Monday, November 14, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

SJ11 A Level Result Analysis

Congratulations to those who did well in your recent A Level (May 2011)

The following is the unofficial analysis (analysis done by me)of the Chemistry results:
No of students taking Chemistry :97students

A* 12 students 12.4%
A 23 students 23.7%
B 20 students 20.6%
C 14 students 14.4%
D 9 students 9.3%
E 9 students 9.3%
e^ 4 students 4.1%
U 6 students 6.2%

Friday, June 10, 2011

Asbestos linked to ovarian and lung cancers

It's well known that exposure to asbestos causes lung cancer, but there have been suspicions that it could also be linked with ovarian cancer. Now, researchers have shown that there is indeed a causal association between asbestos exposure and ovarian cancer.

Over the years, there have been several suggestions that asbestos might be a risk factor in ovarian cancer on top of links to lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. A working group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently concluded there is sufficient evidence for a causal association, and now a study led by Leslie Stayner, from the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, US, confirms it.
A meta-analysis of 18 studies of women who had been exposed to asbestos through their work was carried out. Earlier studies failed to prove the link because of concerns that tumours had been mis-classified - until recently it was difficult to discriminate between peritoneal mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. Across all the studies, women exposed to asbestos were about one-and-three-quarter times more likely to develop ovarian cancer as those who were not. Particularly high rates were seen in UK women who manufactured gas masks, and thus had been exposed to high levels of the fibres.
Several mechanisms have been proposed as to how asbestos increases susceptibility to ovarian cancer, mostly involving chronic inflammation caused by fibres persisting in ovarian tissue. It is unknown how the fibres get into the ovaries - they might be transported through the reproductive tract, or fibres may be carried in the bloodstream or lymph system, penetrating the ovary through the mesothelium.
According to Hilde Langseth, a researcher at the Cancer Registry of Norway, the association between asbestos exposure and ovarian cancer has been an ongoing research question for a long time. 'The meta-analysis performed by Stayner and coworkers is an important quantitative evaluation of this association in occupationally exposed workers,' she says. 'They demonstrate an increase in the pooled estimate for ovarian cancer in relation to exposure to asbestos.'
However, she adds, even if asbestos use has been forbidden in some countries in the western world since the 1980s, a significant proportion of the world's population still works in environments in which they are exposed to asbestos. 'The authors report that at least 90,000 people die from asbestos-related cancers every year,' she says. 'The need for increased knowledge about the association and the carcinogenesis of ovarian cancer is therefore warranted.'
Sarah Houlton

Source :

AS revision, atomic structure, bonding and periodicity

A level as notes: atomic structure, bonding and periodicity

downloaded from

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Recycling plastic

Extracted from Infochem, May 2010

Most clear plastic bottles are made from the polyester, poly(etheneterephthalate), or PET(1). Triangular arrows surrounding the number 1 stamped on the bottle identify the plastic as PET. High-density poly(ethene), HDPE, is used to make milk bottles (number 2 in the recycling symbol). The caps and rings that keep the bottles’ content fresh or fizzy are made from poly(propene), PP. Like all plastics, PET, HDPE and PP are polymers – their molecules are long chains made from repeating units of smaller molecules. In the case of PET the repeating unit is ethane terephthalate; in HDPE it is ethene (2), and in PP is propene (3).
A large amount of plastic waste is shipped abroad, often to Asia, where it is processed to be re-used in low-grade products like fibres for clothing, carpets or plastic strapping. Some of it, PET in particular, is made back into bottles at plants like Closed Loop Recycling (CLR), in Dagenham, Essex. Used plastic bottles arrive at CLR in bales weighing about 500 kg and containing around 12 500 plastic bottles, along with items like carrier bags, yoghurt pots, and cans.
The contents of the bales have to be sorted because failure to separate the plastics will cause problems with the end product. Nick Cliffe, marketing manager at CLR, singles out polyvinyl chloride, PVC, poly(chloroethene) (4) as the main ‘headache substance’ for CLR. PVC is commonly used in blister packaging for batteries as well as in plastic pipes, and as Cliffe says ‘has similar properties and looks like PET to the naked eye, but it blackens at 200 °C’. A tiny black speck in a recycled PET bottle, he explains, will weaken it so much it could explode when filled with fizzy drink, and just one PVC bottle in a batch of 10 000 PET bottles could ruin the entire batch. Separating all the different types plastic is a challenge, but CLR has found that the solution lies in exploiting the chemical differences between the different polymers.
‘Different polymers reflect and absorb different amounts of light, and at different wavelengths, especially in the near infrared’ explains Cliffe. ‘As the bottles pass by a series of “optical sorters”, ie bright bulbs emitting in the near infrared, different polymers trigger a jet of air, which blows the bottle down a chute. This is also useful for removing coloured PET, which can’t be included in the final product but can be recycled for uses where colour is not so important’. Some bottles can make it past the optical sorters so another difference is exploited once the polymers have been shredded ready for processing: PET is more dense than water, while polyalkenes, like HDPE and PP, are less dense. So when the flake mixture is dumped into a tank of water, the PET flakes sink to the bottom, while the floating HDPE and PP can be skimmed off the surface. Recovered PP is recycled for low-grade uses. A final check of the PET flakes is done using Raman spectroscopy. In this process each flake is hit with a laser, causing the electrons in the flake material to absorb the laser energy and jump into a high-energy state. As the electrons drop back down to their original energy state, they release the absorbed energy as light. The range of wavelengths of light emitted (the spectrum) depends on the chemical structure of the compounds containing the electrons. Thus individual atoms and bonds can be identified. CLR uses Raman because the emitted light is a ‘unique molecular fingerprint’ of whatever is in the flake. When the Raman spectrum of a rogue flake or contaminant is detected it is ejected from the mix with a jet of air.
If the PET bottle is going to be re-used for food or drinks packaging it must have all contaminants removed. At CLR, this is done by stripping off a layer of plastic, a few micrometres thick, from the surface of the PET flakes in a reaction that Cliff e describes as a ‘chemical peel’. In fact, the reaction is a depolymerisation: the reverse of the polymerisation reaction that originally formed
the plastic. Each PET flake is coated with a vaporized solution of sodium hydroxide. The coated flakes are heated to 200°C in a rotating oven. At that temperature, the hydroxide ions attack the ester groups in the polymer chains nearest the flake surface. This hydrolysis reaction breaks up the PET chains into terephthalic acid and ethane-1,2-diol (ethylene glycol), the same two compounds which were originally used to make the polymer.
The terephthalic acid forms sodium terephthalate,with the sodium from sodium hydroxide. This salt is water soluble and can be washed away, along with the ethane-1,2-diol.
Volatile organic contaminants, such as the flavouring limonene, evaporate in the heat.
Other contaminants, mostly dried remnants of the original drink, are also removed by washing. The PET flakes that are left behind are clean enough to be melted down and made into new bottles. A similar process to hydrolysis, ie methanolysis, is used to depolymerise PET into its core ingredients by the Eastman Chemical Company in the US. Methanol at temperatures above 250 °C attacks the ester linkages in the PET chain, breaking it down into dimethyl terephthalate and ethane-1,2- diol. A catalyst such as sodium methoxide can be used to speed the reaction up. The product, dimethyl terephthalate, can be repolymerised or hydrolysed to form terephthalic acid.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan has developed a variation of this reaction that uses supercritical methanol (ie methanol which is heated at high pressure to beyond its boiling point). At these conditions the reaction is faster and does not require a catalyst.
Ethane-1,2-diol can be used instead of methanol to attack the PET ester linkages. This reaction (glycolysis), which also requires high temperatures and pressure and can be catalysed by a compound such as zinc acetate, forms bishydroxyethyl terephthalate and shorter PET segments called oligomers.

These products can all be re-polymerised to make fresh PET. George Roberts, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State University, US, has recently developed a method for reacting PET with ethane-1,2-diol in a large corkscrew-type chamber, allowing the process to run continuously. As the extruder screw turns, it melts the PET, allowing it to react more rapidly with ethane-1,2-diol to form shorter PET oligomers. ‘Once we have these shorter segments, the viscosity of the material is significantly reduced. We can take out any solid, liquid or vapour impurities and wind up with a material that can be put through a normal polymerisation process’, said
Roberts. ‘We think it is more economical to make the oligomer because most polyester processes involve two stages, and the second stage starts with an oligomer.’
Natural, white, HDPE can also be turned back into a food-grade plastic containers. The bottles are heated to 120 °C at low pressure. When the plastic melts, the contaminating remnants of the drink to simply evaporate. The molten plastic is then filtered through a fine mesh, cut into pellets and cooled, ready to be turned into new milk bottles.
So next time you drop your plastic water bottle in the recycling bin, think about the chemical journey it will take before it ends up as just another bottle.
Tom Westgate

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Periodicity -Acid Base Character

Acid-base character of oxides
Base behaviour : Na2O, MgO
Na2O(s) + 2HCl(aq) → 2NaCl(aq) + H2O(l)
MgO(s) + 2HCl(aq)→MgCl2(aq) + H2O(l)

Amphoteric behaviour Al2O3
Al2O3(s) + 6HCl(aq) → 2AlCl3 + 3H2O(l)
Al2O3(s) + 2NaOH(aq) +3H2O(l) → 2NaAl(OH)4(aq) sodium aluminate

Acid behaviour : SiO2, P4O10, P4O6
SiO2 + 2NaOH(aq) → Na2SiO3(aq) + H2O
P4O10 + 12NaOH → 4Na3PO4 + 6H2O
P4O6 + 12NaOH → 4Na3PO3 + 6H2O
Formulae of chlorides and reactions with water

NaCl + aq →Na+(aq) + Cl-(aq) dissolves to form neutral solution , pH = 7

MgCl2 + aq → Mg2+(aq) + 2Cl-(aq) dissolves with slight hydrolysis to form slightly acidic solution , pH = 6.5

AlCl3 + 6H2O(l) → [Al(H2O)6]3+(aq) + 3Cl-(aq) dissolves with hydrolysis to form acidic solution
[Al(H2O)6]3+(aq) →[Al(OH)(H2O)5]2+(aq) + H+(aq) , pH = 3

SiCl4 + 2H2O→SiO2 + 4HCl , pH = 2

PCl3 + 3H2O → H3PO3 + 3HCl, pH = 2

PCl5 + H2O → POCl3 + 2HCl, pH =2

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Useful websites
If you are looking for quality revision notes

Doc Brown's Chemistry Clinic
Notes and tests

Dr Rod Beavon's Chemistry Pages

Notes and examination tips for the AS/A Level Chemistry.

Chemmy Bear

Chemsoc Interactive Periodic Table
Interactive Periodic Table of Elements

The Orbitron
3-D images of atomic orbitals and molecular orbitals.

The Organic Chemistry Review
Printable Notecards

S-cool! Revision Guide
Extensive notes and sample questions.
Revision notes Chemistry Section
Notes on topics relevant to AS/A Level Chemistry.

General Chemistry Online
Notes, articles, experiment simulations and tutorial for US students but relevant to A level students.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New students...SJ11

Click this link for to download more past exam papers

Past exam papers

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chemical bonding

Types of bonding

Ionic bond (between ions)
Ionic bond is the electrostatic force of attraction between the positive and negative ions as a result of transfer of electrons from an atom to another. (eg NaCl, MgCO3 )

Covalent bond (between atoms)
Covalent bond is the electrostatic force of attraction resulted by sharing of two electrons by two atoms.
Covalent bond can be found in simple molecular structure ( discrete molecules eg O2, CO2 ) and giant covalent structure (with a network of covalent bonds eg C(graphite), C(diamond), SiO2,,Si ]

Metallic bond ( between positive ions surrounded by sea of delocalised electrons)
Metallic bond is the electrostatic attractions between the cations and the delocalised electrons surrounding the cations. (eg Mg, Al , Na, Ag, Pb, Sn)

3 types of intermolecular forces ( weak forces between molecules)

London or dispersion forces occurs are weak forces occur between non- polar molecules , eg: CH4, Cl2, CO2

Dipole-dipole forces are forces occur between polar molecules, eg HCl , H2S, SO2

Hydrogen bonding is the electrostatic attraction forces between H atom bonded to a very electronegative atom and the lone pair of electrons from a very electronegative atom such as. F,O or N atom (eg HF, NH3, H2O ,amines and alcohols) Hydrogen bonding causes higher boiling points of hydrides, solubility of carboxylic acids, alcohols and amines, dimerisation of carboxylic acids and low density of ice.

Thursday, December 31, 2009


Happy New Year 2010.

Enjoying my holiday at the moment.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tar college Open day

If you want an affordable and quality education, come and find out more at Tar College Open Day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yew Shy Gin

On 2nd November 2009, three Utar students drowned after they were swept away by strong current during an outing to Batu Berangkai Waterfall, Kampar. (my hometown). One of them is Yew Shy Gin.
I used to go to this waterfall when I was a student. Well, this place is quite dangerous especially after it rains as there will be a water gush from the top.

By the way, Shy Gin did her A-level in Tar College.
She was my former student from the class of SN7c.

Rest In Peace

My condolences to her family.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Trial Exam Sept 2009 Paper 1 and 2

Sorry, for the long silence. Take me some time to look for the soft copy.
Paper 1
Ans for Paper 1
Paper 2
Ans for Paper 2

Saturday, August 8, 2009