C1 Revision Notes

21st century science

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  • Created on: 13-05-16 06:04
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C1 Air Quality
Revision Notes
1) The Atmosphere
The atmosphere is made up of a mixture of gases which are small molecules with large spaces between
them. The main gases are:
Nitrogen 78%
Oxygen 21%
Argon 1%
Small amounts of other gases e.g. carbon dioxide (0.037%) and water
2) Evolution of the Atmosphere
The early atmosphere would have been made of mainly carbon dioxide and water vapour released by
volcanic eruptions and volcanic activity. As the earth cooled the water vapour condensed and formed the
oceans. The evolution of photosynthesising organisms caused the production of oxygen and the reduction
of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide also dissolved in the oceans, which was used by organisms in the sea to
create their shells. These shells were converted into sedimentary rock over millions of years and eventually
turned into fossil fuels. These processes produced the atmosphere as we know it today.
3) Air Pollutants
The major air pollutants are:
Pollutant Formula Particle diagram Produced by... Problem
Carbon dioxide CO 2 The combustion of coal Causes global
and fuels (i.e. warming
Carbon CO Incomplete combustion of Poisonous to
monoxide coal and fuels humans by stopping
the red blood cells
carrying oxygen
Carbon C Incomplete combustion of Linked to asthma
particulates coals and fuels and global dimming.
Cover buildings with

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Sulfur dioxide SO2 Combustion of coal and Causes acid rain by
fuel containing impurities dissolving in rain
of sulfur clouds
Nitrogen NO2 Combustion of nitrogen in Causes acid rain by
dioxide car engines produces dissolving in rain
nitrogen monoxide which
is oxidised in the
atmosphere to form
nitrogen dioxide
4) Combustion of Coal:
Coal is made up mainly of carbon. Coal is often burnt in power stations and the energy given off is used to
make electricity.…read more

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The carbon in the hydrocarbon
fuel reacts with oxygen to form carbon dioxide and the hydrogen in the hydrocarbon fuel reacts with
oxygen to form water. The chemical equation for the combustion of methane would be:
Notice that the number of atoms of each element is that same on both sides of the equation (conserving
mass). If there wasn't enough oxygen present carbon monoxide or carbon particulates could be formed
instead of carbon dioxide (incomplete combustion).…read more

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Using less electricity so that less fossil fuels are burnt and therefore less carbon dioxide and other
harmful gases are produced.…read more

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The mean is found to be 33ppm and the range 3035ppm. The actual amount
of nitrogen oxide released from the car (the true value) is very likely to be within your range and
your best estimate of the actual amount is your calculated mean. The reason you cannot measure
the exact amount every time will be due to errors in your measuring equipment and because of the
procedure itself (i.e. the way go about measuring them).…read more


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