Cracking, Polymers & The Production of Ethanol - C1.5 Core Chemistry AQA

Useful Substances From Crude Oil - C1.5 Chapter 5 Unit 1 Biology AQA

Notes include:

-Cracking of Hydrocarbons,


- The Production of Ethanol.

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Useful Substances from Crude Oil C1.5 AQA Core Chemistry
Cracking Hydrocarbons
Crude oil is mostly made up of long chain lengths, however the shorter chained
hydrocarbons are much more useful as fuel as they are more easily combusted.
Longer chained alkanes can be shortened by cracking.
Alkanes are saturated hydrocarbons as they do not have any double bonds.
Alkenes are produced from cracking and are unsaturated hydrocarbons as they have a
double bond.
Cracking can be carried out in two different processes.
Catalytic Cracking includes passing an alkane through a hot catalyst. This produces a
shorter chained alkane and an alkene.
7H 16 C
6 + C
4H 10
Cracking can also be carried out by heating a mixture of hydrocarbons and reacting them
with steam (water vapour).
Making Polymers
The process of making polymers is called Polymerisation.
Polymerisation involved the breaking of double bonds in an alkene to
produce a monomer. Monomers then join together to create a chain
of monomers. This chain of monomers is called a polymer.
Polymers are plastics.
If a polymer was produced from ethene, the polymer would be called
Polymers have many uses such as: producing waterproof fabrics,
hydrogels (polymers that hold water or liquids), and wound dressings
to help wounds to heal.
Issues With Polymers
Polymers are NONBIODEGRADABLE and so do not decompose in landfills.
Polymers based on starch enable these polymers to be biodegradable but have limited
Advantages for polymers are that they are light, cheap, easy to make, nontoxic and
Problems with polymers include that they are products of crude oil (meaning that they are
nonrenewable), cannot be easily recycled as they have to be separated but there are lots
of different types of polymers, and that polymers do not decompose quickly in landfills
causing litter.

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Producing Ethanol Via Hydration
There are two ways of producing ethanol, via the hydration of ethene and/or the
fermentation of sugar.
The process of hydration involves reacting ethene with steam over a hot catalyst to
produce ethanol.
An advantage of using hydration as a process to produce ethanol is that in this process
PURE ethanol is produced.…read more


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