PNG 550
Reactive Transport in the Subsurface

PNG 550: Reactive Transport in the Subsurface

Instructor and Author:

Li Li, Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University.


This course targets graduate students from various disciplines that work with chemical and physical processes in natural subsurface. This includes, for example, petroleum and natural gas engineering, geosciences, environmental engineering, agricultural engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, and applied mathematics. The course teaches fundamental concepts that are important in understanding subsurface reactive transport processes, as well as their quantitative representation and application. Covered topics include, for example, (bio)geochemical thermodynamics and kinetics, contaminant transport, and reactive transport coupling. Depending on the students’ interests, the course will discuss the applications of the principles in understanding and quantifying chemical weathering processes, environmental (bio)remediation, geological carbon sequestration, and reservoir souring.

The course will be taught through a combination of lectures that discuss general principles and reactive transport equations, and exercises with a series of example files. The students will learn to set up models, as well as to visualize and interpret the modeling output. The example files will be tailored to the students’ interests every year.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the mathematical representation of various types of (bio)geochemical reactions;
  2. Understand general principles governing the coupling among reactions, flow, and transport processes;
  3. Understand the importance of different processes under different conditions;
  4. Develop computational skills to simulate coupled flow, transport, and reactions using a reactive transport modeling code (for example, CrunchFlow);
  5. Develop the ability to communicate and collaborate within interdisciplinary teams. 

Learning Environment

This website provides the primary instructional materials for the course. The menu on the top of the page links you to course orientation, syllabus, lessons, Canvas system, and other supporting materials. Canvas - Penn State's course management system, is used to support the delivery of this course as well as it provides the primary communications, calendaring, discussion, and submission tools for the course.