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GCSE: Changing Materials - The Earth and its Atmosphere

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Key things you need to know about the atmosphere

  1. 1 The air around us is composed of 70% nitrogen, 29% oxygen and 1% other gases (mostly noble gases and 0.04% carbon dioxide)
  2. 2 Two of the best ways now being used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are: “capture and storage”- where we capture the CO2 and trap it in abandoned oil wells. And “sequestration”- where we react the CO2 with CaO to make CaCO3 (CaO + CO2 = CaCO3)
  3. 3 The layer of atmosphere that we live in is called the troposphere. Above that is the stratosphere, followed by the mesosphere, then the thermosphere and finally the exosphere. The ozone layer is located in the lower stratosphere.
  4. 4 The ozone layer is a layer of O3 molecules that absorb harmful ultraviolet radiation that would otherwise kill most human life on Earth (by giving us cancer).
  5. 5 Gases like CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbons) destroy the ozone layer. It takes decades for CFC’s to be removed from the atmosphere once they are up there- and all the time they are constantly destroying more ozone. There is currently a hole in the ozone layer caused by gases like CFC’s that is as big as the arctic (north) pole…and growing.

Five top tips on pollution

  1. 1 Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas as it blocks the haemoglobin in our blood from transporting oxygen around our body…if you take in too much carbon monoxide you will suffocate even if you keep on breathing!
  2. 2 Nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide gases in the atmosphere cause acid rain. This destroys trees and makes lakes too acidic for fish to live in. It is also responsible for corroding buildings.
  3. 3 Carbon dioxide is the biggest cause of global warming and if its levels are not reduced, it could cause the melting of the polar ice caps. This will flood an estimated minimum of 30% of England. It is the biggest worry of atmospheric scientists of our time.
  4. 4 Particulates, mainly found in car exhausts, get stuck in our lungs and cause cancer.
  5. 5 Low level ozone (O3) is incredibly dangerous, especially for people who have asthma.

What is global warming?

  1. 1 Global warming is caused by greenhouse gases absorbing infrared radiation emitted from the Earth and scattering it back down to Earth. As infrared radiation is basically heat, this heats the surface of the Earth up.
  2. 2 As well as carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases include water and methane. They absorb the infrared radiation by making their bonds vibrate.
  3. 3 As global warming causes the polar ice caps to melt, clathrate deposits (huge amount of trapped methane gas) are released. This causes further global warming in a positive feedback loop.
  4. 4 As the average temperature on land raises, many crops will not be able to grow. Almost all scientists agree that this will cause widespread famine on a scale never seen before. This will affect all countries, not just developing countries.
  5. 5 A common mistake students make is to confuse the greenhouse effect with the hole in the ozone layer. Ozone has nothing to do with the greenhouse effect. Keep these two topics clearly separated in your mind.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 6
  • Peer Reviewed essays 19
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    How are products from oil obtained and used?

    4 star(s)

    The process begins in the oil refinery. In the oil refinery the crude oil is heated to turn the oil in to a vapour; it is then fed into the bottom of the fractionating column. Here several condensers are fitted at different heights. The column is hot at the bottom and cool at the top. The hydrocarbons with the lower boiling points turn into vapour easily compared to those with a higher boiling point. When the vapour reaches a height in the tower where the temperature of the column is equal to that substance's boiling point, it will condense to form a liquid.

    • Word count: 1778
  2. Marked by a teacher

    An investigation to see how voltage affects The electrolysis in a copper Sulphate solution using copper electrodes.

    4 star(s)

    We will then see how much copper is deposited after 3 and half minutes. The dependant variables for this test are the weight of the anode and the cathode. Prediction I believe the higher the voltage the more copper will be deposited on the cathode. This is because of the increase in voltage giving the electrons more push causing the Cu2+ atoms from the anode more of a push to the cathode which will cause a bigger build up as more atoms can get moved about faster.

    • Word count: 1825
  3. Marked by a teacher

    Why is Aluminium utilised in the contemporary world, for the construction of aircraft and rockets, more so than other metals and substances?

    3 star(s)

    This is because aluminium (the predominant element of the alloy) is able to be compounded with other metals and substances, is highly malleable, resistant to corrosion and consists of a high strength to density ratio, in comparison to other metals. ?Aluminium is used in virtually all segments of the aircraft, missile and spacecraft industry-in airframes, engines, accessories, and tankage for liquid fuel and oxidizers? (Davis, 2000).Further, Aluminium 7075 is an aluminium alloy that is used heavily in the construction of aircraft and rockets (The Aluminum Association, 2008). Aluminium consists of a low ionisation energy, as well as a relatively high atomic radius, in comparison to other metals.

    • Word count: 1248
  4. Marked by a teacher

    How the Concentration of Sodium Thiosulphate affects the Rate of Reaction

    Similarly the use of a catalyst complicates things, and if used incorrectly could alter the outcome of the experiment. The theory behind this experiment is that 'Increasing the concentration can increase the rate of the reaction by increasing the rate of molecular collisions.' This means that since there are more reactive atoms in the solution, so therefore there are more collisions with other atoms. Preliminary Plan When deciding what we should do for our preliminary experiment, we discussed the necessity of determining the range of results that we could expect when properly conducting our experiment. We came to the conclusion that we should establish the highest possible rate, a median rate and the lowest possible rate, therefore achieving a rough outline of what to expect in the experiment.

    • Word count: 1343
  5. Peer reviewed

    Is Aluminium a Suitable Metal for Manufacturing Bicycles?

    5 star(s)

    * This forms a solution of sodium aluminate and sodium silicate, plus a residue of iron (III) oxide, which is removed. * CO2(g) is blown in and the sodium silicate remains in solution, but a precipitate if aluminium hydroxide is formed. * The mixture is then filtered, washed and heated to leave anhydrous aluminium oxide (alumina). * Al2O3 is left. Electrolysis This is how the aluminium and oxygen is separated, through reduction. First the aluminium oxide is added to cryolite (Na3AlF6)

    • Word count: 1034
  6. Peer reviewed

    Suitability Test

    3 star(s)

    Evaluation RED= Poor ORANGE= Average GREEN= Good Cost Litmus U.I. Solution Soil Probe pH Probe About 3p �4.15 �6.95 �294.46 Accuracy Litmus U.I. Solution Soil Probe pH Probe Acid/Alkali 0.5 1.0 0.01 Time for results Litmus U.I. Solution Soil Probe pH Probe 5 Minutes 5 Minutes 1 Minute 5-10 Minutes Sensitivity Litmus U.I. Solution Soil Probe pH Probe Acid/Alkali 1-14 Full Range 4-7 Full Range - More Accurate Durability Litmus U.I. Solution Soil Probe pH Probe ***** *** **** **** Easy To Use Litmus U.I. Solution Soil Probe pH Probe Simple to use ***** Quite simple **** Quick and easy to use **** More work required *** Out of all of the methods, the cheapest is the Litmus paper.

    • Word count: 1037
  7. Is Global warming Natural or Man-made?

    We are told that this is a very intense scientific agreement about the cause of climate change. However, is all the information that we receive from the public, environmental groups, the media, government and scientists reliable? The greenhouse effect - A natural Cause -The Science For a start global warming increases with an increase in the level of the heat absorbing gases. Our earth atmosphere is like a filter. It absorbs some of the ultraviolet light and visible light but reflects the others.

    • Word count: 1411
  8. We are being advised to reduce our carbon footprint. Discuss the significance of this for the individual and for industry.

    This in this in turn is causing glaciers to melt, and extremes of weather conditions such as heat waves, flooding, drought, hurricanes and tornadoes. Many people still believe global warming is not scientific fact that is still up for debate. We are now in the hottest period of earth since global temperature records began. The ten hottest years have been since 1990. The debate over weather warming is real and is not over. The flooding of the south of England in 2007 is just one example of increasingly severe weather conditions which have been linked to global warming.

    • Word count: 1963
  9. Is human activity responsible for increased global warming?

    Carbon dioxide gas is a greenhouse gas that acts like a mirror and as a result traps the Sun's heat within the Earth's atmosphere, not allowing it to escape back into space after it has bounced off the Earth: this is global warming; below is a simple diagram of the process: In the previous chart that illustrated the global emissions from fossil fuel combustion in 1900 - 2000, there seems to be numerous inconsistencies/anomalies within the data; for instance in 1945 the usage of fossil fuels seemed to drop; the reason for this is because America, being the strongest country

    • Word count: 1482
  10. To answer the question of weather or not hydrogen can be the fuel of the future, we first must understand what hydrogen is and to find out how it can be used to create energy.

    Hydrogen is a naturally occurring gas found commonly in great abundance. Throughout the known universe. It's so common that it makes up 75% of the universe, by volume, and it appears in a large number of compounds, especially various organic materials such as water . The Atomic number of hydrogen Is one, and is simply identified as H on the periodic table. Hydrogen is a unique stand-alone element, not classified with other elements. The Colourless, highly flammable gas has a large number of industrial uses such as the refinement of petroleum.

    • Word count: 1223
  11. Disposing of Materials made of Polymers. As we are using so many polymers we need to reuse them and dispose of them in an environmental way.

    Addition polymers are made by the combination of monomers which will not lose an atom during the process. The reason that they do not degrade quickly is because the man made polymers are typically of a much longer chain length to keep their shape and have high boiling temperatures. The carbon-carbon bonds holding together the monomers are very strong, meaning it requires a lot of energy to break down these carbon bonds between the different parts of the polymer which are very stably held together.

    • Word count: 1232
  12. Give a brief explanation of how increasing levels of combustion of fossil fuels is causing global warming and climate change and what measures are being taken to address this problem.

    This rise alluded to a moment ago is termed 'global warming' where the average global temperatures for the past century have risen measurably. There still isn't a complete consensus to the theory of 'man-made' global warming, there is a school of thought that suggests that these rises are demonstrative of 'natural' changes and the effect of man in burning fuels isn't having as major an impact upon the environment as is being reported. The debate continues, though it seems that a majority of leading scientists accept that man is more than partly to blame for the recent rises seen in the average global temperature.

    • Word count: 1346
  13. Acid rain is a well known term that is being heard more and more often in this world, and it is also a great problem such as destroying plants and fishes which eventually die in our water.

    There was a incident which took place 20 years ago when famous scientists from Norway and Sweden believed that acidic rain may be causing damage to the planet. Acid rain causes problems as many years go past or even decades, it eventually transforms into an acid lake. As I researched some more facts about acid rain I met anther incident which took place around 1926. Inspectors had noticed the decrease of fish in many of the lakes. Fish were found dead around many rivers especially when the winter came hundreds of fish were found dead due to the ice melting off.

    • Word count: 1086
  14. A report on Climate Change

    It is also due to the increase in the amount of fuel being used, and in many cases wasted, depleting the world of our resources and releasing the chemicals which may harm our environment. The second graph shows the average global temperature over time. The graph shows the increase in temperature very gradually over the period of 140 years. The graph has an anomaly result: the recording for the year of 1920 shows the temperature falling compared to the year of 1900, and this result is different to otherwise consistent pattern of a steady incline.

    • Word count: 1601
  15. Extracting Metals

    It is much more obliging to use the meaning of reduction in conditions of gaining electrons. To a rational estimate, you can assume these ores as containing positive metal ions. To convert them to the metal, you need to add electrons - reduction. Carbon Reduction: Carbon (as coke or charcoal) is inexpensive. It not only acts as a plummeting driving force, but it also acts as the fuel to supply heat for the procedure. Nevertheless, in a number of cases (for example with aluminum) the temperature required for carbon reduction is too high to be financial - so a diverse technique has to be used. Carbon may also be absent in the metal as an impurity.

    • Word count: 1311
  16. Chemistry Case Study - Life Cycle Of 2 Types of Lightbulb - Life Cycle Assesment

    Source : Wikipedia There are many impacts on the enviroment from the bulbs being made these range from anything from water used in the product and cleaning to energy used to produce it to. There are also many impacts on the enviroment of the actual use of the bulb, for instnece the amount of electricity it takes for each of them to operate (and possibly the spike of electricity in the start up or warm up period of a bulb)

    • Word count: 1781
  17. Nuclear Power of the future

    Before explaining the potential usage of nuclear power, we should know how nuclear power works first. Uranium is a radioactive chemical material. It is also the source of nuclear power. A dense metal found in Earth's crust, uranium was discovered in 1789. Atoms are the tiny building blocks of all material on Earth, and nuclear energy is created when a uranium atom is split. When the atom splits, it releases energy in the form of heat. Often a few neutrons are also released in the split.

    • Word count: 1545
  18. Investigating Phase Changes

    Attach the ring clamp to the pendulum stand and place the wire mesh upon it. Place the Bunsen burner attached to a gas source underneath the ring clamp. 2) Fill a 250ml beaker three-fourths full of warm water and place it on the ring clamp. Light the Bunsen burner with a match and adjust the flame so that it is not too high. 3) Obtain a test tube of unknown substance and place it in the beaker of water. 4)

    • Word count: 1084
  19. acid rain

    To figure out the rate of this process we had to use an equation which told us that the higher concentration of the hydrochloric acid was, the more carbon dioxide was made. This equation was: CaCO3 + 2HCl = CaCl2 + H2O + CO2 Before we did the experiment I predicted that when the amount of acid was increased, the rate and amount of Carbon dioxide produced will also increase. If this is true then this will show me that the rate of dissolving limestone increases as well.

    • Word count: 1597
  20. the chemistry of the oxides of hydrogen.

    At one atmospheric pressure, the melting point and boiling point of water is 0�C and 100��C respectively. It is interesting to notice that the density of ice is lower than that of water. In fact, water reaches the maximum density at 4�C. This is because ice adapts an open cage-like structure in which a water molecule is tetrahedrally associated with four water molecules by hydrogen bonds. In water, the molecules are in constant motion and the strong hydrogen bonding results in closed packing of water molecules. Moreover, the melting curve of water in its phase diagram has an unusual negative slope.

    • Word count: 1133
  21. Congestion Charge, Science in the News

    I have looked at a report form the Association of British Drivers and I have found out that from 2002 to 2006 there have been 36% fewer cars in the area and 13% fewer vans, both of these vehicle types fall into the chargeable category of the Congestion Zone, however, the report also states that the number of 'taxis' and 'buses and coaches' have increased by 13% and 25% respectively. This data from the report shows that although the number of chargeable vehicles has gone down the number of exempt vehicles has increased by up to a quarter!

    • Word count: 1190
  22. Nuclear Waste and Radiation

    However the gamma rays/x-rays are not particles but the gamma rays are waves. This denotes that the gamma rays have neither charge nor mass. Unlike the alpha particles, the gamma rays has a high penetrating powers meaning that it takes a greater mass to break through the waves, while the alpha particles has a lower penetrating powers. The neutrons have no electrical charge and it is more likely to penetrate the matter than to charge particles. With many risks facing nuclear radiation, one of the most menacing risks is from the increase of cancer risks, it indicated that this can only be taken in effect if the radiation reaches at the dose over 100mSv a year.

    • Word count: 1718
  23. Acid Rain

    such as coal burning, smelting of metals such as zinc, nickel and copper, and the burning of oil, coal and gas in power plants and automobiles. When does rain become acidic? Scientists determine whether rain or lake water is acidic by measuring its pH (the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a scale of 0 to 14). A value of 7 is considered neutral, whereas values less than 7 are acidic and values over 7 are alkaline or basic.

    • Word count: 1561
  24. Anthropogenic Global Warming: Fact or Fiction?

    concluded that global average air temperature near the Earth's surface rose 0.74 � 0.18 �C (1.3 � 0.32 �F) during the last century. The panel also assessed that "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." (Anthropogenic meaning effects, processes, objects, or materials resultant from human activities.) This process, coupled with natural phenomena such as volcanoes, leads to the warming of the higher atmosphere and contributes to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect was first discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1829 and first fully investigated Svante Arrhe1nius 1896. The term is a comparison with the heating of air within a greenhouse.

    • Word count: 1829
  25. Chemical Reactions in the Kitchen

    This process becomes irreversible and we cannot return the egg back to its previous state. No matter how long we leave a fried egg, the white will never regain its original clear liquid state. There are 4 basic factors that can affect the rate of a chemical reaction: Temperature, concentration, surface area and the addition of catalysts. However, what affects frying an egg mostly is temperature and surface area. Temperature affects the rate of the reaction (frying an egg) or the speed in which the egg fries. Egg proteins change when you heat them. Proteins are made of long chains of amino acids.

    • Word count: 1974

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