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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. Free essay

    Pollution and Global Warming report.

    Up to a point, the greenhouse effect is a natural process, and naturally occurring carbon dioxide is not dangerous. Without greenhouse gases, the average temperature of the Earth would be -19C, which is to cold for us to live? What part have humans had in the greenhouse effect? We have made the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere go up by burning fossil fuels, like as coal, oil and petrol. Cows, rice fields and rubbish rotting in landfill sites make methane, and aerosols.

    • Word count: 718
  2. My case study is about global warming and why it happens.

    Some of the solar radiation reflects from the atmosphere and the earth's surface. Infrared radiation goes from the surface to the space. Greenhouse effect is when the infrared radiation heat is being absorbed by the greenhouse gas, the main greenhouse gases is water vapour, methane, carbon dioxide. The greenhouse gases are 1% of the atmosphere which orders and traps the heat and hold it so that is greenhouse. If we didn't have greenhouse effect the temperature will be cold like mars. The diagram show how the greenhouse effect happen and it says how much is going in and out of the surface and atmosphere and about infrared radiation.

    • Word count: 1650
  3. 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.

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  4. 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
  5. Are humans to blame for Global warming or is it a natural phenomenon?

    (2-2-11, 27-01-2009 http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/images/co2-temp.gif) Scientific background Global warming What is it? Global warming is the rising average temperature around the world. It also includes the atmosphere and the oceans and may be due to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, agriculture and industrialisation which are all part of human activities and also by natural observed occurrences. What causes it? (http://greenhouseeffectss.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Cause-Of-Global-Warming.jpg) Global warming is basically caused when an increased amount of the suns solar radiation is absorbed into the atmosphere, thereby raising the global temperature.

    • Word count: 2095
  6. 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
  7. In this coursework, I aim to find out the different properties of gold and alloying and will analyse pieces of data pertaining to gold in particular

    Its ability to reflect light well means that it can also be used for heat resistant suits and sun visors for spacesuits. Like all transition metals, the outer electrons in gold atoms are not bound to a particular atom but are free to move through the whole structure; this means that gold (including all other transition metals) make good electrical and thermal conductors. This is why it is widely used for electrical wiring. Sometimes, different metals are merged to produce an alloy, which possesses a combination of qualities found in both metals; for example, steel consists primarily of iron and 0.2% to 2.1% of carbon.

    • Word count: 2401
  8. 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
  9. Plastics- A Benefit or a Disaster? (Science research coursework)

    Only then does the temperature of the remaining mixture rise and other components are boiled off. The supply of fractions with small molecules, like petrol, is less than the demand for them. Cracking is a chemical reaction that takes the useless fractions of crude oil with long chains, breaks them up and turns them into useful short chains, so you will end up with an alkene and an alkane. Fractional distillation and cracking make the raw materials for plastics. Cracking is used to produce a mixture of smaller alkanes and alkenes from larger alkanes.

    • Word count: 3344
  10. Fire safety research coursework. Experiment making a fire extinguisher

    Halon-Green - This fire extinguisher is no longer legal except for a few exceptions such as the police and Aircraft. They are rechargeable and contain recycled Halon 1211 with Nitrogen as a propellant. They are used for fires class D. Wet chemical fire extinguishers are designed for class F fires but are also effective for class A fires. Types of fires: Class A-Solids such as paper, wood, plastic. Class B- Flammable liquids like petrol and oil. Class C- Flammable such as propane, butane.

    • Word count: 842
  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. The Effects of the Combustion of Fossil Fuels and its advantages and disadvantages.

    Combustion (burning) is the process of breaking up atoms to release energy in the form of light and heat. Combustion of fossil fuels releases all the energy stored in the plant and animal remains. An advantage of using fossil fuels as an energy is that it is easier to convert into usable energy than hydroelectric and nuclear. Also, nuclear can be potentially dangerous When coal is burnt it emits a large amount of carbon dioxide into the environment and the carbon dioxide released is not efficiently used by some other processes like photosynthesis to eliminate it from the atmosphere.

    • Word count: 756
  13. Importance of electrolysis in our daily lives

    with carbon and used as an electrode which can deposit metals forming a solid plate made of a thin sheet of pure metal e.g., copper metal. ELECTROLYTIC PURIFICATION In Today's age, there is high demand for very pure metals. Electrolysis can be used to purify metals, such as purification of copper. A pure bar of cathode attached to the cathode can have deposits of that metal from the impure metal electrode from the anode. ELECTRO-REPAIRING This is a techniques used for repairing of broken machinery.

    • Word count: 2082
  14. 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
  15. I am investigating which supermarkets have the strongest plastic bags; I have tested this out in an experiment. I will also be researching whether plastic bags are good or bad for the environment and how they can be replaced or used differently.

    Polyethylenes are generic in that they include all ethylene that has been polymerized, but they may have other characteristics. Three polyethylenes are identified as being used in the manufacture of plastic bags because of their density, low-density polyethylene, linear low-density polyethylene, and high-density polyethylene. Branching, replacing the polymer chain with other forms or variations of the monomer can further change the characteristics of the plastic. Highly branched polymers make thinner plastic. Branching also affects tensile strength and clearness or crystallinity of the plastic. The more branched the plastic bag, the less ability there is to see through it, and the easier it tears.

    • Word count: 2853
  16. 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
  17. What is Acid Rain? What are the effects of acid rain?

    In 1852 an English chemist called Robert Angus smith was first known to notice the incidence of acid rain. In other words acid rain is a word that means rain with a ph level of 5-6. It is a form of air pollution that is currently a theme of huge debate due to its wide spread damage. It is held responsible for the shocking of thousands of lakes and streams in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe. Buildings damaged: Many major buildings are getting damaged my acid rain. Other historical buildings and land marks are also affected by chemical weathering.

    • Word count: 2225
  18. Using Ice core Data

    350 000 years ago, the Co2 levels dropped to 0.0186%, probably because of the emergence of plants which photosynthesised and took Co2 from the atmosphere and replaced it with oxygen. 250 000 years ago the Co2 levels went up, probably because of de-foresation.150 000 years ago, the amount of Co2 shot up dramatically because around that time humans started to burn fossil fuels which released Co2 into the atmosphere.

    • Word count: 457
  19. Informing People about Global Warming - the scientific evidence.

    Global Warming is usually a natural part of our earth. Our planet, Earth, has a natural layer of gases around it we call the atmosphere. The ozone layer is a layer in the atmosphere that has a unique combination of gases (gases such as nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapour. There are also smaller amounts of other gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and CFC's (Chlorofluorocarbons) within that keep the temperature on the surface of Earth hospitable for life to occur. Sunlight passes through our atmosphere and hits the surface of the earth which heats the earth.

    • Word count: 849
  20. OCR Coursework Investigation

    We can change the rate of reaction by changing the concentration of the following reactants: = Sodium thiosulphate = Water particles = Hydrochloric acid particles On the diagram, 1 particle is 5%. Lower concentration of Higher concentration of sodium thiosulphate sodium thiosulphate (20% concentration) (80% concentration) Equipment - Sodium thiosulphate - 2 Measuring cylinders - Hydrochloric acid - Black cross card - Water - Stopwatch - Conical Flask Results I want to take Fair test - I will change the concentration of sodium thiosulphate and make sure that I keep the same amount each time.

    • Word count: 2148
  21. Alternative Energy Sources

    Petroleum contains a great variety of saturated hydrocarbons and petroleum products consist principally of mixtures of paraffin hydrocarbons. Example2: 1. Ethane: C2H6 2. Propane: C3H8 3. Butane: C4H10 Alkenes: These are unsaturated compounds, denoted by the formula of CnH2n where n is the number of carbon atoms. Like the paraffin series, the higher you go in the series, the denser the compound becomes.3 1. Ethene: C2H4 2. Propene: C3H6 3. Butene(But-1-ene and But-2-ene): C4H8 Alkynes: Alkynes are also unsaturated hydrocarbons, which mean they will have at least one triple bond in their compounds. Alkynes are denoted by the formula CnH2n-2 where n is the number of carbon atoms. These hydrocarbons are also quite reactive by nature. Example: 1.

    • Word count: 2437
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. Human Impact On the Environment

    Alongside this change the thickness of ice had decreased to 2.2 metres in the years 1993 to 1997. There is a decrease of 1.6 metres in ice thickness over this time. These years were the closest to 2000 which is why they have been used although they aren't 100% accurate they were the closest possible to 2000. This proves that as the years have passed the surface air temperature has increased while the thickness of ice has decreased and will carry on decreasing if surface air temperature decreases further. Global Concentration of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere since 1870 The graph above also reflects a positive correlation because the line is slightly curved and is going up.

    • Word count: 6494
  25. 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

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