The Free High School Science Texts: Textbooks for High School Students Chemistry

The Free High School Science Texts: Textbooks for High School Students Chemistry
FHSST Authors
The Free High School Science Texts:
Textbooks for High School Students
Studying the Sciences
Chemistry
Grades 10 - 12
Version 0
November 9, 2008
ii
Copyright 2007 “Free High School Science Texts”
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FHSST Core Team
Mark Horner ; Samuel Halliday ; Sarah Blyth ; Rory Adams ; Spencer Wheaton
FHSST Editors
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Whitfield
FHSST Contributors
Rory Adams ; Prashant Arora ; Richard Baxter ; Dr. Sarah Blyth ; Sebastian Bodenstein ;
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Daniels ; Sean Dobbs ; Fernando Durrell ; Dr. Dan Dwyer ; Frans van Eeden ; Giovanni
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Andrew Kubik ; Dr. Marco van Leeuwen ; Dr. Anton Machacek ; Dr. Komal Maheshwari ;
Kosma von Maltitz ; Nicole Masureik ; John Mathew ; JoEllen McBride ; Nikolai Meures ;
Riana Meyer ; Jenny Miller ; Abdul Mirza ; Asogan Moodaly ; Jothi Moodley ; Nolene Naidu ;
Tyrone Negus ; Thomas O’Donnell ; Dr. Markus Oldenburg ; Dr. Jaynie Padayachee ;
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iii
iv
Contents
I
II
Introduction
1
Matter and Materials
3
1 Classification of Matter - Grade 10
1.1
1.2
5
Mixtures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5
1.1.1
Heterogeneous mixtures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6
1.1.2
Homogeneous mixtures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6
1.1.3
Separating mixtures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7
Pure Substances: Elements and Compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9
1.2.1
Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9
1.2.2
Compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9
1.3
Giving names and formulae to substances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.4
Metals, Semi-metals and Non-metals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
1.4.1
Metals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
1.4.2
Non-metals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
1.4.3
Semi-metals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
1.5
Electrical conductors, semi-conductors and insulators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
1.6
Thermal Conductors and Insulators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
1.7
Magnetic and Non-magnetic Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
1.8
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
2 What are the objects around us made of? - Grade 10
21
2.1
Introduction: The atom as the building block of matter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
2.2
Molecules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
2.2.1
Representing molecules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
2.3
Intramolecular and intermolecular forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
2.4
The Kinetic Theory of Matter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
2.5
The Properties of Matter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
2.6
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
3 The Atom - Grade 10
3.1
35
Models of the Atom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
3.1.1
The Plum Pudding Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
3.1.2
Rutherford’s model of the atom
v
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
CONTENTS
3.1.3
3.2
3.3
CONTENTS
The Bohr Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
How big is an atom? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
3.2.1
How heavy is an atom? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
3.2.2
How big is an atom? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Atomic structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
3.3.1
The Electron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
3.3.2
The Nucleus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
3.4
Atomic number and atomic mass number . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
3.5
Isotopes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
3.6
3.7
3.8
3.9
3.5.1
What is an isotope? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
3.5.2
Relative atomic mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Energy quantisation and electron configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
3.6.1
The energy of electrons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
3.6.2
Energy quantisation and line emission spectra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
3.6.3
Electron configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
3.6.4
Core and valence electrons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
3.6.5
The importance of understanding electron configuration . . . . . . . . . 51
Ionisation Energy and the Periodic Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
3.7.1
Ions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
3.7.2
Ionisation Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
The Arrangement of Atoms in the Periodic Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
3.8.1
Groups in the periodic table
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
3.8.2
Periods in the periodic table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
4 Atomic Combinations - Grade 11
63
4.1
Why do atoms bond? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
4.2
Energy and bonding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
4.3
What happens when atoms bond? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
4.4
Covalent Bonding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
4.4.1
The nature of the covalent bond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
4.5
Lewis notation and molecular structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
4.6
Electronegativity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
4.7
4.8
4.6.1
Non-polar and polar covalent bonds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
4.6.2
Polar molecules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Ionic Bonding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
4.7.1
The nature of the ionic bond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
4.7.2
The crystal lattice structure of ionic compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
4.7.3
Properties of Ionic Compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Metallic bonds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
4.8.1
The nature of the metallic bond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
4.8.2
The properties of metals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
vi
CONTENTS
4.9
CONTENTS
Writing chemical formulae
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
4.9.1
The formulae of covalent compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
4.9.2
The formulae of ionic compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
4.10 The Shape of Molecules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
4.10.1 Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) theory . . . . . . . . . . 82
4.10.2 Determining the shape of a molecule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
4.11 Oxidation numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
4.12 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
5 Intermolecular Forces - Grade 11
91
5.1
Types of Intermolecular Forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
5.2
Understanding intermolecular forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
5.3
Intermolecular forces in liquids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
5.4
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
6 Solutions and solubility - Grade 11
101
6.1
Types of solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
6.2
Forces and solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
6.3
Solubility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
6.4
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
7 Atomic Nuclei - Grade 11
107
7.1
Nuclear structure and stability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
7.2
The Discovery of Radiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
7.3
Radioactivity and Types of Radiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
7.4
7.3.1
Alpha (α) particles and alpha decay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
7.3.2
Beta (β) particles and beta decay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
7.3.3
Gamma (γ) rays and gamma decay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Sources of radiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
7.4.1
Natural background radiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
7.4.2
Man-made sources of radiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
7.5
The ’half-life’ of an element . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
7.6
The Dangers of Radiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
7.7
The Uses of Radiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
7.8
Nuclear Fission
7.9
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
7.8.1
The Atomic bomb - an abuse of nuclear fission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
7.8.2
Nuclear power - harnessing energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
Nuclear Fusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
7.10 Nucleosynthesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
7.10.1 Age of Nucleosynthesis (225 s - 103 s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
7.10.2 Age of Ions (103 s - 1013 s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
7.10.3 Age of Atoms (1013 s - 1015 s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
7.10.4 Age of Stars and Galaxies (the universe today) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
7.11 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
vii
CONTENTS
CONTENTS
8 Thermal Properties and Ideal Gases - Grade 11
125
8.1
A review of the kinetic theory of matter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
8.2
Boyle’s Law: Pressure and volume of an enclosed gas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
8.3
Charles’s Law: Volume and Temperature of an enclosed gas . . . . . . . . . . . 132
8.4
The relationship between temperature and pressure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
8.5
The general gas equation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
8.6
The ideal gas equation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
8.7
Molar volume of gases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
8.8
Ideal gases and non-ideal gas behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
8.9
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
9 Organic Molecules - Grade 12
151
9.1
What is organic chemistry? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
9.2
Sources of carbon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
9.3
Unique properties of carbon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
9.4
Representing organic compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
9.4.1
Molecular formula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
9.4.2
Structural formula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
9.4.3
Condensed structural formula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
9.5
Isomerism in organic compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
9.6
Functional groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
9.7
The Hydrocarbons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
9.7.1
The Alkanes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
9.7.2
Naming the alkanes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
9.7.3
Properties of the alkanes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
9.7.4
Reactions of the alkanes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
9.7.5
The alkenes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
9.7.6
Naming the alkenes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
9.7.7
The properties of the alkenes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
9.7.8
Reactions of the alkenes
9.7.9
The Alkynes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
9.7.10 Naming the alkynes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
9.8
9.9
The Alcohols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
9.8.1
Naming the alcohols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
9.8.2
Physical and chemical properties of the alcohols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Carboxylic Acids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
9.9.1
Physical Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
9.9.2
Derivatives of carboxylic acids: The esters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
9.10 The Amino Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
9.11 The Carbonyl Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
9.12 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
viii
CONTENTS
CONTENTS
10 Organic Macromolecules - Grade 12
185
10.1 Polymers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
10.2 How do polymers form? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
10.2.1 Addition polymerisation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
10.2.2 Condensation polymerisation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
10.3 The chemical properties of polymers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
10.4 Types of polymers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
10.5 Plastics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
10.5.1 The uses of plastics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192
10.5.2 Thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194
10.5.3 Plastics and the environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195
10.6 Biological Macromolecules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
10.6.1 Carbohydrates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
10.6.2 Proteins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
10.6.3 Nucleic Acids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
10.7 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
III
Chemical Change
209
11 Physical and Chemical Change - Grade 10
211
11.1 Physical changes in matter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
11.2 Chemical Changes in Matter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212
11.2.1 Decomposition reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
11.2.2 Synthesis reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
11.3 Energy changes in chemical reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
11.4 Conservation of atoms and mass in reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
11.5 Law of constant composition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
11.6 Volume relationships in gases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
11.7 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220
12 Representing Chemical Change - Grade 10
223
12.1 Chemical symbols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
12.2 Writing chemical formulae
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
12.3 Balancing chemical equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
12.3.1 The law of conservation of mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
12.3.2 Steps to balance a chemical equation
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226
12.4 State symbols and other information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230
12.5 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232
13 Quantitative Aspects of Chemical Change - Grade 11
233
13.1 The Mole . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
13.2 Molar Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
13.3 An equation to calculate moles and mass in chemical reactions . . . . . . . . . . 237
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13.4 Molecules and compounds
CONTENTS
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
13.5 The Composition of Substances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
13.6 Molar Volumes of Gases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246
13.7 Molar concentrations in liquids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247
13.8 Stoichiometric calculations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249
13.9 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252
14 Energy Changes In Chemical Reactions - Grade 11
255
14.1 What causes the energy changes in chemical reactions? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
14.2 Exothermic and endothermic reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
14.3 The heat of reaction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
14.4 Examples of endothermic and exothermic reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
14.5 Spontaneous and non-spontaneous reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260
14.6 Activation energy and the activated complex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261
14.7 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
15 Types of Reactions - Grade 11
267
15.1 Acid-base reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267
15.1.1 What are acids and bases? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267
15.1.2 Defining acids and bases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267
15.1.3 Conjugate acid-base pairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
15.1.4 Acid-base reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
15.1.5 Acid-carbonate reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 274
15.2 Redox reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
15.2.1 Oxidation and reduction
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
15.2.2 Redox reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
15.3 Addition, substitution and elimination reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
15.3.1 Addition reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
15.3.2 Elimination reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
15.3.3 Substitution reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282
15.4 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
16 Reaction Rates - Grade 12
287
16.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287
16.2 Factors affecting reaction rates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289
16.3 Reaction rates and collision theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
16.4 Measuring Rates of Reaction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
16.5 Mechanism of reaction and catalysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297
16.6 Chemical equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300
16.6.1 Open and closed systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
16.6.2 Reversible reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
16.6.3 Chemical equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303
16.7 The equilibrium constant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304
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CONTENTS
16.7.1 Calculating the equilibrium constant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305
16.7.2 The meaning of kc values . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 306
16.8 Le Chatelier’s principle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310
16.8.1 The effect of concentration on equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310
16.8.2 The effect of temperature on equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310
16.8.3 The effect of pressure on equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312
16.9 Industrial applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
16.10Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 316
17 Electrochemical Reactions - Grade 12
319
17.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
17.2 The Galvanic Cell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
17.2.1 Half-cell reactions in the Zn-Cu cell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
17.2.2 Components of the Zn-Cu cell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322
17.2.3 The Galvanic cell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
17.2.4 Uses and applications of the galvanic cell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324
17.3 The Electrolytic cell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325
17.3.1 The electrolysis of copper sulphate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326
17.3.2 The electrolysis of water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327
17.3.3 A comparison of galvanic and electrolytic cells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328
17.4 Standard Electrode Potentials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328
17.4.1 The different reactivities of metals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329
17.4.2 Equilibrium reactions in half cells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329
17.4.3 Measuring electrode potential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330
17.4.4 The standard hydrogen electrode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330
17.4.5 Standard electrode potentials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 333
17.4.6 Combining half cells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337
17.4.7 Uses of standard electrode potential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338
17.5 Balancing redox reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 342
17.6 Applications of electrochemistry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
17.6.1 Electroplating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
17.6.2 The production of chlorine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 348
17.6.3 Extraction of aluminium
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349
17.7 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349
IV
Chemical Systems
353
18 The Water Cycle - Grade 10
355
18.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 355
18.2 The importance of water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 355
18.3 The movement of water through the water cycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 356
18.4 The microscopic structure of water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359
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18.4.1 The polar nature of water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359
18.4.2 Hydrogen bonding in water molecules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359
18.5 The unique properties of water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360
18.6 Water conservation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363
18.7 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 366
19 Global Cycles: The Nitrogen Cycle - Grade 10
369
19.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369
19.2 Nitrogen fixation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369
19.3 Nitrification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371
19.4 Denitrification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 372
19.5 Human Influences on the Nitrogen Cycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 372
19.6 The industrial fixation of nitrogen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373
19.7 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 374
20 The Hydrosphere - Grade 10
377
20.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377
20.2 Interactions of the hydrosphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377
20.3 Exploring the Hydrosphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 378
20.4 The Importance of the Hydrosphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
20.5 Ions in aqueous solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
20.5.1 Dissociation in water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
20.5.2 Ions and water hardness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 382
20.5.3 The pH scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 382
20.5.4 Acid rain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384
20.6 Electrolytes, ionisation and conductivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 386
20.6.1 Electrolytes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 386
20.6.2 Non-electrolytes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 387
20.6.3 Factors that affect the conductivity of water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 387
20.7 Precipitation reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 389
20.8 Testing for common anions in solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
20.8.1 Test for a chloride . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
20.8.2 Test for a sulphate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
20.8.3 Test for a carbonate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 392
20.8.4 Test for bromides and iodides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 392
20.9 Threats to the Hydrosphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 393
20.10Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 394
21 The Lithosphere - Grade 11
397
21.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 397
21.2 The chemistry of the earth’s crust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 398
21.3 A brief history of mineral use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 399
21.4 Energy resources and their uses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400
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CONTENTS
21.5 Mining and Mineral Processing: Gold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 401
21.5.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 401
21.5.2 Mining the Gold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 401
21.5.3 Processing the gold ore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 401
21.5.4 Characteristics and uses of gold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402
21.5.5 Environmental impacts of gold mining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404
21.6 Mining and mineral processing: Iron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 406
21.6.1 Iron mining and iron ore processing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 406
21.6.2 Types of iron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 407
21.6.3 Iron in South Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 408
21.7 Mining and mineral processing: Phosphates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 409
21.7.1 Mining phosphates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 409
21.7.2 Uses of phosphates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 409
21.8 Energy resources and their uses: Coal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 411
21.8.1 The formation of coal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 411
21.8.2 How coal is removed from the ground . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 411
21.8.3 The uses of coal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 412
21.8.4 Coal and the South African economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 412
21.8.5 The environmental impacts of coal mining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413
21.9 Energy resources and their uses: Oil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 414
21.9.1 How oil is formed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 414
21.9.2 Extracting oil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 414
21.9.3 Other oil products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415
21.9.4 The environmental impacts of oil extraction and use . . . . . . . . . . . 415
21.10Alternative energy resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415
21.11Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 417
22 The Atmosphere - Grade 11
421
22.1 The composition of the atmosphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 421
22.2 The structure of the atmosphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 422
22.2.1 The troposphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 422
22.2.2 The stratosphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 422
22.2.3 The mesosphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 424
22.2.4 The thermosphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 424
22.3 Greenhouse gases and global warming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 426
22.3.1 The heating of the atmosphere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 426
22.3.2 The greenhouse gases and global warming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 426
22.3.3 The consequences of global warming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 429
22.3.4 Taking action to combat global warming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 430
22.4 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 431
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23 The Chemical Industry - Grade 12
435
23.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 435
23.2 Sasol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 435
23.2.1 Sasol today: Technology and production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 436
23.2.2 Sasol and the environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 440
23.3 The Chloralkali Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 442
23.3.1 The Industrial Production of Chlorine and Sodium Hydroxide . . . . . . . 442
23.3.2 Soaps and Detergents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 446
23.4 The Fertiliser Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 450
23.4.1 The value of nutrients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 450
23.4.2 The Role of fertilisers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 450
23.4.3 The Industrial Production of Fertilisers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 451
23.4.4 Fertilisers and the Environment: Eutrophication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 454
23.5 Electrochemistry and batteries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 456
23.5.1 How batteries work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 456
23.5.2 Battery capacity and energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 457
23.5.3 Lead-acid batteries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 457
23.5.4 The zinc-carbon dry cell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 459
23.5.5 Environmental considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 460
23.6 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 461
A GNU Free Documentation License
467
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Chapter 19
Global Cycles: The Nitrogen Cycle
- Grade 10
19.1
Introduction
The earth’s atmosphere is made up of about 78% nitrogen, making it the largest pool of this
gas. Nitrogen is essential for many biological processes. It is in all amino acids, proteins and
nucleic acids. As you will see in a later chapter, these compounds are needed to build tissues,
transport substances around the body, and control what happens in living organisms. In plants,
much of the nitrogen is used in chlorophyll molecules which are needed for photosynthesis and
growth.
So, if nitrogen is so essential for life, how does it go from being a gas in the atmosphere to being
part of living organisms such as plants and animals? The problem with nitrogen is that it is an
’inert’ gas, which means that it is unavailable to living organisms in its gaseous form. This is
because of the strong triple bond between its atoms that makes it difficult to break. Something
needs to happen to the nitrogen gas to change it into a form that it can be used. And at some
later stage, these new compounds must be converted back into nitrogen gas so that the amount
of nitrogen in the atmosphere stays the same. This process of changing nitrogen into different
forms is called the nitrogen cycle (figure 19.1).
Definition: The nitrogen cycle
The nitrogen cycle is a biogeochemical cycle that describes how nitrogen and nitrogencontaining compounds are changed in nature.
Very broadly, the nitrogen cycle is made up of the following processes:
• Nitrogen fixation - The process of converting inert nitrogen gas into more useable nitrogen
compounds such as ammonia.
• Nitrification - The conversion of ammonia into nitrites and then into nitrates, which can
be absorbed and used by plants.
• Denitrification - The conversion of nitrates back into nitrogen gas in the atmosphere.
We are going to look at each of these processes in more detail.
19.2
Nitrogen fixation
Nitrogen fixation is needed to change gaseous nitrogen into forms such as ammonia that are more
useful to living organisms. Some fixation occurs in lightning strikes and in industrial processes,
369
19.2
CHAPTER 19. GLOBAL CYCLES: THE NITROGEN CYCLE - GRADE 10
Nitrogen in the Atmosphere
Industrial
fixation
Nitrogen fixation
by bacteria
Animals obtain
nitrates from plants
Decomposers
e.g. bacteria
Ammonia
(NH3-)
Nitrification by
nitrifying bacteria
Plant consumption
Atmosphere
Soil
Denitrification returns nitrogen to the atmosphere
Lightning
fixation
Nitrites
(NO-2)
Nitrification
Nitrates
(NO-3)
Figure 19.1: A simplified diagram of the nitrogen cycle
but most fixation is done by different types of bacteria living either in the soil or in parts of the
plants.
1. Biological fixation
Some bacteria are able to fix nitrogen. They use an enzyme called nitrogenase to combine
gaseous nitrogen with hydrogen to form ammonia. The bacteria then use some of this
ammonia to produce their own organic compounds, while what is left of the ammonia
becomes available in the soil.
Some of these bacteria are free-living, in other words they live in the soil. Others live in
the root nodules of legumes (e.g. soy, peas and beans). Here they form a mutualistic
relationship with the plant. The bacteria get carbohydrates (food) from the plant and,
in exchange, produce ammonia which can be converted into nitrogen compounds that are
essential for the survival of the plant. In nutrient-poor soils, planting lots of legumes can
help to enrich the soil with nitrogen compounds.
A simplified equation for biological nitrogen fixation is:
N2 + 8H + + 8e− → 2N H3 + H2
Energy is used in the process, but this is not shown in the above equation.
Another important source of ammonia in the soil is decomposition. When animals and
plants die, the nitrogen compounds that were present in them are broken down and converted into ammonia. This process is carried out by decomposition bacteria and fungi in
the soil.
2. Industrial nitrogen fixation
370
CHAPTER 19. GLOBAL CYCLES: THE NITROGEN CYCLE - GRADE 10
19.3
In the Haber-Bosch process, nitrogen (N2 ) is converted together with hydrogen gas (H2 )
into ammonia (NH3 ) fertiliser. This is an artificial process.
3. Lightning
In the atmosphere, lightning and photons are important in the reaction between nitrogen
(N2 ) and oxygen (O2 ) to form nitric oxide (NO) and then nitrates.
teresting It is interesting to note that by cultivating legumes, using the Haber-Bosch
Interesting
Fact
Fact
process to manufacture chemical fertilisers and increasing pollution from vehicles
and industry, humans have more than doubled the amount of nitrogen that would
normally be changed from nitrogen gas into a biologically useful form. This has
serious environmental consequences.
19.3
Nitrification
Nitrification involves two biological oxidation reactions: firstly, the oxidation of ammonia with
oxygen to form nitrite (NO−
2 ) and secondly the oxidation of these nitrites into nitrates.
1. N H3 + O2 → N O2− + 3H + + 2e− (production of nitrites)
2. N O2− + H2 O → N O3− + 2H + + 2e− (production of nitrates)
Nitrification is an important step in the nitrogen cycle in soil because it converts the ammonia
(from the nitrogen fixing part of the cycle) into nitrates, which are easily absorbed by the roots
of plants. This absorption of nitrates by plants is called assimilation. Once the nitrates have
been assimilated by the plants, they become part of the plants’ proteins. These plant proteins
are then available to be eaten by animals. In other words, animals (including humans) obtain
their own nitrogen by feeding on plants. Nitrification is performed by bacteria in the soil, called
nitrifying bacteria.
Activity :: Case Study : Nitrates in drinking water
Read the information below and then carry out your own research to help you
answer the questions that follow.
The negatively charged nitrate ion is not held onto soil particles and so can
be easily washed out of the soil. This is called leaching. In this way, valuable
nitrogen can be lost from the soil, reducing the soil’s fertility. The nitrates can
then accumulate in groundwater, and eventually in drinking water. There are strict
regulations that control how much nitrate can be present in drinking water, because
nitrates can be reduced to highly reactive nitrites by microorganisms in the gut.
Nitrites are absorbed from the gut and bind to haemoglobin (the pigment in blood
that helps to transport oxygen around the body). This reduces the ability of the
haemoglobin to carry oxygen. In young babies this can lead to respiratory distress,
a condition known as ”blue baby syndrome”.
1. How is nitrate concentration in water measured?
2. What concentration of nitrates in drinking water is considered acceptable? You
can use drinking water standards for any part of the world, if you can’t find any
for South Africa.
3. What is ’blue baby syndrome’ and what are the symptoms of the disease?
371
19.4
19.4
CHAPTER 19. GLOBAL CYCLES: THE NITROGEN CYCLE - GRADE 10
Denitrification
Denitrification is the process of reducing nitrate and nitrite into gaseous nitrogen. The process
is carried out by denitrification bacteria. The nitrogen that is produced is returned to the atmosphere to complete the nitrogen cycle.
The equation for the reaction is:
2N O3− + 10e− + 12H + → N2 + 6H2 O
19.5
Human Influences on the Nitrogen Cycle
Humans have contributed significantly to the nitrogen cycle in a number of ways.
• Both artificial fertilisation and the planting of nitrogen fixing crops, increase the amount
of nitrogen in the soil. In some ways this has positive effects because it increases the fertility
of the soil, and means that agricultural productivity is high. On the other hand, however, if
there is too much nitrogen in the soil, it can run off into nearby water courses such as rivers,
or can become part of the groundwater supply as we mentioned earlier. Increased nitrogen
in rivers and dams can lead to a problem called eutrophication. Eutrophication is a process
where water bodies such as rivers, estuaries, dams and slow-moving streams receive excess
nutrients (e.g. nitrogen and phosphorus compounds) that stimulate excessive plant growth.
Sometimes this can cause certain plant species to be favoured over the others and one
species may ’take over’ the ecosystem, resulting in a decrease in plant diversity. This
is called a ’bloom’. Eutrophication also affects water quality. When the plants die and
decompose, large amounts of oxygen are used up and this can cause other animals in the
water to die.
Activity :: Case Study : Fertiliser use in South Africa
Refer to the data table below, which shows the average fertiliser use (in
kilograms per hectare or kg/ha) over a number of years for South Africa and
the world. Then answer the questions that follow:
SA
World
1965
27.9
34.0
1970
42.2
48.9
1975
57.7
63.9
1980
80.3
80.6
1985
66.6
86.7
1990
54.9
90.9
1995
48.5
84.9
2000
47.1
88.2
2002
61.4
91.9
1. On the same set of axes, draw two line graphs to show how fertiliser use
has changed in SA and the world between 1965 and 2002.
2. Describe the trend you see for...
(a) the world
(b) South Africa
3. Suggest a reason why the world’s fertiliser use has changed in this way over
time.
4. Do you see the same pattern for South Africa?
5. Try to suggest a reason for the differences you see in the fertiliser use data
for South Africa.
6. One of the problems with increased fertiliser use is that there is a greater
chance of nutrient runoff into rivers and dams, and therefore a greater
danger of eutrophication. In groups of 5-6, discuss the following questions:
(a) What could farmers do to try to reduce the risk of nutrient runoff from
fields into water systems? Try to think of at least 3 different strategies
that they could use.
372
CHAPTER 19. GLOBAL CYCLES: THE NITROGEN CYCLE - GRADE 10
19.6
(b) Imagine you are going to give a presentation on eutrophication to a
group of farmers who know nothing about it. How will you educate
them about the dangers? How will you convince them that it is in their
interests to change their farming practices? Present your ideas to the
class.
• Atmospheric pollution is another problem. The main culprits are nitrous oxide (N2 O),
nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ). Most of these gases result either from emissions from agricultural soils (and particularly artificial fertilisers), or from the combustion
of fossil fuels in industry or motor vehicles. The combustion (burning) of nitrogen-bearing
fuels such as coal and oil releases this nitrogen as N2 or NO gases. Both NO2 and NO can
combine with water droplets in the atmosphere to form acid rain. Furthermore, both NO
and NO2 contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer and some are greenhouse gases.
In high concentrations these gases can contribute towards global warming.
19.6
The industrial fixation of nitrogen
A number of industrial processes are able to fix nitrogen into different compounds and then
convert these compounds into fertilisers. In the descriptions below, you will see how atmospheric
nitrogen is fixed to produce ammonia, how ammonia is then reacted with oxygen to form nitric
acid and how nitric acid and ammonia are then used to produce the fertiliser, ammonium nitrate.
• Preparation of ammonia (NH3 )
The industrial preparation of ammonia is known as the Haber-Bosch process. At a high
pressure and a temperature of approximately 5000 C, and in the presence of a suitable
catalyst (usually iron), nitrogen and hydrogen react according to the following equation:
N2 + 3H2 → 2N H3
Ammonia is used in the preparation of artficial fertilisers such as (NH4 )2 SO4 and is also
used in cleaning agents and cooling installations.
teresting Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch were the two men responsible for developing
Interesting
Fact
Fact
the Haber-Bosch process. In 1918, Haber was awarded the Nobel Prize in
Chemistry for his work. The Haber-Bosch process was a milestone in industrial chemistry because it meant that nitrogenous fertilisers were cheaper
and much more easily available. At the time, this was very important in
providing food for the growing human population.
Haber also played a major role in the development of chemical warfare in
World War I. Part of this work included the development of gas masks with
absorbent filters. He also led the teams that developed chlorine gas and
other deadly gases for use in trench warfare. His wife, Clara Immerwahr,
also a chemist, opposed his work on poison gas and committed suicide with
his service weapon in their garden. During the 1920s, scientists working at
his institute also developed the cyanide gas formulation Zyklon B, which
was used as an insecticide and also later, after he left the programme, in the
Nazi extermination camps.
Haber was Jewish by birth, but converted from Judaism in order to be more
accepted in Germany. Despite this, he was forced to leave the country in
1933 because he was Jewish ’by definition’ (his mother was Jewish). He died
in 1934 at the age of 65. Many members of his extended family died in the
Nazi concentration camps, possibly gassed by Zyklon B.
373
19.7
CHAPTER 19. GLOBAL CYCLES: THE NITROGEN CYCLE - GRADE 10
• Preparation of nitric acid (HNO3 )
Nitric acid is used to prepare fertilisers and explosives. The industrial preparation of nitric
acid is known as the Ostwald process. The Ostwald process involves the conversion of
ammonia into nitric acid in various stages:
Firstly, ammonia is heated with oxygen in the presence of a platinum catalyst to form nitric
oxide and water.
4N H3 (g) + 5O2 (g) → 4N O(g) + 6H2 O(g)
Secondly, nitric oxide reacts with oxygen to form nitrogen dioxide. This gas is then readily
absorbed by the water to produce nitric acid. A portion of nitrogen dioxide is reduced back
to nitric oxide.
2N O(g) + O2 (g) → 2N O2 (g)
3N O2 (g) + H2 O(l) → 2HN O3 (aq) + N O(g)
The NO is recycled, and the acid is concentrated to the required strength by a process
called distillation.
• Preparation of ammonium nitrate
Ammonium nitrate is used as a fertiliser, as an explosive and also in the preparation of
’laughing gas’ which is used as an anaesthetic. Ammonium nitrate is prepared by reacting
ammonia with nitric acid:
N H3 + HN O3 → N H4 N O3
Activity :: Debate : Fertiliser use
Divide the class into two groups to debate the following topic:
Increasing the use of artificial fertilisers is the best solution to meet the growing
food needs of the world’s human population.
One group should take the position of agreeing with the statement, and the other
should disagree. In your groups, discuss reasons why you have the opinion that you
do, and record some notes of your discussion. Your teacher will then explain to you
how to proceed with the debate.
19.7
Summary
• Nitrogen is essential for life on earth, since it forms part of amino acids, proteins and
nucleic acids.
• The atmosphere is composed mostly of nitrogen gas, but the gas is inert, meaning that
it is not available to living organisms in its gaseous form.
• The nitrogen cycle describes how nitrogen and nitrogen-containing compounds are changed
into different forms in nature.
374
CHAPTER 19. GLOBAL CYCLES: THE NITROGEN CYCLE - GRADE 10
19.7
• The nitrogen cycle consists of three major processes: nitrogen fixation, nitrification and
denitrification.
• Nitrogen fixation is the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen into compounds such as
ammonia, that are more easily used.
• Nitrogen can be fixed biologically through the actions of bacteria, industrially through
the Haber-Bosch process or by lightning.
• Nitrification converts ammonia into nitrites and nitrates, which can be easily assimilated
by plants.
• Denitrification converts nitrites and nitrates back into gaseous nitrogen to complete the
nitrogen cycle.
• Humans have had a number of impacts on the nitrogen cycle. The production of artificial
fertilisers for example, means that there is a greater chance of runoff into water systems.
In some cases, eutrophication may occur.
• Eutrophication is the enrichment of water systems with excess nutrients, which may
stimulate excessive plant growth at the expense of other parts of the ecosystem.
• Many nitrogen gases such as NO, N2 O and NO2 are released by agricultural soils and
artificial fertilisers. These gases may combine with water vapour in the atmosphere and
result in acid rain. Some of these gases are also greenhouse gases and may contribute
towards global warming.
• A number of industrial processes are used to produce articifical fertilisers.
• The Haber-Bosch process converts atmsopheric nitrogen into ammonia.
• The Ostwald process reacts ammonia with oxygen to produce nitric acid, which is used
in the preparation of fertilisers and explosives.
• If ammonia and nitric acid react, the product is ammonium nitrate, which is used as a
fertiliser and as an explosive.
Exercise: Summary Exercise
1. Look at the diagram and the descriptions of the nitrogen cycle earlier in the
chapter:
(a) Would you describe the changes that take place in the nitrogen cycle as
chemical or physical changes? Explain your answer.
(b) Are the changes that take place in the water cycle physical or chemical
changes? Explain your answer.
2. Explain what is meant by each of the following terms:
(a) nitrogen fixing
(b) fertiliser
(c) eutrophication
3. Explain why the fixing of atmospheric nitrogen is so important for the survival
of life on earth.
4. Refer to the diagram below and then answer the questions that follow:
375
19.7
CHAPTER 19. GLOBAL CYCLES: THE NITROGEN CYCLE - GRADE 10
N2
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(a) Explain the role of decomposers in the nitrogen cycle.
(b) If the process taking place at (3) is nitrification, then label the processes
at (1) and (5).
(c) Identify the nitrogen products at (2) and (4).
(d) On the diagram, indicate the type of bacteria that are involved in each
stage of the nitrogen cycle.
(e) In industry, what process is used to produce the compound at 2?
(f) Does the diagram above show a ’cycle’ ? Explain your answer.
5. NO and NO2 are both nitrogen compounds:
(a) Explain how each of these compounds is formed?
(b) What effect does each of these compounds have in the environment?
6. There are a number of arguments both ’for’ and ’against’ the use of artificial
fertilisers. Draw a table to summarise the advantages and disadvantages of
their use.
376
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