Nature's Chemistry (N4)

The key areas covered in this Unit are:

fuels — formation and extraction processes for crude oil; the use of fuels and their environmental impact on the carbon cycle, and alternative energy sources including biomass

Dynamite soap (Demo) - exploding bubbles of hydrogen and oxygen produced by electrolysis of water.

Methane bubbles (Demo) - Preparing and igniting bubbles of methane.

Piezo rockets (Demo) - preparing and firing mini pipette rockets containing hydrogen (or possibly another flammable gas)

Whoosh bottle (Demo) - Ignition of alcohol vapour in a 15l water bottle to produce a spectacular 'whoosh'.

Dye Sensitised Solar Cells: An activity to show generation of electricity from plant pigments.


hydrocarbons — fractional distillation and cracking, straight chained alkanes (C1–C8), alkenes (C2–C8), their physical, chemical properties, general formulae, structural formulae and uses; unsaturated and saturated hydrocarbons

Cracking - microscale - A microscale version of the cracking experiment producing smaller hydrocarbons from paraffin oil 


everyday consumer products — alcoholic drinks: sources and production, units in drinks and health issues, analysis of carbohydrates, Benedict’s and iodine solutions; solubility of carbohydrates; competing demands for carbohydrates as food or fuel

Screaming Jelly Baby - The classic demonstration to show the energy that is contained in sugars.


plants to products — practical-based activity on products derived from plants which have enhanced everyday life

Shampoo: Activity to make shampoo, involving steam distillation to extract natural essences from plants

Lip Balm: Activities researching and then making lip balms using many plant-based products.

Flash Chromatography;  can be used to separate samples of food dyes (pure samples or extracted from sweets) or plant pigments.

Vitamin C Drops: Ascorbic acid is added to many doods as a preservative. This easy practical estimates the content in a variety of fruit juices.

Biodiesel: An investigation into the production and testing of Biodiesel from vegetable oil


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