AQA GCSE C1 condensed notes

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Chemistry GCSE C1 Condensed
C1 Topic 1: Fundamental Ideas
All substances are made of atoms. A substance that is made of only one sort of atom is called an element.
There are about 100 different elements. Elements are shown in the periodic table. The groups contain
elements with similar properties. Atoms of each element are represented by a chemical symbol, eg O
represents an atom of oxygen, and Na represents an atom of sodium.
Atoms have a small central nucleus, which is made up of protons and neutrons and around which there
are electrons. The relative electrical charges of a proton (+1), neutron (0) and electron (-1). In an atom,
the number of electrons is equal to the number of protons in the nucleus. Atoms have no overall
electrical charge. All atoms of a particular element have the same number of protons. Atoms of different
elements have different numbers of protons. The number of protons in an atom of an element is its
atomic number. The sum of the protons and neutrons in an atom is its mass number.
Candidates will be expected to calculate the number of each sub-atomic particle in an atom from its
atomic number and mass number.
Electrons occupy particular energy levels. Each electron in an atom is at a particular energy level (in a
particular shell). The electrons in an atom occupy the lowest available energy levels (innermost available
shells). Candidates may answer questions in terms of either energy levels or shells. Candidates should be
able to represent the electronic structure of the first 20 elements of the periodic table in shorthand and
diagramatic form.
Elements in the same group in the periodic table have the same number of electrons in their highest
energy level (outer electrons) and this gives them similar chemical properties. Knowledge is limited to
the reactions of Group 1 elements with water and oxygen. Candidates are not required to know of
trends within each group in the periodic table, but should be aware of similarities between the elements
within a group. The elements in Group 0 of the periodic table are called the noble gases. They are
unreactive because their atoms have stable arrangements of electrons. Candidates should know that the
noble gases have eight electrons in their outer energy level, except for helium, which has only two
When elements react, their atoms join with other atoms to form compounds. This involves giving, taking
or sharing electrons to form ions or molecules. Compounds formed from metals and non-metals consist
of ions. Compounds formed from non-metals consist of molecules. In molecules the atoms are held
together by covalent bonds. Candidates should know that metals lose electrons to form positive ions,
whereas non-metals gain electrons to form negative ions. Knowledge of such transfers is limited to
single electrons.
Chemical reactions can be represented by word equations or by symbol equations. Candidates should be
able to write word equations for reactions in the specification. The ability to interpret given symbol
equations in terms of numbers of atoms is required. Candidates should be able to balance symbol
equations. Knowledge and understanding of masses in chemical reactions is limited to conservation of
mass. Calculations based on relative atomic masses are not required but candidates should be able to
calculate the mass of a reactant or product from information about the masses of the other reactants and
products in the reaction.

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C1 Topic 2: Limestone
Rocks provide essential building materials. Limestone is a naturally occurring resource that provides a
starting point for the manufacture of cement and concrete. Consider and evaluate the environmental,
social and economic effects of exploiting limestone and producing building materials from it .Candidates
should know that limestone is needed for buildings and that the positive benefits of using this material
should be considered against the negative aspects of quarrying. Knowledge of building materials is
limited to limestone, cement and concrete.…read more

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Low density and resistance to corrosion make aluminium and titanium useful metals.
Aluminium and titanium are useful metals but are expensive to produce.
Aluminium and titanium cannot be extracted from their oxides by reduction with carbon.
Current methods of extraction are expensive because:
there are many stages in the processes
large amounts of energy are needed.
Metals that are more reactive than carbon, such as aluminium, are extracted by electrolysis of molten
compounds.…read more

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Some properties of hydrocarbons depend on the size of their molecules. These properties influence how
hydrocarbons are used as fuels.
Most fuels, including coal, contain carbon and/or hydrogen and may also contain some sulfur. The gases
released into the atmosphere when a fuel burns may include carbon dioxide, water (vapour), carbon
monoxide, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen. Solid particles (particulates) may also be released. The
combustion of hydrocarbon fuels releases energy. During combustion the carbon and hydrogen in the
fuels are oxidised.…read more

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Polymers have many useful applications and new uses are being
developed, for example: new packaging materials, waterproof coatings for fabrics, dental polymers,
wound dressings, hydrogels, smart materials (including shape memory polymers). Many polymers are
not biodegradable, so they are not broken down by microbes and this can lead to problems with waste
disposal. Plastic bags are being made from polymers and cornstarch so that they break down more
easily. Biodegradable plastics made from cornstarch have been developed.…read more

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C1 Topic 7: Earth and Atmosphere
The Earth consists of a core, mantle and crust, and is surrounded by the atmosphere. The Earth's crust
and the upper part of the mantle are cracked into a number of large pieces (tectonic plates). Convection
currents within the Earth's mantle driven by heat released by natural radioactive processes cause the
plates to move at relative speeds of a few centimetres per year.…read more


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