Sunteți pe pagina 1din 16

Sulphuric Acid

Uses of Sulphuric Acid

1. Sulphuric acid is very important industrially, and has many uses including:
the production of fertilisers such as ammonium sulphate, potassium sulphate, calcium
superphosphate (Ca(H<2PO4)2), etc.; these are straight fertilisers, as they supply one of the
important elements of nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium (NPK);

2. the manufacture of non-soapy detergents: modern detergents are organic compounds

'sulphonated' with concentrated sulphuric acid;

3. the making of artificial silks like rayon: here, the fine threads in the alkaline cellulose solution
are neutralised by passing them through a bath of sulphuric acid;

4. the cleaning of metals by removing the surface oxide coating: this is called pickling and is
important in preparing articles for electroplating.

5. its use as an electrolyte inside batteries for cars: most car batteries are made up of lead plates in
a sulphuric acid electrolyte; occasionally, the electrolyte needs to be 'topped up' with distilled
water ; this is because small amounts of hydrogen and oxygen gases are given off by the
chemical changes inside the battery, and therefore the sulphuric acid loses water and becomes
too concentrated ; in the manufacture of drugs, paints, dyes and many other chemicals .

Manufacture of Sulphuric Acid: The Contact Process

The large-scale manufacture of this acid is extremely important as it is the most common acid used in
industry, with over 1 000 million metric tonnes being produced annually.
It is manufactured by the Contact Process.

Stage 1
Combustion of Sulphur sulphur + oxygen sulphur dioxide
S (s) + O2 (g) ---> SO2 (g)

Heating of metal sulphide such as lead(II) sulphide 2PbS(s) + 3O2(g) ---> 2PbO(s) + 2SO2(g) or Combustion
of hiydrogen sulphide 2H2S(g) + 3O2(g) ---> 2SO2(g) + 2H2O(ce)

1. The raw materials are sulphur and air (oxygen). Sulphur dioxide is produced by burning either
sulphur or ores which contain sulphur.

2. Purification of sulphur dioxide

The sulphur dioxide is then purified, by removing impurities like arsenic compounds which
would otherwise poison the catalyst.

It is then passed through an electrostatic dust precipitator, which, as its name implies, charges
dust particles which are then removed by being attracted to oppositely charged plates.
Stage 2
Formation of Sulphur trioxide sulphur dioxide + oxygen ---> sulphur trioxide 2SO2 (g) + O2 (g) ---> 2SO3 (g)
Catalyst: vanadium(V) oxide
Temperature: 450°C
Pressure: 2-3 atmospheres

1. Sulphur dioxide and air are then washed, dried and passed over a vanadium(V) oxide catalyst at
450°C and 2-3 atmospheres.
2. The reaction is reversible but at these temperatures and pressures, 98% conversion to sulphur
trioxide is achieved:
3. This reaction is exothermic, which means it favours a low temperature for high conversion to
sulphur trioxide.

Stage 3
Formation of oleum H2S2O7
sulphur trioxide + concentrated sulphuric acid ¾¾®oleum SO3(g) + H2SO4(aq) ---> H2S2O7(l)

The next step is to dissolve the sulphur trioxide produced in concentrated sulphuric acid, to form oleum,
or fuming sulphuric acid.

Stage 4
Formation of Sulphuric acid Oleum + water ---> sulphuric acid H2S207 (1) + H2O (1) ---> 2H2SO4(aq)

1. This oleum is then diluted with water to the required strength of acid:
2. Although this may seem a roundabout route to take to form the acid, it is necessary because
sulphur trioxide cannot be dissolved directly in water as it reacts too violently, forming tiny
droplets of sulphuric acid which are very difficult to remove.

Sulphur Dioxide as pollutant

1. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is the pollutant primarily associated with acid rain.

2. Gaseous at normal temperature and pressure it dissolves in water and readily oxidises to
sulphuric acid.

3. Levels of SO2 have reduced over recent years with a move away from widespread burning of
coal in homes and factories.

4. It is one of the main pollutants that led to the introduction of legislation governing atmospheric
pollution such as the 1956 Clean Air Act.

ammonia and its salts
Uses of ammonia

Manufacture of Fertilizers

1. The main use of ammonia is in the manufacture of fertilizers.

2. Approximately 75% of all ammonia produced is converted into various ammonium compounds
like ammonium sulphate (NH4)2SO4, ammonium nitrate NH4NO3, ammonium phosphate
(NH4)3PO4 and urea NH2CONH2.
3. These compounds are called nitrogenous fertilizers.

Example :
Ammonium sulphate (NH4)2SO4
H2SO4(aq) + 2NH3(aq) --->(NH4)2SO4(aq)

Ammonium nitrate NH4NO3

HNO3(aq) + NH3(aq) ---> NH4NO3(aq)

ammonium phosphate (NH4)3PO4

H3PO4(aq) + 3NH3(aq) ---> (NH4)3PO4(aq)

CO2(g) + NH3(g) ---> CO(NH2)2(p) + H2O(l)

4. They are solids for ease in handling and water soluble so that they seep into the soil to be
absorbed by the roots of the plant.
5. Nitrogen is an essential element for healthy plant growth as we saw earlier with the nitrogen
cycle. Nitrogen is essential for making proteins which are needed for healthy growth of stems
and leaves. The proportion of nitrogen present in a particular fertiliser can be calculated and is
usually quoted as an 'N' value on the fertiliser bag.

Solvent Uses
1. queous ammonia is used as a degreasing agent, as it is a good solvent of grease and fat.
2. Many household cleaners boast of the 'power of ammonia' for removing grease stains around
the kitchen.
3. However, it is wrong, as stated in some commercials, to talk of 'liquid ammonia'.
4. It is more accurate to say 'ammonia solution', as ammonia does not liquefy until a temperature
of -34 °C is reached.

The Haber Process

The reaction
Ammonia is made by the Haber process from nitrogen and hydrogen:
N2(g) + 3H2(g) ---> 2NH3(g); Heat of reaction = -92 kJ mo1-1

The reaction is exothermic, and involves a decrease in the number of moles of gas.

Sources of the raw material

Hydrogen is produced industrially from cracking oil
Nitrogen from liquefaction of the air


Promoter Aluminium oxide
Ratio of Hydrogen and The two gases are combined directly in a ratio of 3 : 1
Temperature At 450 °C
An application of Le Chatelier's shows that the forward reaction should be
assisted by a low temperature.
At low temperature, the rate of attainment of equilibrium is low. At high
temperature, the position of equilibrium is over to the left.
A compromise temperature is adopted, and a catalyst is employed to speed up
the attainment of equilibrium concentrations.
Pressure At 200-1000 atm
An application of Le Chatelier's shows that the forward reaction should be
assisted by a high pressure.

The yield is about 10%, and unreacted gases are recycled
When the ammonia has been produced, it is liquefied 'out', by reducing the temperature to -34°C (239


An alloy is a mixture of two or more metals mixed in a certain percentage.

Characteristic of metal

A pure metal has the following characteristics:

1. Ductile – can be drawn into wires

2. Malleable – can be made into sheets
3. High melting and boiling points
4. High density
5. High electrical conductivity

1. Many metal are also soft. Metals like iron and copper also form oxides easily.

2. As a result, the uses of pure metals are limited, and alloys are made to improve the malleability,
ductileness and hardness of a metal.

3. A pure metal is composed of layers of atoms which are arranged in an even, orderly and close
manner at fixed positions . Each atom is surrounded by 8-12 atoms.

4. This arrangement of atoms causes the metal to be very dense with high melting and boiling
points. The strong forces of attraction between atoms require a great amount of heat to

5. However, in spite of strong forces of attraction between atoms, the metal is not hard. If a force
is applied on the metal, the layers of atoms can glide and slide on top of each other, causing
them to move to new positions. This allows the metal to be drawn into wires (ductile).

6. The spaces left naturally between layers of metal atoms also make it easy to be beaten into
sheets (malleable).

7. The formation of alloys occurs when these empty spaces between metal atoms are filled with
atoms of another metal, which may be higher or smaller than the original metal atoms.

8. The foreign atoms are usually another metal but sometimes a non-metal, like a carbon or silicon
is used.

9. The foreign atoms filling up the spaces between the atoms of the pure metal help to prevent the
slipping and sliding of atom layers, thus making the metal harder, and less malleable and ductile.

Purpose of Making Alloys

Alloys are made to

1. increase the hardness of metals.

2. prevent the corrosion of metals.
3. improve the beauty and lustre of metals.

Hardness of metals:

 Alloys improve the strength of metal.

 Carbon is added to iron to obtain steel to make it stronger and harder than pure iron. Other
metals like manganese, chromium and tungsten are also added to add to the hardness.
 Magnalium is made from aluminium and magnesium to improve the hardness of the pure
metals but at the same time, maintaining their lightness.

To prevent corrosion of metals:

 Tin and iron are used vastly in building but they rust easily, thereby causing economical loss.
Adding other metals or non-metals to them can prevent rusting.
 Stainless steel is made by adding carbon, chromium and nickel to iron.
 Adding phosphorus to bronze also improves the lustre and prevents corrosion of bronze.

Beauty and lustre of metals:

 Making alloys also improve the beauty and lustre of metals. They are thus used as decorative
items as they do not tarnish easily.
 Stainless steel is used to make forks and spoons.
 Copper and antimony added to tin produces pewter, used to make decorative items.

Polymer is a large molecule that is in the form of a long chain with a high relative molecular mass

It is made up of many smaller units called monomers, which are joined together through a process
called polymerisation. Thus the monomer is actually the repititive unit of a long polymer chain.

There are two types of polymers:

1. Natural polymers
2. Synthetic polymers

Natural Polymers
1. These occur naturally in living things. Some examples of natural polymers are:

 Natural rubber
 Protein in meat, leather, silk, hair and fur
 Carbohydrates in cellulose, starch and sugar

2. Natural polymers are made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen.

3. Natural rubber comprises the molecules of the monomer 2-methyl-1,3-butadiene, also called
isopropene, joined together to form a long chain.
4. Protein is obtained by the combination of amino acid molecules which represent the monomer
5. Carbohydrates are formed through the combination of glucose molecule which act as the

Synthetic Polymers
1. Synthetic polymer is a polymer that is manufactured in industry from chemical substances
through the polymerisation process. Through research, scientists are now able to copy the
structure of natural polymers to produce synthetic polymers.
2. Plastics, synthetic fibres and elastomers are examples of synthetic polymers.
3. The raw materials for the manufacture of synthetic polymers are distillates of petroleum.

4. The two types of polymerisation are:

 polymerisation by addition
 polymerisation by condensation

5. Polymerisation by addition involves monomers with >C = C< bonding, where the monomers join
together to make a long chain without losing any simple molecules from it. Examples of
polymers produced through this process are polythene, PVC perspex and other plastics.

6. Polymerisation by condensation involves the elimination of small molecules like water,

methanol, ammonia or hydrogen chloride during the process. Examples of products of this
process are terylene and nylon-66.


 Plastics are light, strong and do not react with any chemical substances, like acids and alkalis.
They can be made into many shapes and sizes. They are also good insulators of heat and

Plastics (Addition ) Structure Uses

Polythene (polyethylene) picture Plastic bags, containers and cups

–light; cannot tear easily

Polyvinyl chloride or picture raincoat, pipes, to insulate electric wires
–can be coloured; heat resistant
Polystyrene(polyphenylethene) picture Packaging materials, children toys, ball-point pens,
as heat and electric insulators

– light and strong

Perspex (polymethyl2-methyl picture Aeroplane window panes, lenses, car lamp covers
–light, strong, translucent, stable towards
Polypropene picture Plastics, bottles, plastic tables and chairs

–strong and light

Teflon(polytetrafluoroethene or PTFE) picture To make non-stick pots and pans

–hard, can withstand high temperatures and

corrosives chemicals

Synthetic rubber

 Synthetic rubber is an elastomer or polymer which regains its size original shape after being
pulled or pressed. [Natural rubber is an elastomer too.]
 Examples of synthetic rubber are neoprene and styrene-butadiene(SBR).

Synthetic rubber (Addition )

Neoprene picture It is used to make
* rubber gloves and
* to insulate electric wires.
Styrene-butadiene or SBR picture SBR is used to make
* tyres,
* soles of shoes and
* mechanical belts.

Synthetic Fibre

 Nylon and terylene are synthetic fibres which undergo the condensation polymerisation
 These fibres resemble natural fibres but more resistant to stress and chemicals, and more long-
 In both cases, water is eliminated during the polymerisation process.


Picture Nylon is used to make

 umbrellas
 curtains
 socks
 carpets
 nylon string and rope
 toothbrush
 comb and so on


Picture Terylene is used to make

 fishing nets
 clothes (quick-dry, non-iron)
 cassette and video tapes

Issue in using synthetic polymer
 Synthetic polymers have multiple uses in daily life because of the following properties:

1. Light and strong

2. Cheap
3. Withstand corrosion and chemical reaction
4. Withstand action of water

 Synthetic polymers are also used to replace natural polymers such as cotton, silk and rubber.
 However, synthetic polymers cause environmental pollution.

1. Most polymers are not biodegradable . Polymers cannot be decomposed biologically or

naturally by bacteria or fungi as in the case of other garbage. Thus, the disposal of polymers has
resulted in environmental pollution because they remain in the environment forever.
2. Plastic containers and bottles strewn around become good breeding places for mosquitoes
which cause dengue fever, or malaria.
3. The open burning of plastics gives rise to poisonous and acidic gases like carbon monoxide,
hydrogen chloride and hydrogen cyanide. These are harmful to the environment as they cause
acid rain.
4. Burning of plastics can also produce carbon dioxide, too much of this gas in the atmosphere
leads to the `green house effect'.

 The raw materials used to manufacture synthetic polymers are petroleum and its by-products.
Petroleum is a non-renewable source of fuel which is fast diminishing from the earth's crust.
 This problem can be overcome by the following ways:

1. Recycling polymers: Plastics can be decomposed by heating them without oxygen at 700°C. This
process is called pyrolysis. The products of this process are then recycled into new products.
2. Inventing biodegradable polymers: Such polymers should be mixed with substances that can be
decomposed by bacteria (to become biodegradable) or light (to become photodegradable) .

glass and ceramics

Uses of Glass and Ceramics

 The raw materials used in the making of glass and ceramic materials are obtained from the
earth's crust. Silica or silicon(IV) dioxide, SiO2, form the most important component of glass and
 In the SiO2 molecule, each silicon atom is held in a tetrahedral structure by four oxygen atoms.
 Each oxygen atom is held by two silicon atoms. This is repeated until a giant three-dimensional
molecule results.

Properties of glass and ceramic:

 Both have the following properties:

1. Hard and brittle

2. Do not conduct heat electricity
3. Inactive towards chemical reactions
4. Weak when pressure is applied
5. Can be cleaned easily


 It is a mixture of two or more types of metallic silicates but the main component is silicon(IV)
 Glass has the following properties:

1. Transparent and not porous

2. Inactive chemically
3. Can be cleaned easily
4. Good insulators of heat and electricity
5. Hard but brittle
6. Can withstand compression but not pressure

 Due to the above reasons and the low cost involved to produce glass, it is used in industry to
make bottles, cooking utensils, plates and bowls, laboratory apparatus (such as conical flask,
beakers and test tubes), window panes, bulbs and others.
 Different types of glass can be obtained depending on the composition of substances in it.

Glass Composition Properties Uses
Soda lime,glass SiO2 – 70% • Low melting point Glass containers, Glass panes, Mirrors,
Na20 – 15% (700°C) Lamps and bulbs, Plates and bowls
CaO – 10% Bottles
Others – 4% • Mouldable into shapes
• Cheap
• Breakable
• Can withstand high
Lead glass SiO2 – 70% • High density and Containers for drinks and fruit
(crystal) Na20 – 20% refractive index
PbO – 10% • Glittering surface Decorative glass and lamps
Crystal glassware Lenses for spectacles
• Soft
• Low melting point
Borosilicate glass SiO2 – 80% • Resistant to high heat Glass apparatus in laboratories
(Pyrex) and chemical reaction
B203 – 13% Cooking utensils
Na2O – 4% • Does not break easily
Al203 – 2% • Allows infra-red rays
but not ultra-violet rays
Fused silicate SiO2 – 99% • High melting point Scientific apparatus like lenses on
glass (1700°C)
6203 - 1% spectrometer
• Expensive Optical lenses
• Allows ultraviolet light Laboratory apparatus
to pass through
• Difficult to melt or
mould into shape


 Ceramic is a substance that is made from clay and hardened by heat in a furnace maintained at a
high temperature.
 Clay is composed of aluminosilicate with sand and iron(III) oxide as impurities. Iron(III) oxide,
Fe203, gives a reddish colour to the clay.
 Kaolin, or clay in its pure form, is white in colour. It consists of crystals of hydrated
aluminosilicate with the formula Al2Si2O7.2H2O or Al2O3.2SiO2.2H2O.
 The different classes of ceramic include:

Group Composition
Quartz – SiO2

Calcite – CaCO3
Mixture of CaSiO3 and aluminium silicate
Aluminium oxide – Al2O3

Silicon dioxide – SiO2

Magnesium oxide – MgO
Silicon nitride – Si3N4

Silicon carbide – SiC

Boron nitride – BN
Boron carbide – B4C3

 The preparation of ceramic objects involves 3 stages:

1. A layer of water exists between the aluminosilicate crystals. This gives it a plastic-like property
when wet. Thus the clay is first wet to make it soft before it is shaped.
2. The shaped object is then dried. At this stage, the product can still be reshaped by adding more
3. The dried object is heated to a temperature of 1000°C in a furnace. The product of this stage
cannot be softened with water or reshaped.

 The surface of ceramic object is usually coated with a layer of mineral or metallic silicate and
baked again in the furnace to produce a shining and impervious ceramic object.
 The properties of ceramics include the following:

1. Hard
2. Strong but brittle
3. Chemically inactive
4. Poor conductor of heat and electricity
5. High melting point – heat resistant
6. Cannot be compressed easily

composite materials
 Composite materials are substances which contain 2 or more materials that combine to produce
new substances with different physical properties from the original substances.
 They are used to make various substances in daily life because of the following reasons:

1. Metals corrode and are ductile and malleable

2. Glass and ceramics break easily
3. Metals are good conductors but have high resistance, leading to loss of electrical energy as heat
4. Plastics and glass can withstand heat to certain level only.

 Composite materials have been created to overcome these problems and to make materials
stronger, more long-lasting and light for specific purposes.
 Some composite materials and their components are:

Uses of Composite Materials

Reinforced concrete

concrete (cement, sand, stones), steel

 Ordinary concrete is strong but heavy. Concrete pillars must be big to support the weight. They
take up space and cannot withstand stress for example from earthquakes.
 Steel pillars are too expensive and can rust.
 Reinforced concrete, containing steel rods in the concrete pillars, can make them stronger and
able to support larger loads. It also does not rust.

Optical fibre

SiO2, Na2CO3, CaO

 This is a fine transparent glass tube that is made of molten glass. Glass cannot conduct
electricity or electronic data in the form of electrons. But optical fibre allows light to be
transmitted through the tube so that data is transmitted at a faster rate.
 In telecommunications, light has replaced electrons as the transmitter of signals. This light
transmits signals through optical fibre and the field is called optoelectronics.
 Optical fibre is also used in the medical field as

1. laser to do operation
2. endoscope to examine the internal organs of patients

Photochromic glass

glass, AgCl (or AgBr

 Glass is transparent and not sensitive towards light.

 Photochromic glass contains AgCI or AgBr which causes the glass to darken in sunlight and
lighten in the absence of sunlight. (See 9.5.)
 It is used to make photochromic lenses of spectacles and protects our eyes from extreme

Plastic reinforced with glass

fibreglass and polyster resin

 While plastic is light and hard, it is brittle. Glass is harder than plastic but breaks easily. Thus
fibre glass is obtained by adding a polyster resin to molten glass. It cannot be compressed easily
and is more tensile than the original materials.
 Fibre glass is light, withstands corrosion, can be cast into different shapes, is impervious to
water, not very flammable, not brittle and stronger than even steel.
 It is used to make racquets, construction panels, electrical appliances, pipes, and water tanks.


Itrium oxide (Y203), BaCO3, CuO

 It is a substance with almost nil resistance. Thus it saves electricity.

 Copper shows superconductor properties only at -270°C. Thus the superconductor, a mixture of
CuO, Y203, and BaO, results in a ceramic called perovskite or YBCO. All the materials used to
make this composite substance are not electrical conductors in their original forms, but as a
superconductor, it conducts electricity without loss of energy. (See 9.5.)

Composite Materials to Fulfill Specific Needs

 Composite materials are needed in various fields, for example:

1. In the medical field: to replace organs in the form of plastic composite organs.
2. Car parts now use composite materials instead of iron and steel. This increases the speed of the
car (car is lighter) and saves on fuel consumption.
3. Stronger buildings are built by using reinforced concrete.