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Barbara Balko

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Olin Hall

I have been at Lewis & Clark College since Fall 1993.


Courses I have taught include Physical Chemistry (Thermodynamics & Kinetics; Statistical Mechanics & Quantum Chemistry), Physical Chemistry Laboratory, Perspectives in Environmental Chemistry, General Chemistry I and II, Aquatic Chemistry, and Exploration & Discovery.

Recent Research

Research in my group focuses on environmentally relevant electrochemical reactions; currently we are examining the effect that clay has on the oxidation of iron metal.  This work has applications to the improvement of iron permeable reactive barriers used for the degradation of groundwater contaminants as well as the corrosion of iron structures in soils (e.g. nuclear waste containers).  In our research, we coat iron electrodes with a clay suspension.  We then use electrochemical techniques (linear sweep voltammatry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy) to determine how the presence of the clay affects the iron oxide film on the iron and the corrosion of the underlying iron metal. My first student to work on this project was profiled in an article in the “Lewis & Clark Chronicle”, An Electrochemical Investigation of the Enhanced Reactivity of Clays in Contact with Iron Metal.

Recent Theses

Keira Roberts (2015) “Electrochemical Characterization of Iron Nanoparticle-Clay Interaction for Groundwater Remediation”

Sarah Sandholtz (2013) “The Effect of the Properties of Clay Minerals on the Corrosion of Zero Valent Iron”

Recent Publications

The Effect of Smectite on the Corrosion of Iron Metal, B.A. Balko, S.A. Bosse*, A.E. Cade*, E.F. Jones-Landry*, J.E. Amonette, J.L. Daschbach, Clays and Clay Minerals, 60(2), 136-152, 2012

* indicates Lewis & Clark undergraduates

Group News

Summer 2017:  Eric Sauer worked as a summer intern in Professor Paul Tratnyek’s lab at OHSU

Spring 2017:  Eric Sauer gave a talk on his work as part of the Festival of Scholars

Spring 2017: Riley Coulthard (nee Keira Roberts) was awarded an NSF graduate research fellowship

Fall 2016: Eric Sauer begain independent research

Fall 2015: Keira Roberts began graduate school in the School of Chemical & Environmental Engineering at Yale University in Desiree Plata’s group

Spring 2015: Keira Roberts successfully defended her thesis and received Chemistry Department honors

Spring 2015: Sarah Sandholtz was awarded an NSF graduate research fellowship

Spring 2015: Keira Roberts attended the ACS National Meeting in Denver, CO where she presented a poster describing her thesis research

Fall 2014: Keira Roberts began senior thesis research

Fall 2014: Sarah Sandholtz began graduate school in the Chemical Engineering program at Stanford University in Andrew Spakowitz’s group

Spring 2013: Sarah Sandholtz successfully defended her thesis and received Chemistry Department honors

Fall 2012: Sarah Sandholtz began senior thesis research


Academic Credentials

Ph.D. 1991 University of California at Berkeley, A.B. 1984 Bryn Mawr College

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Barbara Balko’s office is located in room 225 of Olin.


voice 503-768-7534


Barbara Balko Associate Professor of Chemistry

Chemistry Lewis & Clark 0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road MSC 55 Portland OR 97219 USA