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Lecture 2

EESA01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: The Roots, Blood Sugar, Geosphere


Department
Environmental Science
Course Code
EESA01H3
Professor
Carl Mitchell
Lecture
2

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EESA01H3 F: Lecture 2 - Matter, Energy, and the Systems Approach in Environmental
Science
Room AC 223: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Today’s Objectives:
1. Matter and the basics of energy.
2. Energy
3. The systems approach
4. Feedback loops
5. The rock cycle and tectonics
What is “Matter”?:
Matter: “all of the material in the universe that has mass and occupies space, whether solid,
liquid, or gas
The Law of Conservation of Matter: “Matter may be transformed from one type of substance
into another but it cannot be created or destroyed.”
Figure 1: Potential Pathways for Oil to Reach Bottom Sediments
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The Composition of Matter:
All matter is made up of atoms.
Elements: are made of the same atoms.
Ex. Hydrogen and Oxygen are chemical elements.
Compounds: are composed of 2 or more different atoms.
H2O (water) is a compound composed of Hydrogen and Oxygen.
Table 1: Earth’s Most Abundant Chemical Elements, by Mass
Isotopes and Ions:
Atoms are defined by their number of protons, which defines their atomic number.
Isotopes: atoms with the same number of protons, but different numbers of neutrons.
Neutrons have different mass, which makes atoms “behave” differently.
Leads to different bonds, phase changes
Radioactive vs stable isotopes:
Stable: same a stable number of neutrons and therefore a stable nuclei; does
not emit radiation.
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Radioactive: too many neutrons in relation to protons. This means that it must
usually use neutrons and “decay” to stabilize.
Anions vs Cations:
When atoms gain or lose electrons, they become ions.
Anions: if you gain electrons it can lead to net negative ions.
Cations: if you lose elections you could have a net positive ions
Properties of the Water Molecule:
Water is a polar molecule with a net negative charge pole (too many electrons) and a net
positive pole (not enough).
This leads to hydrogen bonding
Very strong cohesion leads to vascularity and allows for solute transport in
plants.
Very high heat capacity helps to stabilize our climate.
Allows for water to be a coolant when we sweat out heat.
Solid water (ice) is less dense than water as a liquid.
It allows for water to be the “universal solvent” as it bonds well with other polar
molecules.
Allows for minerals to dissolve in our blood.
Organic and Inorganic Molecules are Essential to Life:
Organic compounds: consist of carbon atoms, and usually hydrogen atoms joined by
covalent bonds (when atoms share electrons).
Most biological matter is composed of organic compounds called hydrocarbons.
Inorganic compounds: lack any carbon-carbon bonds, but are still essential to life.
○ Water!
Energy: “the capacity to change the position, physical composition, or temperature of matter.”
Two Types of Energy:
Potential: energy related to position.
Food has potential energy in its bonds (chemical energy), which is
transformed into kinetic energy.
Kinetic: energy related to motion.
Thermodynamics - First Law:
“Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.”
The total energy in the universe remains constant and is therefore considered to
be conserved.
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