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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.

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  1. Are we making the best use of crude oil?

    Hence, crude oil is used in generating many forms of energy such as gasoline, diesel and other fuel oils. Products made from crude oil are mostly synthetic products which are far more costly than Natural products. If the industry takes a big change and decided to create synthetic items, the overall effect will be costly and may lead us into recession if we get out of this one. Since crude oil is starting to be scarce the prices of fuels are rising. Wars will be starting as soon as one country is scarce of oil as oil is needed for everything.

    • Word count: 2450
  2. 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
  3. Global Warming

    The growth of deserts may also cause food shortages in many places. Also, that the warming of just 2�C to 3�C in the next 100 years would put 3 billion people at the risk from water shortage, an extra 300 million facing the threat of malaria and 100 million more in the danger of coastal flooding. Do you want to be surrounded by this much danger? The second cause of the occurrence of global warming is that the sea levels are rising.

    • Word count: 925
  4. GM foods - Harmful or Helpful

    This then creates a genetically modified plant which also produces the beneficial trait.3 The main reason for GM foods being produced was for crop protection. It would make plants resistant to diseases caused by insects, viruses or they would have increased tolerance to herbicides.4 One method used to genetically modify plants is called Biolistics. This involves shooting new genes into the potential host. Microscopic particles of gold or titanium are coated in the DNA sections which are to be introduced to the host.

    • Word count: 2003
  5. Design Lab- Acid Rain

    Oxides of Nitrogen are found in the atmosphere and are produced due to the following reasons: i) High temperature combustion in automobiles ii) Decomposition of Nitrogen containing bacteria iii) Lightning iv) Industrial processes such as Nitric Acid manufacture v) Agricultural Burning and Forest Fires These above methods produce Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) which is an Oxide of Nitrogen. This NO2 in the absence of Oxygen react with the water vapour present in the atmosphere to produce Nitrous and Nitric Acid. 2NO2 + H2O --> HNO2 + HNO3 However, Nitrogen Dioxide can directly be converted to HNO3 directly in the presence of oxygen and moisture.

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  6. Should the UK government continue to invest in Nuclear power?

    24% of uranium resources are in Australia and 9% in Canada. Disadvantages of Nuclear Power * Waste: High level radioactive waste is very dangerous. It lasts for tens of thousands of years before decaying to safe levels. If there is to be a "nuclear renaissance", a sophisticated method of storing the waste for this period of time must be designed. This point itself has sparked a surprising number of debates. For example, how do you write "danger" on a concrete box, when in 5,000 years the word "danger" may no longer exist?

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  7. Determination of Molar Mass by Freezing Point Depression

    * Data was recorded for temperature below -10�C for the solution. 3. Experimental Results: 3.1. Determination of a Molar Mass by Measurements of Freezing Point Depression. Data Table: TIME TEMP TEMP TEMP TEMP MINUTES H2O H2O SOLUTION SOLUTION RUN # 1 RUN # 2 RUN # 1 RUN # 2 0.5 10.0 11.0 10.0 11.0 1.0 6.0 7.0 4.0 5.0 1.5 4.0 5.0 0.0 2.0 2.0 2.5 5.0 -1.0 0.0 2.5 2.0 4.0 -2.0 -1.0 3.0 1.0 3.0 -3.0 -2.0 3.5 1.0 2.0 -3.0 -3.0 4.0 1.0 1.0 -4.0 -3.0 4.5 0.0 1.0 -4.0 -3.5 5.0 0.0 0.0 -4.0 -4.0 5.5 0.0 0.0 -4.0 -4.0 6.0 0.0 0.0 -4.5 -4.0 6.5 0.0 0.0 -4.5 -4.5

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  8. Is an increase in traffic pollution the

    Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless and tasteless toxic gas which is emitted as a result of combustion processes, and is also formed by the oxidation of hydrocarbons and other organic compounds. CO survives in the atmosphere for approximately 1 month but is eventually oxidised into carbon dioxide (CO2). Nitrogen oxides are formed during high temperature combustion processes from the oxidation of nitrogen in the air or fuel. The principal source of nitrogen oxides, nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), is road traffic, which is responsible for approximately half the emissions in Europe.

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  9. 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)

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  10. 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.

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  11. 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.

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  12. chemistry of sulphuric(VI) acid

    Production of sulphuric(VI) acid Sulphuric(VI) acid can be produced industrially by Contact Process. (a) Production and purification of sulphur dioxide Sulphur dioxide is produced by burning sulphur in air. S(s) + O2(g) SO2(g) Alternatively, sulphur dioxide can also be produced by roasting various metal sulphides in air as a part of their extraction process, for example: 2ZnS(s) + 3O2(g) 2ZnO(s) + 2SO2(g) 4FeS2(s) + 11O2(g) 2Fe2O3(s) + 8SO2(g) Sulphur dioxide obtained is purified to remove any impurities which may poison the catalyst in the reaction chamber. (b) Conversion of sulphur dioxide to sulphur trioxide The purified sulphur dioxide is allowed to react with oxygen in the chamber containing vanadium(V)

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  13. Investigating the effect of the temperature of hydrochloric acid on its rate of reaction with marble

    This will be the independent variable. Volume of HCl solution. The more hydrochloric acid present, the more inter-particle collisions might occur. This could increase the number of successful reactions/unit of time, increasing the rate of reaction. Use the same amount of HCl solution in each experiment. Concentration of HCl The more HCl molecules/ml of solution, the more HCl/volume, therefore meaning that particles colliding with the CaCO3 are more likely to be HCl. This would give a higher rate of reaction.

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  14. Recycling. In science our task is to gather information about how people sort out their rubbish in my area. I should also find out the reasons why people recycle their rubbish

    Do you think it would make a different to the environment were living in? (And why) ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Anything you would like to say? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. After doing the questionnaire this is what I found out. I will show you my result in a chart. Do you recycle? In this chart you can see that more people do not recycle, whereas people recycle or sometimes recycle is the same amount 6/6. This means that Global warming is not being resolved in any kind of way because not enough people are recycling.

    • Word count: 724
  15. 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
  16. 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.

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  17. Should the UK build more Nuclear Power Stations?

    Background Information Nuclear power plants provide about 17% of the world's electricity, some countries depend more on nuclear power for electricity than others. In France, for instance, about 75% of the electricity is generated from nuclear power, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. In the US however, nuclear power supplies about 15% of the electricity overall, but it is not evenly distributed between states. While in the UK, 23% of energy generated is nuclear, with gas at 38%, coal at 32%, oil & others at 4% with only 3% of the UK's energy generation is coming from renewable sources.

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  18. Free essay

    Science in the news: global warming

    Most scientists believe that global warming is due to the activities of humans. Causes of global warming: human activities/ other factors Scientists believe that human activities are responsible for global warming. There are many man-made problems that have contributed widely towards global warming. Pollution is one of the biggest man-made problems. Pollution comes in many shapes and sizes. Burning fossil fuels is one thing that causes pollution. Fossil fuels are fuels made of coal, or oil. When fossil fuels are burned they give off a green house gas called Carbon Dioxide. Another major man-made cause of Global Warming is population.

    • Word count: 707
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. air pollution

    Air pollution was becoming a really big problem, especially when the weather was foggy. But since the industrial revolution, the quality of the air we breathe has deteriorated considerably - mainly as a result of human activities. Rising industrial and energy production, the burning of fossil fuels and the dramatic rise in traffic on our roads all contribute to air pollution in our towns and cities which, in turn, can lead to serious health problems. For example, air pollution is increasingly being cited as the main cause of lung conditions such as asthma - twice as many people suffer from asthma today compared to 20 years ago.

    • Word count: 6435
  22. 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
  23. Nuclear Power

    The two new atoms then emit gamma radiation as they go into their new states. This Shows How A Nuclear Power Station Works. Power plants use heat supplied by a fuel to boil water and make steam, which tells a generator to make electricity. Evidence For Source 1 This source tells us that Nuclear Power has no contribution to global warming and it doesn't produce of any gas that's harmful to the earth. I think that this source is reliable because the website was made by the energy information administration - official energy statistics from the U.S government.

    • Word count: 706
  24. Acid Rain and Its Effects

    Acid rain is caused by water in any state (solid, liquid or gas) picking up gases such as nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide in any stage of the hydrological cycle. What matters is that as the acidic gases come into contact with the water and the two compounds become a mixture that is a dilute liquid acid. The amount of acidic gas the water picks up affects the acidity of the acid rain. There is more to this however, if an alkaline base is present in the water and all the acid is completely neutralized, though acid was in the rain, it cannot be called 'acid rain'.

    • Word count: 742
  25. Are fossil fuels being overused?

    If over all these years we would have been using the Sun as a substitute for fossil fuels then we would have less global warming and more of the non-renewable fossil fuels to use later on. If we would have been using solar power all these years then there would've been no where near as many deaths from pollution as there has been. On the other hand, people may argue that we might not have as many new products, electronics, cars, televisions, mobile phones, houses, jobs etc.

    • Word count: 4117

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