IGCSE AQA Chemistry Fuels Revision Notes

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Fuels

What is a fuel and what’s going on when we burn fuels?

·       A fuel is a substance that can be burnt to produce energy – heat, light, sound etc.

·       When we burn a fuel, we consider that it is undergoing combustion which means it is burning and reacting with oxygen while releasing energy.

·       Fuels we commonly use are hydrocarbon based (made out of hydrogen and carbon) or one or the other (eg.coal). Some may contain sulfur.

·       When we burn fuels the products are ususally carbon dioxide and water (vapour). Sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen (formed at high temperatures from internal combustion engines – when taken in with air) can also be products of combustion. In incomplete combustion however (when there isn’t enough oxygen available) carbon monoxide can be produced, or just solid particles of carbon (particulates).

What are the environmental problems we face when burning fuels?

·       The sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen are the products which cause acid

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