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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 13 Issue 4 (2008) pp 195-206

Modeling Methane Production in Managed Sanitary Landfills

Claudia Aranda, Laura Meraz, and Armando Domínguez,٭,†

UAM-Iztapalapa, Depto. Química, Av. San Rafael Atlixco 186, Col. Vicentina, C.P. 09340, México D.F.,, CIIEMAD-IPN, Av. Othón de Mendizábal 485, Col. Nueva Industrial Vallejo, C.P. 07700, México D.F.
Received May 12, 2006. Accepted January 11, 2007.

Published online: 24 July 2008

Abstract. It is important to discuss real-world problems when teaching a subject such as chemical kinetics in order to show the close relationship existing between classroom work and laboratory work and to learn chemistry as practiced. This manuscript describes the application of chemical kinetics concepts to the modeling of methane production in sanitary landfill. One purely empirical formula and two equations based on basic chemical kinetics concepts, which are broadly used in sanitary landfill technology are compared against each other. In particular a fractal chemical kinetics model is shown as a necessity for adequately modeling a solid-state digestion process. Agreements and disagreements among the different models are analyzed from the point of view of the diminution of methane emanations from landfill to atmosphere.

Key Words: In the Classroom; physical chemistry; chemical kinetics; fractal; landfill; methane; waste

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (623 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

An illustration of the application of the three models described here over typical Colombian MSW composition is included as supporting materials. This exercise is performed with Excel software. This example can be used as a starting point for students who can use it to reach conclusions without needing to know all the mathematical details (118 KB) .

Issue date: August 1, 2008

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