Courses

Systems Analysis track: Obligatory courses

Energy in the Context of Sustainability

Energy is a strategic commodity, which is fundamental to all (economic) activities. The costs, availability and the clean and efficient utilization of energy are increasingly strong focal points in the strategies and policies of governments worldwide. Therefore, it is essential for energy experts to have a good overview of the energy trends, the consequences of energy use and the effectiveness of policies to optimize energy systems. In fact, energy is and will remain a major challenge both for developing and developed countries for the following reasons:

  • Lack of access to diverse and affordable energy services means that the basic needs of millions of people are not being met;
  • Energy services are needed to create jobs, develop industries, enhance value added activities and support income-earnings activities;
  • The environmental effects of energy use can occur at many levels, from local to global and include consequences such as desertification, acidification, air pollution and climate change.

The course will offer a strong combination of the latest energy developments, detailed insights into the main challenges of energy use and the key principles of policy formulation. The course uses a combination of lectures and tutorials to provide students with balanced and integrated knowledge that will allow them to develop critical understanding of the aspects involved on promoting sustainable production and use of energy.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Trends in energy production and use
  • Environmental impacts of energy use
  • Physics of climate change
  • Policy responses to climate change
  • Energy access and energy security
  • Trends, potentials, bottlenecks and policies for renewable energy (biomass, wind), geothermal and energy efficiency
  • Sustainability paradigms

This course is an entry requirement for:

  • Master’s thesis (GEO4-2510)
  • Natural Science Research Project (GEO4-2518)
  • Internship Energy Science (GEO4-2520)

Energy Conversion Technologies I

The relation between design of energy conversion systems and their performance is the core of this course. In order to investigate this relation you need to open up the “black box” of energy conversion systems. Instead of characterizing a system by inputs and outputs, as is done in many other courses, you need to study the scientific principles on which the system is based, and which lead, in the end, after having closed the black box, to the system-specific inputs and outputs. Applying basic principles will allow you to define maximum theoretical conversion efficiencies, and comparing these to actual efficiencies shows that many improvements (still) are possible.

This course is subdivided in three parts: basics, examples of thermal and chemical energy conversion technologies, and one detailed energy conversion technology case. In the basics part general thermodynamic principles common to energy conversion technologies are treated.

The conversion technologies covered include

  • Refrigeration and heat pumps
  • heat exchangers
  • Gas and steam turbines
  • Diesel and Otto engines
  • Fuel cells
  • Biomass production and conversions
  • Thermochemical conversions (combustion, gastification)
  • Carbon dioxide capture and storage.
  • Hydrogen technologies

A case study will be performed by the students, and these will be presented to other students in a mini-symposium. These case studies are based on recent literature.

Note
The course Energy Conversion Technologies – II concentrates on physical and mechanical energy conversions. Together, they constitute a wide overview of energy conversion technologies.

This course is the entry requirement for:

  • Master’s thesis (GEO4-2510)
  • Natural Science Research Project (GEO4-2518)
  • Internship Energy Science (GEO4-2520)

Academic skills: presentation

Advanced Energy Analysis

This course covers:

  • Understanding and using the concept of technological learning for analyzing and predicting the development and performance of technologies over time.
  • Process analysis by setting up energy and mass balances and performance calculations of complex technologies, using principles from Life Cycle Assessment and process technology.
  • Economic analyses of technologies and systems, using knowledge from cost engineering.
  • Proper use of energy and other statistics for comparing and analyzing performance of e.g. economic sectors.
  • Using Input/Output analysis as a tool to evaluate impacts on a national economy, e.g. impacts on GDP and employment generated by deploying different technologies.
  • Using life cycle assessment to analyse and evaluate the environmental performance of energy technologies.
  • Using (simple) Multi-Criteria Analysis as a system to combine very different types of information to provide an integrated evaluation.

This course is an entry requirement for:

  • Master’s thesis (GEO4-2510)
  • Natural Science Research Project (GEO4-2518)
  • Internship Energy Science (GEO4-2520)

Energy Conversion Technologies II

The relation between design of energy conversion systems and their performance is the core of this course. To investigate this relation, you need to open the “black box” of energy conversion systems. Instead of characterizing a system by inputs and outputs, as is done in many other courses, you need to study the scientific principles on which the system is based, and which lead, in the end, after having closed the black box, to the system-specific inputs and outputs. Applying basic principles will allow you to define maximum theoretical conversion efficiencies, and comparing these to actual efficiencies shows that many improvements (still) are possible.

This course addresses one or two topics each week. The first part of the course will be focused on solar energy conversions, after which other technologies such as wind, hydropower, geothermal and saline power will be analysed. As some of these technologies are intermittent, we will also discuss different energy storage options.

At the end of the course, the students will perform a case study, these will be presented to other students in a Minisymposium. These case studies are based on recent literature about the energy conversion technologies addressed in the course.

Note
The course Energy Conversion Technologies – I concentrates on thermal and chemical energy conversions. Energy Conversion Technologies – II focuses on physical and mechanical conversion routes.
Together, these courses constitute a wide overview of energy conversion technologies.

This course is an entry requirement for:

  • Master’s thesis (GEO4-2510)
  • Natural Science Research Project (GEO4-2518)
  • Internship Energy Science (GEO4-2520)

Academic skills: presentation

Energy Systems Modelling

This course covers:

  • The uses of energy system models by, among others, energy and climate policy makers, energy companies, and grid operators.
  • Distinction between different types of models ranging from macro-economic to technology oriented models, simulation to optimisation models, static to dynamic models.
  • The way processes in the energy-economic system are modelled in different types of models. These concern short and long term dynamic processes related to energy supply, energy demand, energy conversion, population growth, economic growth, economic structural change, resource depletion, substitution, innovation, intermittent renewable electricity generation, energy storage, and technological learning.
  • Uncertainty assessment in energy systems modelling processes.
  • Techniques of Computable general equilibrium models, System Dynamic models, Linear programming models, power system simulation models, Monte Carlo analysis, sensitivity analysis, and scenario analysis.

This course is the entry requirement for:

  • Master’s thesis (GEO4-2510)
  • Natural Science Research Project (GEO4-2518)
  • Internship Energy Science (GEO4-2520)

Consultancy Project Energy Science

The consultancy project is a training for doing research on energy and material systems. You will acquire the proper skills to carry out a research project independently. This course is the link between the cursory education of the first year of the Energy Science master and the research project in the second year of the master.

The course consists of two parts: a general methodological part and a consultancy assignment.

In the first part, students gain knowledge on project management and research skills in general, including:

  • project management (general theory and overview of approaches)
  • working in a team (including team roles, meeting skills, conflict management and a game to test your abilities to work together as a team)
  • defining a research question and develop a research plan (incl. time schedule)
  • choosing the right research methods and the level of detail needed
  • finding (and evaluating) data in scientific and grey literature
  • generating own research data e.g. setting up interviews,
  • presenting your work in public
  • writing a scientific report.

For the second part, students will work on a real consultancy assignment. In the consultancy project the students will work in groups of approximately 5-6 students to solve a concrete problem on energy and/or material use. The projects are carried out for real clients. Examples of past assignments are making an energy plan for drugstore chain Kruidvat, or investigating the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvement options throughout the entire coffee supply chain of Sara Lee. In a typical assignment, groups will carry out a technical and financial assessment, may investigate the possibilities for renewable energy production, energy saving potentials and other means to reduce GHG emissions, use materials more efficiently etc. In other words, the students will apply skills mainly acquired during the AEA course, but also other courses of the first year of the ES master.

It is crucial that students subscribe in time for the course (i.e. in February) so that sufficient projects can be prepared. The annual projects will be made available two weeks before the start of the course, so that students can indicate their preference.

Master's thesis Energy Science

The Master’s thesis is a research project in which the student will learn to conduct research independently in the field of energy and materials, whereby new methods are developed and/or applied or existing methods are applied to a new problem. The research should be relevant from both a scientific point of view (it should expand the body of scientific knowledge) and a societal point of view (it should produce knowledge that can contribute to a better understanding or the solution of societal problems in the area of energy).

The student delivers the following outputs:

  • Master’s thesis proposal. The proposal should be handed in within four weeks after starting the Master’s thesis. In this proposal the student should be able to translate a research question into a research plan that includes a justification of the problem, research question(s), methodology to be used, expected results and a time plan. The proposal should be approved by the supervisor before submission to the Board of Examiners.
  • Thesis. The Master’s thesis is written in English. The student is encouraged to write the thesis in the form of a scientific article that is suitable for publication in a refereed journal.
  • Oral presentation. The purpose is to elaborate on the project for a scientific audience. The student should be able to extract key insights and lessons from the research work and present them to an audience of peers in an adequate manner

Academic skills: academic writing, presentation

Natural Science track: Obligatory courses

Energy in the Context of Sustainability

Energy is a strategic commodity, which is fundamental to all (economic) activities. The costs, availability and the clean and efficient utilization of energy are increasingly strong focal points in the strategies and policies of governments worldwide. Therefore, it is essential for energy experts to have a good overview of the energy trends, the consequences of energy use and the effectiveness of policies to optimize energy systems. In fact, energy is and will remain a major challenge both for developing and developed countries for the following reasons:

  • Lack of access to diverse and affordable energy services means that the basic needs of millions of people are not being met;
  • Energy services are needed to create jobs, develop industries, enhance value added activities and support income-earnings activities;
  • The environmental effects of energy use can occur at many levels, from local to global and include consequences such as desertification, acidification, air pollution and climate change.

The course will offer a strong combination of the latest energy developments, detailed insights into the main challenges of energy use and the key principles of policy formulation. The course uses a combination of lectures and tutorials to provide students with balanced and integrated knowledge that will allow them to develop critical understanding of the aspects involved on promoting sustainable production and use of energy.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Trends in energy production and use
  • Environmental impacts of energy use
  • Physics of climate change
  • Policy responses to climate change
  • Energy access and energy security
  • Trends, potentials, bottlenecks and policies for renewable energy (biomass, wind), geothermal and energy efficiency
  • Sustainability paradigms

This course is an entry requirement for:

  • Master’s thesis (GEO4-2510)
  • Natural Science Research Project (GEO4-2518)
  • Internship Energy Science (GEO4-2520)

Energy Conversion Technologies I

The relation between design of energy conversion systems and their performance is the core of this course. In order to investigate this relation you need to open up the “black box” of energy conversion systems. Instead of characterizing a system by inputs and outputs, as is done in many other courses, you need to study the scientific principles on which the system is based, and which lead, in the end, after having closed the black box, to the system-specific inputs and outputs. Applying basic principles will allow you to define maximum theoretical conversion efficiencies, and comparing these to actual efficiencies shows that many improvements (still) are possible.

This course is subdivided in three parts: basics, examples of thermal and chemical energy conversion technologies, and one detailed energy conversion technology case. In the basics part general thermodynamic principles common to energy conversion technologies are treated.

The conversion technologies covered include

  • Refrigeration and heat pumps
  • heat exchangers
  • Gas and steam turbines
  • Diesel and Otto engines
  • Fuel cells
  • Biomass production and conversions
  • Thermochemical conversions (combustion, gastification)
  • Carbon dioxide capture and storage.
  • Hydrogen technologies

A case study will be performed by the students, and these will be presented to other students in a mini-symposium. These case studies are based on recent literature.

Note
The course Energy Conversion Technologies – II concentrates on physical and mechanical energy conversions. Together, they constitute a wide overview of energy conversion technologies.

This course is the entry requirement for:

  • Master’s thesis (GEO4-2510)
  • Natural Science Research Project (GEO4-2518)
  • Internship Energy Science (GEO4-2520)

Academic skills: presentation

Advanced Energy Analysis

This course covers:

  • Understanding and using the concept of technological learning for analyzing and predicting the development and performance of technologies over time.
  • Process analysis by setting up energy and mass balances and performance calculations of complex technologies, using principles from Life Cycle Assessment and process technology.
  • Economic analyses of technologies and systems, using knowledge from cost engineering.
  • Proper use of energy and other statistics for comparing and analyzing performance of e.g. economic sectors.
  • Using Input/Output analysis as a tool to evaluate impacts on a national economy, e.g. impacts on GDP and employment generated by deploying different technologies.
  • Using life cycle assessment to analyse and evaluate the environmental performance of energy technologies.
  • Using (simple) Multi-Criteria Analysis as a system to combine very different types of information to provide an integrated evaluation.

This course is an entry requirement for:

  • Master’s thesis (GEO4-2510)
  • Natural Science Research Project (GEO4-2518)
  • Internship Energy Science (GEO4-2520)

Energy Conversion Technologies II

The relation between design of energy conversion systems and their performance is the core of this course. To investigate this relation, you need to open the “black box” of energy conversion systems. Instead of characterizing a system by inputs and outputs, as is done in many other courses, you need to study the scientific principles on which the system is based, and which lead, in the end, after having closed the black box, to the system-specific inputs and outputs. Applying basic principles will allow you to define maximum theoretical conversion efficiencies, and comparing these to actual efficiencies shows that many improvements (still) are possible.

This course addresses one or two topics each week. The first part of the course will be focused on solar energy conversions, after which other technologies such as wind, hydropower, geothermal and saline power will be analysed. As some of these technologies are intermittent, we will also discuss different energy storage options.

At the end of the course, the students will perform a case study, these will be presented to other students in a Minisymposium. These case studies are based on recent literature about the energy conversion technologies addressed in the course.

Note
The course Energy Conversion Technologies – I concentrates on thermal and chemical energy conversions. Energy Conversion Technologies – II focuses on physical and mechanical conversion routes.
Together, these courses constitute a wide overview of energy conversion technologies.

This course is an entry requirement for:

  • Master’s thesis (GEO4-2510)
  • Natural Science Research Project (GEO4-2518)
  • Internship Energy Science (GEO4-2520)

Academic skills: presentation

Energy Systems Modelling

This course covers:

  • The uses of energy system models by, among others, energy and climate policy makers, energy companies, and grid operators.
  • Distinction between different types of models ranging from macro-economic to technology oriented models, simulation to optimisation models, static to dynamic models.
  • The way processes in the energy-economic system are modelled in different types of models. These concern short and long term dynamic processes related to energy supply, energy demand, energy conversion, population growth, economic growth, economic structural change, resource depletion, substitution, innovation, intermittent renewable electricity generation, energy storage, and technological learning.
  • Uncertainty assessment in energy systems modelling processes.
  • Techniques of Computable general equilibrium models, System Dynamic models, Linear programming models, power system simulation models, Monte Carlo analysis, sensitivity analysis, and scenario analysis.

This course is the entry requirement for:

  • Master’s thesis (GEO4-2510)
  • Natural Science Research Project (GEO4-2518)
  • Internship Energy Science (GEO4-2520)

Natural Science Research Project

The Natural Science Research course is a research project in which the student will learn to conduct research independently in the field of energy-related natural science. The research should be relevant from both a scientific point of view (it should expand the body of scientific knowledge) and a societal point of view (it should produce knowledge that can contribute to addressing energy-related problems in society). Note, the focus is on natural science.
The student delivers two outputs:

  • Thesis. A thesis is written in English. The student is encouraged to write the thesis in the form of a scientific article that is suitable for publication in a refereed journal.
  • Oral presentation. The purpose is to elaborate on the project for a scientific audience. This can take the form of a presentation for the colleagues in the department or attendees at a scientific conference.

Academic skills: writing a thesis, oral presentation

Master's thesis Energy Science

The Master’s thesis is a research project in which the student will learn to conduct research independently in the field of energy and materials, whereby new methods are developed and/or applied or existing methods are applied to a new problem. The research should be relevant from both a scientific point of view (it should expand the body of scientific knowledge) and a societal point of view (it should produce knowledge that can contribute to a better understanding or the solution of societal problems in the area of energy).

The student delivers the following outputs:

  • Master’s thesis proposal. The proposal should be handed in within four weeks after starting the Master’s thesis. In this proposal the student should be able to translate a research question into a research plan that includes a justification of the problem, research question(s), methodology to be used, expected results and a time plan. The proposal should be approved by the supervisor before submission to the Board of Examiners.
  • Thesis. The Master’s thesis is written in English. The student is encouraged to write the thesis in the form of a scientific article that is suitable for publication in a refereed journal.
  • Oral presentation. The purpose is to elaborate on the project for a scientific audience. The student should be able to extract key insights and lessons from the research work and present them to an audience of peers in an adequate manner

Academic skills: academic writing, presentation

natural science track: obligatory courses (2 out of 12)

Adsorption, Kinetics and Catalysis

This course prepares for research in the field of catalysis, nanostructured materials and gas adsorption. Fundamentally different mechanisms of catalytic reactions on surfaces (acid-base, metals and oxides) are introduced and linked to related industrial processes. The first step of all catalytic reactions on surfaces involves adsorption. For that reason we discuss both physisorption and chemisorption, the former also for the study of surface area and texture of porous solids. An introduction into kinetics is based on Langmuir-Hinshelwood descriptions as well as collision theory and transition state theory. The impact of diffusion on the rate of catalytic reactions is dealt with. Ambitious students are allowed to attend the (optional) national course `Catalytic Surface Science' organized by NIOK, the Netherlands Institute for Catalysis Research.

Photovoltaic Solar Energy Physics and Technology

The following topics will be covered:

  1. Basic physics of semiconductors
  2. p-n junctions (including applications in devices such as solar cells and LEDs)
  3. Semiconductor processing (chemical and physical deposition, etching, oxidation)
  4. Thin film solar cells, including tandem cells
  5. Selected other semiconductor materials and devices and new development
  6. Solar cell performance
  7. Experience solar cell research in practice by laboratory visit.

Academic skills: writing a paper, presentation

Synthesis of heterogeneous Catalysts and related materials

In about 90% of the industrial chemical conversions catalysis plays a crucial role. In the definition by Berzelius of two centuries ago, a catalyst is a material that can accelerate a reaction without being involved in the reaction itself. This lecture series will focus on the fundamentals of the synthesis of heterogeneous catalysts and related (e.g. absorption) materials. The first part of the course will deal with the synthesis, structure and characterization methods of some of the most important materials that act as a catalyst support such as alumina, silica and zeolites. In the second part, methods for the synthesis of catalytically active metal nanoparticles on a support will be presented in detail. Since nanometer scale structural features (micro- and mesoporosity of the support, particle size distribution etc.) can have a huge impact on catalyst performance, the lectures will also discuss characterization techniques that can unravel these structures. Examples will be shown how sometimes small changes in synthesis routes can lead to significant changes in catalyst structure, which can affect catalyst performance.

Solids and Surfaces

  • First contact with the methods and language of solid state physics
  • Basic understanding of the behavior of nearly free electrons in solids
  • Basic understanding of the properties of metals and semiconductors
  • Basic understanding of electrons in surfaces and in 2-D systems, such as graphene

Delocalized electrons in solids play an essential role in many important applications, e.g. microelectronics (integrated circuits, memories), optoelectronics (lasers, solar cells), interfacial chemistry (catalysis, colloid chemistry, electrochemistry) and advanced measurement techniques (scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and spectroscopy). In this course the following themes will be considered:

  • the theory of electrons in solids and at surfaces (the Sommerfeld model for free electrons, the almost-free electron model related to the band structure of solids, tight-binding approximations, surface states);
  • electrons in 2-D lattices, 2-D band structure, graphene
  • applications of these systems in LEDs and solar cells

The student is expected to study the lecture notes, preferably in advance of the lecture and to solve the problems during or after tutorial sessions. The course will conclude with a visit to scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy lab of Vanmaekelbergh/Swart.

Soft condensed matter

This lecture series will provide an introduction to the science of soft condensed matter (SCM), which includes systems such as polymers, surfactants, liquid crystals, and colloids. These systems behave like viscous fluids or soft solids and are also called complex fluids. They require insights and methods from both chemistry and physics. SCM is relevant to almost all processes that take place in the cell, the upcoming field of nanoscience, and the fabrication of advanced materials such as photonic crystals. In the first lectures the foundations of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics (ensemble theory, liquid state theory) will be reviewed, as they form the basis for the theoretical description of SCM. This formalism is applied to Debye-Hückel theory, pair distribution functions, and to the description of phase transitions in SCM systems (liquid-gas, hard-sphere crystallization, isotropic-nematic liquid crystal). Interparticle interactions are then treated: electrical double layers, Van der Waals forces, DLVO-theory, and depletion forces. Key experimental methods that are used in the study of SCM are explained: scattering methods (using light, X-rays, or neutrons), microscopy, and direct measurement of forces. Using the concepts thus introduced, a more in-depth treatment is given of the properties of several important SCM systems, namely polymer solutions, surfactant solutions and emulsions, colloidal dispersions, and quantum dots. In a few more advanced lectures the dynamics of SCM will be addressed. This will include Brownian motion, rheology (flow and deformation properties), and behaviour in external fields. The lecture series will include lectures on the synthesis of colloidal dispersions, and on the use of colloids as building blocks for the fabrication of advanced nanoscale materials, such as photonic crystals.

Kinetic processes

  1. Rates of geochemical reactions. Rate equations, reaction mechanisms, elementary reactions, order of reactions, steady state, Arrhenius equation, principle of detailed balancing, Michaelis-Menten kinetics, heterogeneous kinetics.
  2. Theory of chemical kinetics: Collision theory, diffusion controlled reactions in solution, transition state theory, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, kinetic processes under non-hydrostatic conditions.
  3. Applications of geochemical kinetics: Mineral dissolution and growth, kinetics of microbially mediated reactions, kinetics of redox reactions, kinetics of reactions in aqueous solution, geochronology, geospeedometry.

Most of the examples discussed in the course are biogeochemical processes in aquatic environments. As part of the course, the students have to study independently chapters from the textbook Geochemical Kinetics by Y. Zhang. Students have to solve problems in the book and their solutions will be graded.

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Ability to work in the team: (Video) lectures are prepared in teams. Students have to distribute tasks, organize the workflow and are responsible for the time planning.
  • Problem solving: students receive data from (virtual) experiments and have to use different approaches to parameterize empirical rate laws.
  • Verbal communication skills: emphasis is put on transferring knowledge to non-expert audience / teaching, including the definition of teaching goals, planning a (video) lecture and preparing/presenting the lecture. Students are familiarized with techniques required to prepare video lectures.
  • Analytical / quantitative skills: analytical and numerical integration of differential equations. Solving quantitative problems related to kinetic processes.
  • Technical skills: using the computer programmes Excel, Matlab and Stella for numerical integration of differential equations.

Mechanisms of deformation and transport in rocks

Large scale deformation and fluid or melt transport phenomena occurring within the Earth's crust and mantle are ultimately controlled by processes operating at the micro- and mesoscopic scales. Therefore, in order to model large scale dynamic processes operating in the crust and mantle, and to interpret deformation- and transport-related structures preserved in rocks, an understanding of the mechanisms of deformation and transport that operate in Earth materials is needed.

This course addresses such mechanisms, using an advanced materials science approach. It forms a core component of the Earth Materials Track within the Master Programme Earth Structure & Dynamics (ESD). It is also a useful and frequent choice for students following other ESD tracks.

Topics covered include the following:

Part 1 – Transport Mechanisms (Lecturer = Peach):
Properties of geofluids; fluid/melt transport through rock; electrical conductivity of rock; percolation theory; Effects of deformation and microstructural change on transport properties.

Part 2 Deformation Mechanisms (Lecturer = Niemeijer):
Elastic behaviour and thermodynamics of stressed solids; Defects and diffusion; Diffusion creep, superplasticity, deformation of solid/liquid/melt systems; Dislocation dynamics and intracrystalline plastic flow; Microstructure, recrystallization and deformation fabrics; Fracture mechanics and failure of rocks and ceramics; Fault slip, friction and slip-stability; Deformation behaviour of key rock materials under crustal and mantle conditions.

Throughout the course, examples will be given of applications in Geology, Geophysics, Geo-resources and Geo-storage.

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Ability to work in the team: Students will complete mini-projects and assignments in teams of two and are encouraged to interact with other teams to discuss the problems investigated. Within this structure, students must distribute tasks and organize their workflow and time planning.
  • Written communication: Each mini-project or practical assignment results in a written product (report) that must be completed and handed in by a strict deadline..
  • Problem solving: The mini-projects, practicals and homework exercises given are extremely challenging and require creativity and imagination to envisage which processes have to be considered and how to describe them quantitatively.
  • Verbal communication skills: Students are strongly encouraged to participate in actively answering questions posed by the lecturers in class.
  • Work ethic. The deadlines for completing mini-project/practical and homework exercises are extremely strict so that worked answers can be distributed to all students but only when all students have submitted a given product. Failure to be professional in meeting these deadlines results in disqualification from the course.
  • Analytical / quantitative skills: The miniprojects/practicals and homework exercises involve breaking complex problems, in the field of deformation and transport properties, down into their component parts, first conceptually. The conceptual components must then be systematically described using suitable equations and parameter values, introduced in the lectures, to arrive at quantitative answers.

Grading of practicals/mini-projects and homework:

  • These will be continuously assessed on a pass/fail basis
  • All assignments (pr + hw) given must be completed with a “pass” to pass the course
  • Where appropriate and possible, feedback will include worked answers for self-study

Examinations and grading of the course:

  • All assignments given (practicals and homework) must be completed with a “pass” to pass the course
  • The final grade is based on two written, closed-book examinations and is calculated as follows: Mid term exam Peach 37.5% + Final exam Niemeijer 62.5%
  • The minimum pass grade (weighted average of Parts Peach and Niemeijer) for the course is 5.5 out of 10, with all assignments completed. Grades between 5.50 and 5.99 are rounded up to 6.0. A grade of 5.49 or less is a fail.
  • The right to a repair examination is granted if the unrounded average grade for Parts 1 and 2 lies between 4.00 and 5.49 and if the student has completed and obtained a pass for all assignments. Repair exams may address Part 1 (Peach) or Part 2 (Niemeijer) – students may choose which they prefer to resit (one only). After the repair exam, the final course grade is calculated as the average of the grades obtained for Parts 1 and 2, with the repaired grade updated. If the course grade obtained is 5.50 or above it will be set at 6.0, i.e. no final scores higher than 6.0 are given. If the final grade is 5.49 or less, the result is a fail and the entire course has be redone if a pass is sought.
  • The right to a repair exam is not automatic if a student is ill. De-registering for an exam or test due to illness does not automatically entitle students to take a repair test or exam. After recovery, the student must supply a doctor’s note certifying that the student was ill on the day of the test/exam. Without this, students have no right to a repair exam.

Principles of groundwater flow

The importance of groundwater as a resource and as a critical component in many environmental issues is widely recognized. Groundwater hydrology is a rapidly evolving science and plays a key role in understanding a variety of subsurface processes.

  1. Porous media properties such as porosity and intrinsic permeability, hydraulic conductivity, erosion, fractures, continuum approach, Representative Elementary Volume REV- concept, up-scaling from pore-to continuum scale, basic fluid mechanical concepts.
  2. Groundwater flow: Darcy's Law, hydraulic head, hydraulic conductivity, pore pressure, anisotropy, Dupuit assumptions, mapping of flow, flow in fractured media.
  3. Flow equations in confined and unconfined aquifers: combining the mass balance equation and Darcy’s Law, boundary conditions, storage properties of porous media: compressibility of groundwater and compressibility of the solid phase, Boussinesq approximation, initial and boundary conditions, flow nets, dimensional analysis, analytical solutions of simple hydro-geological problems.
  4. Density-dependent flow, coastal aquifers.
  5. Super position principle, method of images, Analytical Element Method.
  6. Transient flow of groundwater, pumping tests, slug tests, constant head and falling head tests.
  7. Groundwater flow modeling, modeling approaches (schematization), simulation, evaluation model results, model verification and validation, finite differences, grids, integration in time, initial and boundary conditions, computer models, introduction to ModFlow, modeling exercises with ModFlow.
  8. Particle tracking in groundwater modeling.
  9. Two excursions are an integral part of this course. In general a visit to a bank-infiltration water supply pumping station (De Steeg of Oasen) and a trip to a groundwater remediation site.

Grading
During the course a variety of home works is presented to the students. Each home work contributes to the final grade. The idea of the home works is ‘continuous assessment’ of the students. In the final weeks of the course, the students are confronted with old exams, either as a graded homework or as an additional example to get acquainted with the examination style.
The home works, including the computer homework(s) contribute to 25 % of the final grade. The written exam contributes 75%.

Grades between 5.50 and 5.99 are rounded up to 6.0. Grades between 5.0 and 5.49 are rounded down to 5.0. The right to a repair examination is granted if the final grade lies between 4.0 and 5.0. The result of the repair exam will be expressed as a pass (grade = 6.0) or a fail. Failure in the repair stage implies redoing the course in the following academic year.

Earth Resources (mineral and petroleum resources)

In our society there is a continuous demand of natural resources, e.g. in the energy, food, metal industry and construction sectors. These resources can be divided, from an economical perspective, into two main groups: petroleum and mineral resources. This particular course focuses on the geological, exploration, (sustainable) exploitation and (socio-) economical aspects of the most important mineral resources present in the deep and shallow subsurface. Petroleum resources (coal, oil and gas) are treated in the (M-profile) MSc courses Reflection Seismics and Petroleum Systems (GEO4-1441).

  • The first part of the course will start with an introduction in Natural Resources, covering topics such as global distribution of Earth resources, demands, reserves, and the role of geologists in exploration and exploitation. Subsequently, a series of lectures and assignments will be given on:
    • occurrence and exploitation of metal ores (e.g. bulk industrial metals, rare earth metals)
    • gold deposits; formation of gold veins
    • uranium deposits; disposal strategies on nuclear waste
    • global salt resources; mining of salt in The Netherlands
    • surface mineral resources (i.e. sand, clay, gravel)
  • The second part of the course will focus on exploration methods for mineral resources. This will include lectures and assignments on:
    • use of satellite images to remotely explore mineral resources
    • geophysical exploration methods, in particular gravity and geomagnetic surveying for mineral resources.

During the second part of the course, student teams also will have to write an essay on a self-chosen topic related to the sustainable exploration of mineral resources (instructions and a list of possible topics will be provided at the start of the course). The essays will be presented by the teams in the last week of the course.

During the course, the students are expected to:

  • attend all lectures
  • attend all oral presentations
  • actively participate in practical’s and complete all assignments
  • actively participate in class discussions, by asking well-thought questions.

Transferrable skills acquired in the course:

  • Ability to work in a team: Most class room assignments during the course are performed in teams. Size and composition of the teams may vary per class, so that students regularly will have to work and communicate with different partners
  • Written communication skills: Student teams have to write an essay or short scientific report with a societal relevant component. Each team also will have to give written feedback on the essays of two other teams
  • Verbal communication skills: Students have to give an oral presentation of their essay
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: solving various exercises related to the exploration of mineral resources
  • Technical skills: use of computer software for the quantitative modelling and interpretation of 2D gravity and geomagnetic anomaly profiles.

Quantitative Water Management

  • Groundwater drainage: Donnan, Hooghoudt and beyond.
  • Groundwater drainage practice in The Netherlands: agricultural vs. urban areas.
  • Urban stormwater drainage and the urban water assignment: pluvial flooding and sewer management, flooding from regional surface waters, and governance issues.
  • Side effects of drainage: downstream flooding, land subsidence, salinization and operational water resources management, ecohydrological drought, and foundation damage.
  • Reservoir management and irrigation: basics of irrigation scheduling, hydrological change and sustainable reservoir planning and management.

Nanomaterials: Catalysis, Colloids, Nanophotonics

The master programme Nanomaterials: Chemistry and Physics is strongly linked to the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science. The research program of the Institute focuses on three themes, Catalysis, Colloid Science and Nanophotonics.
The aim of the present course is to introduce the basic concepts involved in these three main focus areas. The students will get acquainted with a variety of research topics that are currently important in the wild field of nanomaterials, which are often fabricated by self-assembly of sub-units with dimensions roughly between 1 and 1000 nm. The size of the building blocks is important for the chemical activity, electronic structure, optical, electrical and magnetic properties of the system. Nanomaterials sciences are intrinsically interdisciplinary in their character as they require a combination of advanced chemistry and physics approaches. In addition, nanomaterials becomes more and more important in biology nad medicine. This course should deal with topics attracting currently much scientific interest and displaying a strong interdisciplinary chemical and physical character.
The course will consist of 5 sub-units, each 1,5 week long, which will include two lectures/tutorials followed by a presentation of an advanced topic of current interest within the Debye Institute. The topics of catalysis and colloids will be treated in two of such subunits. The fifth will be devoted to nanophotonics. An overview of possible master thesis subjects in 6 research groups of the Debye Institute will be also given. The students have to prepare on one of the topics and to pass an exam.

Modelling and simulation

An important aspect of physics research is modeling: complex physical systems are simplified through a sequence of controlled approximations to a model that lends itself for computations, either analytic or by computer. In this course, the origin of a number of widely used models will be discussed. Magnetic systems as well as the liquid-gas transition is modelled by the Ising model, polymers are often modelled by random walks, liquid flow is often modelled by lattice Boltzmann gases. Insight into these models can be obtained through a number of ways, one of which is computer simulation. During the course, simulation methods for these models will be discussed in the lectures as well as in computer lab sessions. Prerequisite: Elementary programming skills and some statistical physics.

Elective courses

System analysis track

You should select courses for a total of 37.5 credits. Contrary to the Natural Science track an internship (22.5 credits) can be a part of your selection; if it is, you have to complete your programme with two elective courses of 7.5 credits each. 

Natural Science track

You have to do one other elective (7.5 EC)

 

Generic overview of study programme