Peter Tremaine

Prof. Peter Tremaine

Education: BSc, (University of Waterloo, 1969), PhD, (University of Alberta, 1974)


Office: MacNaughton 314B / Laboratories: MacNaughton 307, 309, 055

Phone: 519-824-4120 ext: 56076 / Fax: 519-766-1499




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Research Themes

  • Physical chemistry of ions and organic solutes in very high temperature water.
  • Origins of Life / Prebiotic Chemistry: Amino acids and nucleic acids under deep-ocean hydrothermal vent conditions.
  • CANDU Nuclear reactor chemistry: the next generation of reactors.
  • Thermal power generation, carbon capture, and hydrogen co-generation.


Summary of Research Interests

Many geological and industrial processes take place at conditions far beyond the range of conventional room temperature measurements. The objective of research in the hydrothermal chemistry group is to develop the knowledge base and theoretical understanding needed to describe the behaviour of aqueous systems at extremes of temperature and pressure, and to apply these results to fundamental problems encountered in electrical power stations, nuclear reactors, geothermal ore bodies, deep-ocean hydrothermal vents, and carbon capture/sequestration.


Sensitive flow calorimeters, densitometers and AC conductance cells, constructed of inert materials to withstand the corrosive conditions, are used to determine the thermodynamic properties of simple electrolytes and organic molecules in liquid water at temperatures up to 400 deg C and pressures as high as 300 atm, to examine the effects of ionic charge and organic functional groups under conditions approaching the critical point of water. The form of the chemical species, and their equilibrium constants at high temperature and pressure, are being determined by conductance methods, and by UV-visible and Raman spectroscopy in flow systems with sapphire windows or in diamond anvil cells. Spectroscopic, heat capacity and volumetric studies on metal complexes with ammonia, halides and chelating agents provide data and models to describe the temperature dependence of transition metal complexation and chelation equilibria. Some of our MSc and PhD projects can be co-op or international exchange.


The novelty in the work lies in the very extreme conditions being studied, the potential for identifying unusual effects, and the need to develop specialised instrumental techniques to obtain quantitative data for multi-component aqueous systems under these very aggressive conditions.


Research Group

Dr. Jenny Cox (Senior Research Associate & Lab Manager)

Dr. Hugues Arcis (Research Associate)

Dr. Lucas Applegarth (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Dr. Yohann Coulier (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Dr. Olivia Fandiño Torres (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Mr. Chris Alcorn (Ph.D. Candidate)

Mr. Henry Kwame Agbovi (M.Sc. Candidate)

Ms. Katherine Bissonette (M.Sc. Candidate)

Ms. Jane Ferguson (M.Sc. Candidate)

Mr. Alexander Lowe (M.Sc. Candidate)

Mr. Jeff Plumridge (M.Sc. Candidate)

Mr. Michael Yacyshyn (M.Sc. 2013)

Ms. Katelyn McCallum (Research Assistant)

Mr. Kevin Yin (Research Assistant)



CHEM 2820 - Physical Chemistry: Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics

CHEM 7500 - Physical Chemistry: Aqueous Solutions and Interfaces


Recent Publications

  1. E. Balodis, L.N. Trevani, and P.R. Tremaine, Ionization Constants and Thermal Stabilities of Uracil and Adenine under Hydrothermal Conditions as Measured by in situ UV-Visible Spectroscopy, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 93, 182-204 (2012).
  2. G.H. Zimmerman, H. Arcis, and P.R. Tremaine, Limiting Conductivities and Ion Association Constants of Aqueous NaCl under Hydrothermal Conditions: Experimental Data and Correlations, J. Chem. Eng. Data 57, 2415-2429 (2012).
  3. G.H. Zimmerman, H. Arcis and P.R. Tremaine, Limiting Conductivities and Ion Association in Aqueous Na(CF3SO3) and Sr(CF3SO3)2 from 298 to 623 K at 20 MPa. Is Triflate a Non-Complexing Anion in High Temperature Water?, J. Chem. Eng. Data (In Press).
  4. D. Guzonas, F. Brosseau, P. Tremaine, J. Meesungnoen, J.-P. Jay-Gerin, Key Water Chemistry Issues in a Supercritical-Water-Cooled Pressure-Tube Reactor, Nuclear Technol. 179, 205-219 (2012).
  5. K. M. Erickson, D. Raffa, H. Arcis, G. H. Zimmerman, P.R. Tremaine, Deuterium Isotope Effects on the Ionization Constant of Acetic Acid in H2O and D2O by AC Conductance from 100 to 275 oC at 20 MPa, J. Phys. Chem B. 115, 3038-3051 (2011).
  6. M. Madekufamba and P.R. Tremaine, Ion Association in Dilute Aqueous Magnesium Sulfate and Nickel Sulfate Solutions under Hydrothermal Conditions by AC Conductance, J. Chem. Eng. Data 56, 889–898 (2011).
  7. I. Bylina, L.N. Trevani, S.C. Mojumdar, P. Tremaine and V.G. Papangelakis, Measurement of Reaction Enthalpy During Pressure Oxidation of Sulphide Minerals, J. Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, 96, 117-124 (2009).


University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1