtration
    • Paddle Flocculators and Jar Test Apparatus
    • Filter Types

Week 9:

  • Filtration

    • Window, Modeling, Flow Through Porous Media, Energy Loss, Fluidization

Week 10:

  • Adsorption
    • Langmuir Isotherm
    • BET Isotherm

Week 11:

  • Ion Exchange
  • Deionization
  • Disinfection

Week 12:

  • Disinfection
    • Halogen Equilibria
    • Halogen Electrochemistry
    • Effective Henry's Law Constant
    • Reactions Between Chlorine and Ammonia
    • Chlorination and Breakpoint

Week 13:

  • Disinfection
    • DBPs
    • Dechlorination
    • Chlorine Disinfection Kinetics
    • Deviations from Chick-Watson
    • Peracids

Week 14:

  • Disinfection
    • Photochemistry

Week 15:

  • Disinfection
    • UV Disinfection Kinetics
    • UV Dose Distribution

Week 16:

  • Gas: Liquid Transfer
    • Henry's Law
    • Air Stripping
    • Stripping of Volatile Compounds in Bubble Contactors
    • Gas Stripping

About the instructors

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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