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The information presented on this page is designed to be used by teachers to show the links between the material in this trail and the NSW HSC Chemistry (Stage 6) Syllabus. Relevant excerpts of the Syllabus are shown on this page and a copy of the full Syllabus may be downloaded from the Board of Studies website in PDF format. Additionally, teachers are advised to take note of the Board Bulletins as they contain up-to-the-minute important information.

9.2 The Identification and Production of Materials

Contextual Outline

Humans have always exploited their natural environment for all their needs including food, clothing and shelter. As the cultural development of humans continued, they looked for a greater variety of materials to cater for their needs.

The twentieth century saw an explosion in both the use of traditional materials and in the research for development of a wider range of materials to satisfy technological developments. Added to this was a reduction in availability of the traditional resources to supply the increasing world population.

Chemists and chemical engineers continue to play a pivotal role in the search for new sources of traditional materials such as those from the petrochemical industry. As the fossil organic reserves dwindle, new sources of the organic chemicals presently used have to be found. In addition, chemists are continually searching for compounds to be used in the design and production of new materials to replace those that have been deemed no longer satisfactory for needs.

This module increases students' understanding of the implications of chemistry for society and the environment and the current issues, research, and developments in chemistry.

1. Fossil fuels provide both energy and raw materials such as ethene, for the production of other substances

Students learn to:
identify the industrial source of ethene from the cracking of some of the fractions from the refining of petroleum
identify that ethylene, because of the high reactivity of its double bond is readily transformed into many useful products
identify that ethylene serves as a monomer from which polymers are made
identify poly(ethylene) as an addition polymer and explain the meaning of this term
outline the steps in the production of poly(ethylene) as an example of a commercially and industrially important polymer
identify the following as commercially significant monomers:
- vinyl chloride
- styrene
by both their systematic and common names
account for the uses of the polymers made from the above monomers in terms of their properties

identify data, plan and perform a first-hand investigation to compare the reactivities of appropriate alkenes with the corresponding alkanes in bromine water and iodine in solution
gather and present information from first-hand or secondary sources to write equations to represent all chemical reactions encountered
analyse information from secondary sources such as computer simulations, molecular model kits and multimedia resources to model the polymerisation process and use available evidence to relate the arrangement of covalent bonds in polymers to the loose coiling and intertwining of polymer strands

All Syllabus extracts Copyright © Board of Studies NSW 1999 and provided here as a courtesy to teachers by the Key Centre for Polymer Colloids without warranty or claim of ownership. Teachers, students or anyone using this information for decision-making purposes should refer to the original documents presented by the Board of Studies NSW.

Please note that the Board of Studies NSW also releases Board Bulletins containing additional important information. Users are strongly advised to take note of these Bulletins.