HSC Chemistry

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 in the design and production of new materials to replace those have been deemed no longer satisfactory for needs.

Fossil Fuels

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

Alternative Cellulose

Some scientists research the extraction of materials from biomass to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels

Ethanol from Biomass

Other resources such as ethanol, are readily available from renewable resources such as plants

Batteries and Redox Reactions

Oxidation-reduction reactions are increasingly important as a source of energy

Nuclear Chemistry

Nuclear chemistry provides a range of materials

The Acidic Environment


Indicators were identified with the observation that the colour of some flowers depends on soil composition

Acidic Oxides

While we usually think of the air around us as neutral, the atmosphere naturally contains acidic oxides of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur. The concentrations of these acidic oxides have been increasing since the Industrial Revolution


Acids occur in many foods, drinks and even within our stomachs

Definition of an Acid

Because of the prevalence and importance of acids, they have been used and studied for hundreds of years. Over time, the definitions of acid and base have been refined.


Esterification is a naturally occurring process which can be performed in the laboratory

Chemical Monitoring and Management

*Contextual Outline:*

The state of our environment is an important issue for society. Pollution of air, land and water in urban, rural and wilderness areas is a phenomenon that affects the health and survival of all organisms, including humans. An understanding of the chemical processes involved in interactions in the full range of global environments, including atmosphere and hydrosphere, is indispensable to an understanding of how environments behave and change. It is also vital in understanding how technologies, which in part are the result of chemical research, have affected environments. This module encourages discussion of how chemists can assist in reversing or minimising the environmental problems caused by technology and the human demand for products and services.

Some modern technologies can facilitate the gathering of information about the occurrence of chemicals - both those occurring in natural environments and those that are released as a result of human technological activity. Such technologies include systems that have been developed to quantify and compare amounts of substances.

Chemists and Monitoring

Much of the work of chemists involves monitoring the reactants and products of reactions and managing reaction conditions

Monitoring and Efficiency

Chemical processes in industry require monitoring and management to maximise production

* gather and process information from secondary sources to describe the conditions under which Haber developed the industrial synthesis of ammonia and evaluate its significance at that time in world history

Chemical Analysis

Manufactured products including food, drugs and household chemicals, analysed to determine or ensure their chemical composition.

The Ozone Layer

Human activity has caused changes in the composition and the structure of the atmosphere. Chemists monitor these changes so that further damages can be limited.

Water Quality

Human activity also impacts on waterways. Chemical monitoring and management assists in providing safe water for human use and to protect habitats of other organisms.

Option Topic - Industrial Chemistry

Contextual Outline

Industry uses chemical reactions to produce chemicals for use by society. This module develops the ideas that some chemicals have been produced to replace naturally occurring chemicals that are no longer available or are not economically viable. The concepts of qualitative and quantitative equilibrium are further developed.

Industrial chemical processes cover the full range of reactions but concentration on some case studies is sufficient to illustrate the range of reactions and the role of chemists and chemical engineers involved in these processes. This allows some insight into the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the chemical industry and allows a consideration of the analytical processes and monitoring that are necessary for efficient production.

This module increases students’ understanding of the history, applications and uses of chemistry, and current issues, research and developments in chemistry.

Industrial Chemistry Processes

Industrial chemistry processes have enabled scientists to develop replacements for natural products.

Sulfuric acid

Sulfuric acid is one of the most important industrial chemicals.

Industrial production of NaOH

The industrial production of sodium hydroxide requires the use of electrolysis


Saponification is an important organic industrial process.

The Solvay process

The Solvay process has been in use since the 1860s.