99742 - Chemical and Physical Fundamentals of Radioactive and Air Pollutants: Dectection and Monitoring Sensors.

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Nadia Lotti
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: CHIM/07
  • Language: Italian
  • Moduli: Nadia Lotti (Modulo 1) Massimo Andretta (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Cesena
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Electronics Engineering (cod. 5834)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student possesses the knowledge relating to the chemical and physical processes involved in radioactive and atmospheric pollution. Specifically, the student acquires the basic knowledge of the fundamental chemical and physical principles necessary to evaluate the fate of pollutants and their impact on the environment. Furthermore, the student acquires the theoretical and applicative principles of techniques for monitoring pollutants in the atmosphere, thermography and radiation detection. The student understands, also through practical exercises, the fields of application and the technical / operational details of thermographic surveys in the engineering field and understands the chemical and physical principles of sampling and analysis of atmospheric pollutants and radiation. In detail, the electronic devices that can be used for detecting and counting radiation will be explained.

Course contents

Module 1:
The structure of the atmosphere. Outline of the dry adiabatic gradient in the troposphere; the stability and conditions of thermal inversion.

The main pollutants released into the atmosphere as a result of combustion processes.

The chemistry of the troposphere: generalities. The oxidation of CH4 in the troposphere. Photochemical smog: the formation of ozone, hydrogen peroxide, PAN and nitric acid. SO2 oxidation mechanisms in the atmosphere. Acid rain and their effects on the environment; the effect on limestone rocks. Catalytic systems for the reduction of pollutants: TWC catalytic converters and storage systems; the NOx abatement SRC systems.

Review of electrochemistry; gas expansion cells. Gas sensors: the lambda probe. Active and passive systems for the reduction of particulate matter in the exhaust gases of diesel engines. Absorption and emission of IR electromagnetic radiation by molecules: rotational and vibrational motions, normal modes of vibration, band absorption spectra. The trend of the temperature of the earth's surface over the millennia.

Global warming: natural causes and anthropogenic causes. The greenhouse effect: carbon dioxide and other gases responsible for the greenhouse effect. Positive and negative feedback. CO2 storage methods. Stratosphere chemistry: the ozone layer. Absorption of UV radiation by oxygen and ozone. Mechanisms of formation and disappearance of the latter in the stratosphere and related thermal effects. The seasonal formation of the ozone 'hole' over Antarctica. Catalytic processes in the destruction of ozone: the effect of natural chemical species and man-made pollutants; main properties of CFCs and their danger to the ozone layer on the basis of the chemical structure.

The nuclides: stable nuclides and unstable nuclides. The radioactive decay processes. The kinetics of the process and the health effects of ionizing radiation.

Module 2:

The fundamental physical laws of heat transmission: Fourier's law of conduction, Newton's law of convection, the theory of radiation of the Black Body and of real bodies. Principles, techniques and tools for thermography in engineering. Exercises in the use of a thermal imaging camera. Fundamentals of fluid mechanics: viscosity (absolute and kinematic), laminar and turbulent flow regimes (Reynolds number), Bernoulli's principle, sedimentation. The international and national energy landscape. Environmental pollution produced by energy systems and the effects of the main pollutants on human health, material goods and climate change. References to the Italian legislation on air quality. Techniques and tools for sampling and analysis of environmental pollutants. Interactions between radiation and matter. Radiation detection instruments: gas ionization detectors: the Geiger-Muller counter, semiconductor detectors. Notes on electronic devices to support radiation detectors.


The use of lecture notes and teaching material made available online will be fundamental.

For further information we recommend:

Chimica Ambientale Colin Baird Michael Cann Terza Edizione tradotta dalla quinta edizione americana Zanichelli

- Y. A. Cengel, J. M. Cimbala, R.H. Turner, "Elementi di fisica tecnica. Termodinamica applicata. Meccanica dei fluidi. Trasmissione del calore" 5° Ediz., McGraw-Hill Education, Milano 2017.

- Pocket Guide di Termografia. Teoria, pratica, consigli e trucchi (2017), TESTO AG. https://www.termocameretesto.it/contents/it/GUIDA%20PRATICA%20ALLA%20TERMOGRAFIA.pdf

Pocket Guide di termografia

7 l Emissività massima: ε = 1 ( 100%) (cfr. “Corpo nero”, pag. 40). ε = 1 non si verifica mai nella realtà. l Corpi reali: ε < 1, in quanto i corpi reali riflettono ed eventual- mente trasmettono anche le radiazioni. l Numerosi materiali non metallici (ad esempio il PVC, il calce -


Ultimo accesso: 30/12/2021.

- M. Bianchi, A. de Pascale, A. Gambarotta, A. Peretto, "Sistemi energetici", Vol. 3 - Impatto Ambientale, Pitagora Editrice, Bologna 2008.

- B. Gates, “Clima come evitare un disastro. Le soluzione di oggi. Le sfide di domani“, La Nave di Teseo, Milano 2021.

- G.F. Knoll, “Radiation Detection and Measurements”, IV Edition, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2010

- N. Tsoulfanidis, S. Landsberger, “Measurement & Detection of Radiation”, IV Edition, CRC Press, 2015.

- L. Cerrito, “Radiation and Detectors. Introduction to the Physics of Radiation and Detection Devices”, Springer, 2017.

Teaching methods

Lessons and exercises.

Assessment methods

Oral exams. More details will be given at the beginning of the course

Teaching tools

Video projector and blackboard.

The teaching material is also available at https://virtuale.unibo.it/



Office hours

See the website of Nadia Lotti

See the website of Massimo Andretta


Climate Action Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.