Chemistry Units 1 – 4
The study is made up of four units.
- Unit 1: How can the diversity of materials be explained?
- Unit 2: How do chemical reactions shape the natural world?
- Unit 3: How can design and innovation help to optimise chemical processes?
- Unit 4: How are carbon-based compounds designed for purpose?
Each unit deals with specific content contained in areas of study and is designed to enable students to achieve a set of outcomes for that unit. Each outcome is described in terms of key knowledge and key skills.
Unit 1: How can the diversity of materials be explained?
In this unit students investigate the chemical structures and properties of a range of materials, including covalent compounds, metals, ionic compounds and polymers. They are introduced to ways that chemical quantities are measured. They consider how manufacturing innovations lead to more sustainable products being produced for society through the use of renewable raw materials and a transition from a linear economy towards a circular economy.
Unit 2: How do chemical reactions shape the natural world?
Society is dependent on the work of chemists to analyse the materials and products in everyday use. In this unit students analyse and compare different substances dissolved in water and the gases that may be produced in chemical reactions. They explore applications of acid-base and redox reactions in society.
Students conduct practical investigations involving the specific heat capacity of water, acid-base and redox reactions, solubility, molar volume of a gas, volumetric analysis, and the use of a calibration curve.
Unit 3: How can design and innovation help to optimise chemical processes?
The global demand for energy and materials is increasing with world population growth. In this unit students investigate the chemical production of energy and materials. They explore how innovation, design and sustainability principles and concepts can be applied to produce energy and materials while minimising possible harmful effects of production on human health and the environment.
Students analyse and compare different fuels as energy sources for society, with reference to the energy transformations and chemical reactions involved, energy efficiencies, environmental impacts and potential applications. They explore food in the context of supplying energy in living systems. The purpose, design and operating principles of galvanic cells, fuel cells, rechargeable cells and electrolytic cells are considered when evaluating their suitability for supplying society’s needs for energy and materials. They evaluate chemical processes with reference to factors that influence their reaction rates and extent.
Unit 4: How are carbon-based compounds designed for purpose?
Carbon is the basis not only of the structure of living tissues but is also found in fuels, foods, medicines, polymers and many other materials that we use in everyday life. In this unit students investigate the structures and reactions of carbon-based organic compounds, including considering how green chemistry principles are applied in the production of synthetic organic compounds. They study the metabolism of food and the action of medicines in the body. They explore how laboratory analysis and various instrumentation techniques can be applied to analyse organic compounds in order to identify them and to ensure product purity.