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C5 Synthesis ­ Why?
This topic gives students the opportunity to gain a fundamental appreciation of organic chemistry. Students should
understand that organic chemistry is the chemistry of compounds containing carbon and hydrogen, often with other
A study of the simple but relatively unreactive alkanes can be used to introduce the more reactive alkenes and the
useful polymers that can be made from them. They should come to appreciate that chemists need to know what masses
of reactants to use to produce the required amount of product. Students should also realise that chemical reactions do
not produce the theoretical amount of product, but only a percentage of that maximum amount. This can lead to the idea
of purity of products and appropriate tests for purity.
It is important for students to realise that yields are an important factor when manufacturing chemical products. The aim
of manufacturers is to produce a pure product safely with a high yield. This will enable manufacturers to keep costs
down and to use profit to further research and development.
Students need to appreciate that products must be pure and therefore the separation of the product from the impurities
is an important feature of chemical production.
Students need to appreciate the implications of not having a pure product.
Students will need to be aware that there is a number of analytical tests that can be carried out to check the purity of
products. In some instances, such as wine, it would be smell and taste.
Practical activities can be carried out to prepare polymers and investigate the properties of polymers. The implications of
non-biodegradable plastics can be discussed.
Students can identify applications of plastics and how additives can alter their properties or use in specific applications,
eg UPVC. Students can also investigate the importance of the products obtained from crude oil.…read more

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Questions To Be Answered in Synthesis
Have you ever wondered?
Only a small part of crude oil is petrol, so how do we make enough for all the cars
inthe world?
Food labels give `total fat' and `saturated fat' -- but what's the difference?
How is plastic made from oil?
How do those plastic creatures, that grow when put in water, actually work?
How do you make slime/super-balls?
Why would you want a biodegradable plastic bag?
Is sucking plastic toys dangerous for a baby?
How do chemists discover new drugs?…read more

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Important Words
You will be expected to be able to recall, explain, describe and use appropriately
the following words and phrases:
addition empirical percentage yield theoretical yield
alkane fats polymer thermoplastic
alkene formulae polyunsaturated thermosetting
covalent bond hydrogenate saturated hydrocarbon
cracking monomer sustainable development unsaturated
double bond monounsaturated synthesis unsaturated
monomer…read more

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Learning Objectives
· Organic compounds contain the elements carbon and hydrogen and many
originate from living things.
· Many new substances are made from oil.
· Polymers are large molecules which can be formed by the repeated joining of
monomer molecules.
· Disposal of some polymers is an environmental problem.
· Raw materials are converted into new and useful substances by chemical
· The amount of reactant needed to form a desired quantity of product can be
calculated, but the actual yield is lower than the theoretical yield and this has
financial implications.…read more

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Throughout Students are Expected to.......
F recall the formulae of elements and simple compounds in the topic
e.g H2, S, K, Li, C2H4, CO2, H2O, CH4
C represent chemical reactions by word equations and simple
balanced equations and use state symbols (s), (l), (g) and (aq)
Can you
write balanced equations to
A describe and explain a wide
range of reactions in this
topic…read more

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