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General and Inorganic Chemistry
First semester
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

Knowledge and understanding: the course aims to illustrate the fundamental principles required for the understanding and description of the chemical mechanisms determining the environmental impact of specific classes of natural and anthropic inorganic pollutants.
Ability to learn: the course aims to provide the necessary chemical language required for reading and understanding basic and advanced texts on the subject.
Ability to communicate: the student acquires the technical language needed to communicate with specialists and necessary to properly express complex concepts in an understandable language.
Making judgments: by means of the acquired knowledge the student is able to critically develop an independent opinion on the possible environmental impacts produced by the phenomena and processes discussed in the course.


The knowledge of the basic concepts of general chemistry and organic chemistry is required.

Course contents summary

The first part of the course aims to provide the fundamental tools and information useful to understand the role played by the main anthropogenic pollutants on the chemistry of the atmosphere. The second part of the course provides general information regarding the spontaneous and non-spontaneous transformation processes of atomic nuclei and describes the methodologies and environmental problems related to the civil and military applications of nuclear energy. The third part is dedicated to the study of relevant chemical parameters able to rationalize the interaction mechanisms between metals and organic substrates.

Course contents

Chemistry of the atmosphere. Main radical oxidants. Photochemistry of oxygen, ozone, nitrigen oxides. Atmospheric pollutants. Sulphur oxides. Smog. Ozone hole. Catalysts of ozone decomposition. Carbon dioxide and green house effect. Acid rain. Industrial synthesis of important inorganic compounds.
Introduction to nuclear chemistry. Civil and military applications of atomic energy. Life cycle of nuclear fuel. Radioactive wastes. Problems related to the recover, treatment and disposal of nuclear waste. Hints of sanitary physics.
Heavy metals: extraction methods, general properties and compounds of cadmium, lead, arsenic, antimony, mercury, chromium. Chemistry of the main organometallic compounds. Stability of metal complexes and metal ions in solution.

Recommended readings

Baird C. - Chimica Ambientale, Zanichelli
Manaham S. E. - Chimica dell'Ambiente, Piccin
Schwedt G. - The Essential Guide to Environmental Chemistry, Wiley

Teaching methods


Assessment methods and criteria

The knowledge gained and the ability to understand and apply the concepts discussed in the course are verified through an oral examination also aimed to verify the acquisition of a correct technical-scientific language.