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This unit will look at the characteristics of different types of chemical reaction including redox reactions, decomposition and combustion. Redox reactions will be discussed in terms of electron gain/loss and the theory will be applied to the extraction of metals by electrolysis. Students will also gain experience of identifying unknown substances using chemical tests in a practical setting.

Learning targets


Life-Long Learners - Careful observation and recognition of patterns of behavior allows us to make predictions about the behavior of the natural world

C5 Electricity and Chemistry

  • State that electrolysis is the chemical effect of electricity on ionic compounds, causing them to break up into simpler substances, usually elements
  • Use the terms electrode, electrolyte, anode and cathode
  • Describe the electrode products, using inert electrodes, in the electrolysis of:
    • molten lead(II) bromide
    • aqueous copper chloride
  • Supplement: Describe electrolysis in terms of the ions present and the reactions at the electrodes
  • Supplement: Predict the products of the electrolysis of a specified binary compound in the molten state

C7. Chemical reactions

C7.1 Redox

  • Define oxidation and reduction in terms of oxygen loss / gain, and identify such reactions from given information

C8. Acids, bases and salts

C8.3 Identification of ions and gases

  • Use the following tests to identify:
    • aqueous cations: copper(II), iron(II), iron(III) and zinc by means of aqueous sodium hydroxide and aqueous ammonia as appropriate. (Formulae of complex ions are not required.)
    • anions: carbonate by means of dilute acid and then limewater, chloride by means of aqueous silver nitrate under acidic conditions
    • gases: carbon dioxide by means of limewater, chlorine by means of damp litmus paper, hydrogen by means of a lighted splint, oxygen by means of a glowing splint
  • Can identify decomposition reactions and distinguish between decomposition and combustion

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