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Integrating topics in VCE Chemistry: a video journey

Renata Galiamov

What is wonderful about chemistry is that many concepts and phenomena are interconnected. However, this also means that studying VCE Chemistry can be complex as it requires you to constantly connect various ideas you learn about throughout the year. The link between different fuels and their properties (which you learn about in Unit 3 AOS1) and how chemical structure determines intermolecular forces (which is covered in Unit 4 AOS1) is a classic example of what I’m talking about. So, to help you integrate these two topics, which are taught quite far apart, I’ve created this video series for you.

Firstly, what types of fuels exist?

In most schools, the first topic you learn about in VCE Chemistry is all about fuels – how we classify them, produce/source them, use them, and what their properties are.

At the most fundamental level, we can sort fuels into two groups – non-renewable and renewable – and in the next two videos, I go through the types of fuels VCAA expects you to know in each category.





Fuel properties are influenced by their intermolecular forces… so what types of intermolecular forces exist?

The VCAA Chemistry Study Design wants you to be able to compare properties of fuels, including boiling point, flashpoint, and viscosity, by referring to their structure and bonding. To be able to do this, you need to first have an understanding of what determines the property of a fuel – intermolecular forces. That’s why in this next video, we’re going to fast-forward to Unit 4, Area of Study 1, to have a look at what types of intermolecular forces exist between different compounds.



How do these intermolecular forces influence physical properties of substances: boiling point, flash point, and viscosity?

Now we can use our understanding of intermolecular forces to start to explain trends we see in properties of fuels, and any organic compound for that matter.



Integrating it all: comparing the physical properties of petrodiesel and biodiesel.

To bring it home, we’re going to go back to two important fuels we met in the first two videos: petrodiesel (non-renewable) and biodiesel (renewable). VCAA places a special emphasis on these two fuels in the VCE Chemistry Study Design, so in this next video we’re going to use all the knowledge we’ve acquired so far to understand why these two fuels have different physical properties, and how that affects their practicality.


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