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Sulphuric Acid
Sulphuric acid is used
(a) To manufacture fertilisers
(b) To manufacture paint pigments
(c) To manufacture detergents
(d) To manufacture synthetic fibres
(e) To clean metals
(f) To manufacture plastics
(g) As an electrolyte in car batteries
(h) To manufacture other chemicals

Manufacture of sulphuric acid

Contact Process
Stage 1
In the furnace, molten sulphur is burnt in dry air to produce sulphur dioxide, SO2. The gas
produced is purified and cooled

S + O2 → SO2

Stage 2
In the converter, sulphur dioxide, SO2 and excess oxygen gas, O2 are passed over a few plates of
vanadium (V) oxide, V2O5 catalyst at 450ºC to produce sulphur trioxide, SO3

2SO2 + O2 2SO3

About 99.5% of the sulphur dioxide, SO2 is converted intro sulphur trioxide, SO3 through this
reversible reaction.

Stage 3
In the absorber, the sulphur trioxide, SO3 is first reacted with concentrated sulphuric acis, H2SO4
to form a product called oleum, H2S2O7.

SO3 + H2SO4 → H2S2O7

The oleum, H2S2O7 is then diluted with water to produce concentrated sulphuric acid, H2SO4 in
large quantities.
H2S2O7 + H2O → 2H2SO4
The two reactions in the third stage are equivalent to adding sulphur trioxide, SO3 directly to

SO3 + H2O → H2SO4

However, this is not done in industry because sulphur trioxide, SO3 reacts too violently whith
water. This produces a lot of heat and a large cloud of sulphuric acis, H2SO4 mist. The mist is
corrosive, pollutes the air and is difficult to condense.

Sulphur dioxide and encironmental pollution

The following processes release sulphur dioxide intro the atmosphere

(a) Burning of sulphur during contact process
(b) Extraction of some metals from their sulphide ores
(c) Burning of coals or fuels with high sulphur content

Sulphur dioxide, SO2 can cause acid rain. Natural rainwater has a pH of about 5.4. Acid rain
occurs when pH of the rain is between 2.4 and 5.0. This is due to the reaction of sulphur dioxide,
SO2 with rainwater.

2SO2 + O2 + 2H2O → 2H2SO4

Ammonia and Its Salts
Uses of ammonia
(a) Manufacture of fertilisers
(b) Manufacture of synthetic fibres
(c) Manufacture of explosives

The properties of ammonia

(a) It is colourless gas.
(b) It has a pungent smell.
(c) It is less dense than air
(d) It is very soluble in water
(e) It is alkaline gas.
Manufacture of ammonia

Haber Process

1. Combines nitrogen gas, N2 from the air with hydrogen gas, H2 derived mainly from
natural gas to form ammonia, NH3.

2. The ratio of one volume of nitrogen gas, N2 to three volumes of hydrogen gas, H2 is
passed through the reactor.

3. The mixture is compressed to 200 atm and heated to a temperature of about 450º C.

4. It is then passed through layers of iron catalyst to speed up the rate of reaction

5. The ammonia gas produced is liquefied and seperated tto get a better yield.

N2 + 3H2 2NH3

6. The unreacted nitrogen and hydrogen are recycled and passed back into the reactor
together with the new source of nitrogen and hydrogen. About 98% of nitrogen and
hydrogen are converted intro ammonia

Preparation of ammonium fertilisers

1) The major plant nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium.
2) Nitrogen is used by plants to make proteins in stalks and leaves.

3) Nitrogen is absorbed by plants in the form of soluble nitrate ions, NO3-

4) Ammonium fertilisers contain ammonium ions. In the soil, the ammonium ions are converted
to nitrate ions by bacteria.

5) Examples of ammonium fertilisers:

a) Ammonium nitrate, NH4NO3
b) Ammonium sulphate, (NH4)2SO4
c) Ammonium phosphate, (NH4)2HPO4
d) Urea, CO(NH2)2

6) Contain a high percentage of nitrogen.

7) Can be prepared by reactions between ammonia solution and acids.

An alloy is a mixture of two or more elements with a certain fixed composition in which the
major component is a metal.
Alloy Composition Properties Uses
Bronze • 90% copper • Hard and strong • In the building of statues
• 10% tin • Does not corrode or monuments
easily • In the making of medals,
• Has shiny surface swords and artistic

Brass • 70% copper • Harder than copper • In the making of musical

• 30% zinc instruments and
Steel • 99% iron • Hard and strong • In the construction of
• 1% carbon buildings and bridges
• In the building of the body
of cars and railway tracks
Stainless • 74% iron • Shiny • In the making of cutlery
steel • 8% carbon • Strong • In the making of surgical
• 18% chromium • Does not rust instruments
Duralumin • 93% aluminium • Light • In the building of the body
• 3% copper • Strong of aeroplanes and bullet
• 3% magnesium trains
• 1% manganese
pewter • 96% tin • Lustre • In the making of souvenirs
• 3% copper • Shiny
• 1% antimony • Strong

Synthetic polymers
Polymers are large molecules made up of many identical repeating sub-units called monomers
which are joined together by covalent bonds. Monomers are joined into chains by a process of
repeated linking known ad polymerisation.
Synthetic polymer Monomer Uses
Polythene Ethene Plastic bags, shopping bags,
plastic containers and
insulation for electrical wiring
Polypropene Propene Piping, bottle crates, carpets,
car batteries and ropes
Polyvinyl chloride, PVC Chloroethene Artificial leather, water pipes
and records
Perspex Methylmethacrylate Safety glass, reflectors, traffic
sign and lens
Terylene Hexane-1, 6-diol Clothing, sails and ropes
Benzene-1, 4-dicarboxclic acid
Nylon Hexane-1, 6-diamine Ropes, clothing and carpets
Hexane-1, 6-dioic acid

Disposal of synthetic polymers has caused environmental pollution problems.

(a) Synthetic polymers are not easily biodegradable, Thus their waste will block or clog up
the drainade system, thereby causing flash flood.
(b) The burning of synthetic polymers will produce gases like carbon monoxide, carbon
dioxide, hydrogen chloride, sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen. These gases can
cause the greenhouse effect and contribute to the acid rain problem.
Way to solve the problem

(a) Reuse
(b) Recycle
(c) Use biodegradable synthetic polymers
(d) Dispose of unwanted synthetic polymers

Glass and Ceramics

– The major component of glass is silica or silicon dioxide, SiO2 which can be found in
Generally, all types of glass have the following common properties:
(a) Transparent
(b) Hard but brittle
(c) Impermeable to liquid
(d) Heat insulator
(e) Electrical insulator
(f) Chemically inert
Type of glasses
1) Fused glass
2) Soda-lime glass
3) Borosilicate glass
4) Lead crystal glass

– Made from clay, for example kaolin, a hydrated aluminiumsilicate, Al2O3.2SiO2.2H2O.
Properties of ceramics
a) Very hard and strong
b) Brittle
c) Chemically inert and does not corrode
d) Good insulator of electricity and heat
e) Very high melting point
f) Resist compression

Composite meterials
Composite material is a structural material that is formed by combining two or more different
substances such as metal, alloys, glass, ceramics and polymers.

Reinforced concrete.
– Concrete is a composite material which consist of a mixture of stones, chips and sand
bound together by cement.
– Strong but brittle and weak in tension.
– Steel is strong in tension. When concrete is reinforced with steel wires, steel bars or any
polymer fibres, the resulting combination is a very tough material with more tensile

– Capable of conduction electricity without any electrical resistance when they are cooled
to extremely low temperature.
– Used in the bullet trains in Japan and medical magnetic-imaging devices like magnetic
resonance imaging, MRI.
– Also used in magnetic energy-storage system, generators, transformers and computer

Fibre optic
– Consist of a bundle of glass or plastic threads that are surrounded by a glass cladding.
– Able to transmit data, voice and images in a digital format.
– Used to replace copper wire in long distance telephone lines, in mobile phones, video
cameras and to link computers within local area networks, LAN.
– Used in instruments for examining internal parts of the body or inspecting the interiors of
manufactured structural products.
– Low material costs, high transmission capacity, chemical stability and is less susceptible
to interference.

Fibre glass
– Glass is hard, and plastic is elastic. When glass fibres are usedto reinforce plastic, we get
a strong composite material called fibre glass.
– Has high tensile strength, can be easily coloured and low in density
– Can be made into thin layers, yet very strong.
– Easily moulded and shaped.
– Has been used to make household products like water storage tanks, badminton rackets,
small boats, skis and helmets.
Photochromic glass
– Produced by embedding photochromic substances like silver chloride, AgCl srystal in
glass or transparent polymers.
– When it is exposed to light, silver chloride, AgCl is converted to silver and the glass
– It becomes transparent again when silver is converted back to silver chloride, AgCl when
the light dims
– Suitable for making optical lenses, car windshields, smart energy efficient windows in
buildings, information display panels, lens in cameras, optical switches and light intensity