The global demand for energy and materials is increasing with world population growth. In this unit, students explore energy options and the chemical production of materials with reference to efficiencies, renewability and the minimisation of their impact on the environment.
Students compare and evaluate different chemical energy resources, including fossil fuels, biofuels, galvanic cells and fuel cells. They investigate the combustion of fuels, including the energy transformations involved, the use of stoichiometry to calculate the amounts of reactants and products involved in the reactions, and calculations of the amounts of energy released and their representations. Students consider the purpose, design and operating principles of galvanic cells, fuel cells and electrolytic cells. In this context they use the electrochemical series to predict and write half and overall redox equations, and apply Faraday’s laws to calculate quantities in electrolytic reactions.
Students analyse manufacturing processes with reference to factors that influence their reaction rates and extent. They investigate and apply the equilibrium law and Le Chatelier’s principle to different reaction systems, including to predict and explain the conditions that improve the efficiency and percentage yield of chemical processes. They use the language and conventions of chemistry including symbols, units, chemical formulas and equations to represent and explain observations and data collected from experiments, and to discuss chemical phenomena.
What are the options for energy production?
In this area of study students focus on analysing and comparing a range of energy resources and technologies, including fossil fuels, biofuels, galvanic cells and fuel cells, with reference to the energy transformations and chemical reactions involved, energy efficiencies, environmental impacts and potential applications. Students use the specific heat capacity of water and thermochemical equations to determine the enthalpy changes and quantities of reactants and products involved in the combustion reactions of a range of renewable and non-renewable fuels.
Students conduct practical investigations involving redox reactions, including the design, construction and testing of galvanic cells, and account for differences between experimental findings and predictions made by using the electrochemical series. They compare the design features, operating principles and uses of galvanic cells and fuel cells, and summarise cell processes by writing balanced equations for half and overall cell processes.
How can the yield of a chemical product be optimised?
In this area of study students explore the factors that increase the efficiency and percentage yield of a chemical manufacturing process while reducing the energy demand and associated costs.
Students investigate how the rate of a reaction can be controlled so that it occurs at the optimum rate while avoiding unwanted side reactions and by-products. They explain reactions with reference to the collision theory including reference to Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution curves. The progression of exothermic and endothermic reactions, including the use of a catalyst, is represented using energy profile diagrams.
Students explore homogeneous equilibrium systems and apply the equilibrium law to calculate equilibrium constants and concentrations of reactants and products. They investigate Le Chatelier’s principle and the effect of different changes on an equilibrium system and make predictions about the optimum conditions for the production of chemicals, taking into account rate and yield considerations. Students represent the establishment of equilibrium and the effect of changes to an equilibrium system using concentration-time graphs.
Students investigate a range of electrolytic cells with reference to their basic design features and purpose, their operating principles and the energy transformations that occur. They examine the discharging and recharging processes in rechargeable cells, and apply Faraday’s laws to calculate quantities in electrochemistry and to determine cell efficiencies.
How can the diversity of carbon compounds be explained and categorised?
In this area of study, students explore why such a vast range of carbon compounds is possible. They examine the structural features of members of several homologous series of compounds, including some of the simpler structural isomers, and learn how they are represented and named.
Students investigate trends in the physical and chemical properties of various organic families of compounds. They study typical reactions of organic families and some of their reaction pathways, and write balanced chemical equations for organic syntheses.
Students learn to deduce or confirm the structure and identity of organic compounds by interpreting data from mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy and proton and carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
What is the chemistry of food?
Food contains various organic compounds that are the source of both the energy and the raw materials that the human body needs for growth and repair. In this area of study students explore the importance of food from a chemical perspective.
Students study the major components of food with reference to their structures, properties and functions. They examine the hydrolysis reactions in which foods are broken down, the condensation reactions in which new biomolecules are formed and the role of enzymes, assisted by coenzymes, in the metabolism of food.
Students study the role of glucose in cellular respiration and investigate the principles of calorimetry and its application in determining enthalpy changes for reactions in solution. They explore applications of food chemistry by considering the differences in structures of natural and artificial sweeteners, the chemical significance of the glycaemic index of foods, the rancidity of fats and oils, and the use of the term ‘essential’ to describe some amino acids and fatty acids in the diet.
Overall Final Assessment
Students complete a Headstart program of study in Fuels and Energy from Fuels during the summer holidays to give them a solid foundation in these chemistry skills and a practice SAC so as to prepare them for their first assessment SAC which are in the form of topic tests.