Study Guide Nuclear and Environmental Chemistry
Start by printing and reading the summary on page 1. As you read through
the text you will need to take good notes, “answer” the unit objectives, and
define all of the key concept terms.
Nuclear Chemistry: Radioactivity, Radiochemistry, and Nuclear Decay
Read the summary on page 4 then read the first section.
Radioactive Decay
All forms of decay create new substances.
Remember that alpha decay produces alpha particles. An alpha
particle is really a slow moving Helium atom without electrons.
Beta decay produces beta particles that are really single electrons
moving at very high speeds.
Gamma decay produces very high energy light waves.
Half-life - the length of time for half of the parent atoms to change
into daughter atoms.
Half-life is specific to the parent atom. Each element has a unique
half-life.
Radiocarbon Dating - a process using the half-life of
carbon-14 to determine the age of an artifact.
Complete the Practice Activity and re-read the summary on Page 4.
At this point you should be able to complete the unit objectives through
“describe the use of carbon-14 in radiocarbon dating” as well as define the
terms through “carbon-14”
Nuclear Fusion and Fission
Read the summary on page 5 then read the second section.
Fusion vs. Fission
Fusion - joining of 2 or more small nuclei to make a new larger
atom.
This process releases large amounts of energy and a new larger
atom.
This process occurs naturally in the core of the sun and other
stars.
Fission - the breaking down of larger nuclei to make a new atom.
This process generally releases large amounts of energy and
more stable “daughter” atoms.
Occurs naturally when radioactive atoms decay.
Also, fission is induced by “splitting” the nucleus of large atoms by
bombarding with free neutrons. This process is used in nuclear
power plants.
 First discovered by Dr. Lise Meitner, a Jewish female
physicist in Germany from 1907 to the late 1930’s. Her
research partner, of more than 20 years, took all of the
credit and the Nobel Prize.
Complete the Practice activity on page 4; and re-read the summary.
At this point you should be able to complete the unit objectives through
“identify the key disadvantages of nuclear waste disposal” as well as define
the concepts through “meltdown.”
Complete:
The virtual lab: Half-Life
Half- life homework
HW#1 for this unit
The Science of the Environment
Read the summary on page 5 first, then read section three, also known as
Environmental Chemistry
In order to study Environmental Chemistry, you need to have a good
understanding of several different scientific disciplines ranging from biology to
geology and earth science.
You need to know the biochemical cycles – the pathways that chemicals
travel in the different parts of the biosphere. They include the water cycle,
carbon cycle, and nitrogen cycle. Diagrams of each are found in this
section.
You will also need to know the different parts of the biosphere- all parts of the
earth where life occurs. Hydrosphere= water; Lithosphere=land;
Atmosphere=air (the parts to this one are commonly known) troposphere,
ionosphere, stratosphere; Geosphere = underground.
Environmental Chemistry - study of chemical and biological
phenomena in our environment.
This topic includes, but is not limited to the following: hydrology, which
includes the water cycle and water contamination; meteorology;
geology; civil and environmental engineering; and of course
biochemistry.
Complete the Practice Activity on page 5 and re-read the summary.
At this point you should be able to complete the study guide unit objectives
through “list and describe the three biogeochemical cycles” and define the
concepts through “snow melt”.
Water Quality and Wastewater Treatment
Read the summary on page 5 then read section four.
Water quality
There are several indicators as to the quality of water. The 2 main
chemical tests are actually measurements of dissolved oxygen and
biochemical oxygen demand. Water that is safe to drink is said to be
potable. When there is not enough oxygen present to support a health
amount of life hypoxia can occur. This usually happens when the
oxygen saturation level falls below 30% saturated.
Wastewater treatment
The mechanical, chemical and biological method of cleaning water used
by human populations before it is returned to the environment. This is usually
a 3 stage approach.
Re-read the summary on page 5.
At this point you should be able to:
Answer the Practice Activity on page 5.
Complete the Nuclear and Environmental Chemistry HW#2
Virtual lab: Water Cycle Gizmo
Virtual lab: Water Pollution Gizmo
Study your outlines and summaries. You have completed this section.
It is now time to take the Unit 7: Nuclear and Environmental
Chemistry Unit Test
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Environmental and Nuclear Chem Study Guide