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ALKANES, ALKENES and POLYMERS

What are polymers and how do we make


them?
Why do some polymers soften when heated
but others do not?
What are the benefits and drawbacks of the
use of plastics?
Name ____________________________
Class
__________
Date
__________
Teacher____________________________

CHEM - ADDITIONAL BOOKLET 6

ALKANES, ALKENES and POLYMERS


You should:

Tick

Be able to write structural formulae for simple alkanes (C1-C5) and


ethene
Know the meaning of the terms saturated and unsaturated
Know how large saturated hydrocarbons (alkanes) can be cracked by
heating in the presence of a catalyst to form smaller more useful
hydrocarbon molecules including monomers (alkenes) for making
polymers
Know the process of addition polymerisation of ethene to produce
polythene and be able to write and interpret the following
equation:

Be able to draw the repeating unit for the addition polymers,


poly(ethene), poly(tetrafluoroethene) (PTFE) and polyvinyl chloride
(PVC) in the form:

,
Relate the uses of polythene, PVC and PTFE to their properties
Relate the uses of thermoplastics and thermosets to their properties
and structure
Use given data to compare the properties and uses of polymers and
traditional materials
Evaluate the social, economic and environmental impact of the
widespread use of plastic products, for individuals, communities and
the environment

Alkanes and alkenes

Alkanes are the simplest hydrocarbons in which carbon atom are joined to
their neighbours by single bonds forming chains of carbon atoms which
are further surrounded by hydrogens.
Alkanes are said to be SATURATED. This is because all carbon-carbon
bonds are single, no more hydrogen atoms could possible fit onto the
carbon chain.

The ALKANE series of hydrocarbons


Alkanes are a group of hydrocarbon molecules in which all the carbon and
hydrogen atoms are only joined by single covalent bonds (eg C-H or CC). Alkanes are known as saturated molecules because other atoms
cannot add to them (compare with alkenes later on). The first four in
the series are shown. They are not very reactive unless burned (SEE
COMBUSTION OF HYDROCARBONS EARLIER (core)!
(1) is the molecular formula: a summary of the totals of each atoms of
each element in one molecule; (2) is called the structural formula: it
shows how all the atoms are linked with the covalent bonds

methan
e
(1)

, (3)

(main
molecule in
natural gas)

ethane
(1)

(2)

propane
(1)

(2)

butane
(1)

(2)

Pentane

Alkanes are not very reactive because their single carboncarbon bonds make them very stable.
ALKENES
For a hydrocarbon to be called an alkene it needs to contain at least one
carbon-carbon double bond in its chain.
Alkenes are much more useful than alkanes because they are unstable.
The fact that alkenes are unstable means that its easy to turn them
into new substances.
Alkenes are unstable because of their double bonds.
It is easy to combust alkenes in the same way as alkanes. Importantly
alkenes can also undergo ADDITION reactions such as polymerisation.
As more hydrogen could be added across a double bond, alkenes are said
to be UNSATURATED.

In the same way that ethane has two carbon atoms, so does ethene.

Catalytic Cracking
It is a fact that shorter chain hydrocarbons are more useful than longer chain
hydrocarbons.
Also; alkenes (hydrocarbons that contain at least one
carbon=carbon double bond) are more useful than alkanes (saturated
hydrocarbons with all single carbon-carbon bonds).
For these reasons, once distilled, long chain hydrocarbons undergo a process
called CATALYTIC CRACKING.
Catalytic cracking occurs when long chain hydrocarbons are exposed to heat
and a catalyst so that they break into smaller molecules. This type of reaction
is a thermal decomposition reaction. During catalytic cracking alkenes are
always produced as there are not enough hydrogen atoms to create two
alkanes. Take for example the cracking of decane:

More about alkenes


The reason that alkenes are so useful is that they are unstable. The reason
that they are unstable is that they contain double bonds (two shared pairs of
electrons side by side which will repel one another). Because they are unstable
alkenes readily undergo reactions called ADDITION reactions. One type of
addition reaction occurs when alkenes add to each other many times to make
long chain hydrocarbons known as POLYMERS.
This is called
POLYMERISATION.
Polymerisation and polymers (plastics)
This is where little alkenes such as ethene add together to make polymers.
Polymers are plastics. We call the starting (reactant) alkenes monomers. The
polymer in this case would be poly(ethene) commonly known as polythene. Here
is a diagram to show the polymerisation of ethene:

There are an enormous number of different monomers that can


be added together to make enormous numbers of polymers
(plastics). Here are two more examples:

1. poly(tetrafluoroethene) (PTFE)

2. polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

Uses and properties of polymers


Starting monomer
Ethene

Polymer
Poly(ethene)
Polythene

Polymer Structure

Properties
Good transparency

Related uses
Sandwich bags

Chemically inert for example resistant to acids and alkalis.

Sandwich bags/ cling


film

Low density

Vinyl chloride

Tetra
ethene

fluoro

Poly(vinyl
chloride) (PVC)

Poly(tetra fluoro
ethane) (PTFE)

Squeeze bottles

Flexible
Shock absorbing

Wire/cable insulation
Soft car dashboards

Chemically and heat resistant

Pipework

Durable

Cars - Cladding in
door
panels
and
undersealing.

Sound absorbing
Non stick

Carpet underlay
Saucepan coating

Low friction

Used to coat armour


piercing bullets to
reduce wear on the
firearm.

An excellent electrical insulator (dielectric)

Circuit boards

Above are different examples of plastics (polymers). There


are two types of plastic; thermoplastics and thermosetting
plastics. Some of you may have talked about this in technology.
There are two types of plastic which are classified according
to the way in which they behave on heating.
Thermosets
Made up of long
hydrocarbon (polymer
chains)

Thermoplastics
Made up of long
hydrocarbon (polymer
chains)

Chains separate on heating,


plastic can be moulded into
a new shape

Chains separate on heating,


plastic can be moulded into
a new shape

On cooling crosslinks form, On cooling no cross links


thermosets can never be
form, the plastic can be
remoulded into a new shape. remoulded again and again.
For this reason they are used
as saucepan handles and
electric light fittings.

For this reason they can be


used for packaging and
household containers.

Advantages and disadvantages of plastics


Advantages there are a vast number of advantages of
plastics, here are a small selection, see also the uses and
properties of PVC etc above.
1. Plastics are incredibly durable, they last a lot longer than
many metals as they dont corrode.
2. Plastics are resistant to chemical attack
3. They are easy to mould into shape
4. They are easy to colour
5. There are an enormous number of different monomers
therefore different plastics can be produced for
different purposes.
Disadvantages
1. Most plastics are non-biodegradable.
2. During the combustion of many plastics, toxic fumes are
released.
3. Plastics are costly to recycle
4. Plastics are made from fossil fuels which in the main are
non-renewable.

End of Summary Sheets

Alkanes and Alkenes and Cracking


6. Fill in the table below;
Name of hydrocarbon
Methane

Chemical formula

Structural formula

Ethane

Propane

Butane

Pentane

Decane

Ethene

2. Give the name of the only unsaturated molecule in the table.


Explain why you have made your choice.
_______________________________________________
3.

Why are alkenes generally more useful than alkanes?

_________________________________________

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4. You only need to know the alkene ethene for your G.C.S.E
but have a go at drawing the structures for propene,
pentene and octene. (Before harassing your teacher straight away with this one try
problem solving the prefix such as pent tells you the number of carbon atoms in the chain. Put the
double bond between the first two carbons and remember, carbon must have four bonds around it when
putting the hydrogens onto the chain. The general formula for an alkene is C NH2N.

7. Alkenes can be produced from long chain hydrocarbons


during a process called catalytic cracking. Watch the

video/DVD on
the following:

catalytic cracking and answer

Principles of Oil Refining part 2

This will test


your listening
skills

The first part of this video/DVD shows how crude oil is


separated using fractional distillation.
Chemical Conversion what needs to happen to heavy residues
produced during distillation.
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

What is this process called?

________________________
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What does it do?


_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
What is the most valuable product of thermal cracking?
_______________________________________________
What is thermal cracking not particularly good at?
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
What is used to produce lighter fractions? ______________
What does a catalyst do? ___________________________
Write a sentence describing a prac used to show the action of
a catalyst. For speed use symbols; Zinc=Zn, Sulphuric acid =
H2SO4, Hydrogen = H2, Copper Sulphate = CuSO4.
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
What is the catalyst used in catalytic cracking?
_______________________________________________
What happens to a catalyst at the end of a chemical reaction?

What is the main product formed in catalytic cracking?


______________________

Summary there are three different methods of cracking


mentioned in this video. For your G.C.S.E you simply need to
know that during cracking, heat and a catalyst are used to
break up long chain H-Cs into shorter chains including alkenes.
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8. Here is an equation to show the cracking of decane into


octane and ethane;

Draw two similar equations to show i. the cracking of octane to


produce hexane and ethene ii. The cracking of decane to
produce hexene and butane.
i.

ii.

8. Carry out a quick prac to show the action of a copper


sulphate catalyst on the reaction between zinc and
sulphuric acid. Add 25 cm 3 suphuric acid to a piece of
zinc and add 5 cm3 copper sulphate solution. Write down
your observations below:
Before catalyst

After catalyst

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Polymerisation(making plastics), different types of plastics and


their advantages and disadvantages.

I.C.T could do
internet research here.

1. Alkenes can be added together during reactions known as


addition reactions to make polymers. Polymers are plastics.
Write out the equation to show the polymerisation of ethene. Label
the monomers and the polymer. Write about the uses and related
properties of poly(ethene).

____________________________________________________
Draw the polymer PVC and write about its uses and related properties.
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
____________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
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______________________________________________________

Draw the polymer PTFE and write about its uses and related properties.

______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________

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2.
Once polymers are formed; the way they arrange
themselves on mass when heated dictates the type of plastic
group they belong to; thermosetting or thermoplastics. Fill in
the table using the summary sheet to help you:

Thermosets
Made up of long hydrocarbon
(polymer chains)

Thermoplastics
Made up of long hydrocarbon
(polymer chains)

Diagram

Diagram

Chains separate on heating,


plastic can be moulded into a new
shape

Chains separate on heating,


plastic can be moulded into a
new shape

On cooling crosslinks form,


thermosets can never be
remoulded into a new shape.

On cooling no cross links form,


the plastic can be remoulded
again and again. For this reason

_________________________

______________________

For this reason they are used as


_____________________________

they can be used for


__________________________

Diagram

Diagram

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3. Use this page to display the advantages and disadvantages of plastics. Draw a table, write a newspaper
article, write an essay, draw a spider diagram, draw a whatever you like diagram, put down lots of points,
approach this in any way you wish. BE CREATIVE!

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