Learning outcomes of the course unit
Learn the basics about minerals and environment, identify the most suitable techniques to analyse real case studies.
Basic mineralogy and chemistry
Course contents summary
The course will introduce the fundamental concepts of the mineralogy and their relationship with environmental and anthropogenic processes.
Several case-studies on asbestos minerals, waste from incinerator processes, technological and synthetic minerals, man-made artefact, air pollution particle will illustrate the complexity of the environmental mineralogy.
Introduction to the topics of the course. Review of systematic mineralogy: native elements, sulfides, oxides and hydroxides, carbonates, sulfates, phosphates.
Silicates (neso, soro, ciclo, ino, fillo, tecto). Definition of solid solution, polyhedron of coordination, phase diagrams.
Asbestos: legislation, natural sources of asbestos, chemical-physical characteristics of asbestos minerals. Uses of asbestos in the past. Concept of natural and anthropic exposure.
Disposal and italian regulations. Use of green stones. Analysis techniques of asbestos: MOCF, XRD, TEM, SEM-EDS. Real cases of suspected asbestos presence: procedures.
Case studies of fibrous minerals potential dangerous for health: the cases of Biancavilla (CT) and Karain (Cappadocia). Issues related to the use and exposure of mineral powders: crystalline and amorphous silica. Environmental and work esposure: the extraction and processing of siliceous rocks. Fine particle analysis techniques (nanometers): transmission electron microscope
Minerals in incinerator slag
Definitions and outlines of waste legislation. Analysis of municipal and special waste. Types of incinerators and waste-to-energy plants. Waste treatment process. Slag analysis: practical examples. Current re-use and future works.
Nomenclature, crystal chemistry and framework. Properties: absorption, molecular sieving, cation exchange, reversible dehydration, catalytic properties. Analysis of zeolites.
Natural genesis and laboratory synthesis. Natural zeolites in Italy. Applications. .
Atmospheric particulate matter
Definition and discussion of atmospheric pollution. Causes of air pollution. Air quality in the world and in Italy. Air pollutants and current legislation. Air sampling methods. PM10. Routine and experimental analysis techniques
Minerals in cultural heritage (4 hours)
1) natural ornamental stone materials: uses, petrographic and commercial name, regulations, characteristics, import and export
2) gems: definition, characteristics, natural and synthetic gems, history of the use of gems
3) ceramics: definition, history, production techniques, archaeological ceramics, traditional, advanced and bioceramic ceramic materials, clayey raw materials.
4) glass: glass chemistry, history of use, analysis techniques
5) metallic materials and alloys: characteristics, use in history, extraction of metals, production techniques.
6) natural and artificial pigments: examples and case studies, identification of pigments, fresco technique, colors in history.
Bioleaching and waste management
Mining georesources - outlines
mineral resources, native elements and metals. Poor, abundant and precious metals, PTE, REE. Environmental impact from mining activity. Essential elements and toxic elements for humans.
Analysis 1. Stereomicroscope, optical microscope, scanning electron microscope with microanalysis. Examples of use of the SEM-EDS. Case studies taken from scientific papers.
Analysis 2: powder X-ray diffraction, diffraction theory, operation and use of the diffractometer. Review of crystal lattices. Examples in the laboratory: identification of Al2O3 mineral. Limitations and advantages of the method.
Light-matter interaction: absorption, reflection and refraction. Color in minerals.
spectroscopic techniques. Spectroscopic techniques: UV-VIS, Raman, IR. Theory and examples of mineralogical phase recognition.
Atmospheric particulate investigation techniques: PM10 control units and filter weighing. Examples of SEM and TEM analysis. Magnetic analysis for the study of magnetic minerals on two filters and on leaves as bioindicators. Magnetism, IRM, SIRM, magnetic susceptibility. Case studies of environmental biomagnetism.
Practical examples of bibliographic research.
PPT presentation on Elly
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings):
Environmental Mineralogy, 2000/2012, Eds. David J. Vaughn and Roy A. Wogelius. EMU Notes in Mineralogy, 2. Eotvos University Press, Budapest.
Mineralogia, 2004, di Cornelis Klein, ed. Zanichelli
lesson - in presence / on line
- discussion of real case studies - in small groups or on line
- laboratory exercise (small groups)
- in-depth seminars (in person and / or online)
- educational outings (to be organized for small groups if necessary)
the lessons will be organized in presence. IF THE HEALTH EMERGENCY PERSIST, THERE WILL BE THE POSSIBILITY TO ENJOY THE LESSONS AT HOME IN ASYNCHRONOUS MODE (LOADED ON THE ELLY PAGE OF THE COURSE); THE LABORATORY EXERCISES WILL BE ORGANIZED IN PRESENCE WITH 2/3 STUDENTS.
Assessment methods and criteria
The exams will be organized FACE-TO-FACE. Should the health emergency persist, the exams will be carried out remotely in the same way as the face-to-face exams. In the case of remote mode, the Teams platform will be used.
The exam includes:
presentation of a power point paper on a topic related to the course previously shared with the teacher. The language used must be that of a scientific communication addressed also to non-specialist interlocutors.