Revision cards for Chemistry

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Explain why fossil fuels are finite and resources

Fossil fuels are non-renewable. They took a very long time to form and we are using them up faster than they can be renewed.

Fossil fuels are also finite resources. They are no longer being made or are being made extremely slowly. Once they have all been used up, they cannot be replaced.

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Explain the environmental problems with oil refine

Oil is carried from oil fields to refineries using ocean-going tankers. If it is spilled, it causes considerable damage to the environment:

  • oil slicks travel across the sea, far from the original spill
  • beaches and wildlife are harmed when they are coated with oil.

The oil damages feathers and birds may die. Detergents are often used to help clean up oil slicks, but these in turn may harm wildlife.

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Explain cracking

- Cracking turns long-chain hydrocarbons into short-chain hydrocarbons.

- The long-chain hydrocarbons are heated at a high temperature over a catalyst.

- The hydrocarbons then split into smaller molecules such as petrol.

Hydrocarbons from crude oil are called alkanes. When a large alkane is cracked it becomes a smaller alkane and an alkene.

An alkene has a double bond. 

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Explain why crude oil can be seperated

- Crude oil can be seperated by fractional distillation because the molecules in different fractions have different length chains. This means that the forces between molecules are different.

- The forces between molecules are called intermolecular forces. These forces are broken during boiling.

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Explain the political problems with future supply

- Oil-producing nations can set prices high and cause problems to nations that do not produce oil. 

- Difficult for the industry to match supply and demand for petrol.

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