The development and use of materials for specific purposes is an important human endeavour. In this unit students investigate the chemical properties of a range of materials from metals and salts to polymers and nanomaterials. Using their knowledge of elements and atomic structure students explore and explain the relationships between properties, structure and bonding forces within and between particles that vary in size from the visible, through nanoparticles, to molecules and atoms.
Water is the most widely used solvent on Earth. In this unit students explore the physical and chemical properties of water, the reactions that occur in water and various methods of water analysis. Students examine the polar nature of a water molecule and the intermolecular forces between water molecules. They explore the relationship between these bonding forces and the physical and chemical properties of water. In this context students investigate solubility, concentration, pH and reactions in water including precipitation, acid-base and redox. Students are introduced to stoichiometry and to analytical techniques and instrumental procedures, and apply these to determine concentrations of different species in water samples, including chemical contaminants. They use chemistry terminology including symbols, units, formulas and equations to represent and explain observations and data from experiments, and to discuss chemical phenomena. Students explore the solvent properties of water in a variety of contexts and analyse selected issues associated with substances dissolved in water.
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 and investigate the combustion of fuels. They consider the purpose, design and operating principles of galvanic cells, fuel cells and electrolytic cells and calculate quantities in electrolytic reactions. Students analyse manufacturing processes with reference to factors that influence their reaction rates and extent. They apply the equilibrium law and Le Chatelier’s principle to predict and explain the conditions that will improve the efficiency and percentage yield of chemical processes.
Carbon is the basis of the diverse compounds found in living tissues and in the fuels, foods, medicines and many of the materials we use in everyday life. In this unit students investigate the structural features, bonding, reactions and uses of the major families of organic compounds including those found in food.
Students process data from instrumental analyses to confirm or deduce organic structures, and perform volumetric analyses to determine the concentrations of organic chemicals in mixtures. They predict the products of reaction pathways and design pathways to produce particular compounds from given starting materials. Students investigate key food molecules including carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and vitamins and use calorimetry to determine the energy released in the combustion of food.