Burning fuels (GCSE Chemistry)

Uploaded by freeeschool on 04.09.2012

GCSE Chemistry – Burning Fuels
Hello and welcome to a video about Burning Fuels. We are going to look at what fuels
are used for; what are the implications of the uses are; and some of the chemistry of
the burning of these fuels.
Now it starts off with a look at what we mean by fuels. Generally, we are talking about
Hydrocarbon Fuels. Hydrocarbon fuels contain hydrogen and carbon and other substances which
are considered to be impurities like sulphur.
It starts off with what are their uses. Firstly, we use it for transport: cars, truck, ships
and airplanes. Those are major users of the fuels in service transport. They’re also
used for producing electricity; that’s quite a major use.
Hydrocarbon fuels such as coal, oil and gas are used to produce electricity and there
is a massive demand for electricity because of the population of people that inhabit the
planet. The other use is also for heating homes and so on.
There are the general uses for these hydrocarbon fuels. As we burn, there are some things that
can have an effect on the environment. The first one is the idea of acid rain. We will
talk about this in another video. Basically, acid rain is caused by the burning of these
fuels. Sulphur dioxide is usually related to coal and sometimes to oil. The nitrogen
oxides that are produced from burning fuels are usually due to high temperatures that
are produced. These high temperatures can cause the nitrogen in the air to react with
the oxygen in the air and produce these things called nitrogen oxides. This can combine with
water in rain and that can produce acid rain which is an issue that can cause various problems
in the environment.
The other thing that can happen when we burn hydrocarbon fuels is under certain circumstance
when we have what we call incomplete combustion. That’s when there is a low amount of oxygen
or when these fuels are burned in conditions of low oxygen. We don’t get carbon dioxide
produced; we get a gas called carbon monoxide produced. This is actually a poisonous gas
and can actually have an effect on people. This is caused when there are limited amounts
of oxygen where the fuel is being burned and often that could be something like a car engine
that can produce this gas here.
By large enough amounts, this can directly cause instant problems with people and instant
problems with health, but certainly it is produced and it is not actually a very nice
Looking at the chemistry of burning fuels a little bit, in hydrocarbon fuel, we have
hydrogen and carbon. When they burn, they react with oxygen in the atmosphere and they
become oxidized. When they become oxidized, they produce carbon dioxide and water. So
you can see that seems to make sense. Carbon being oxidized or reacting with oxygen will
produce carbon dioxide which has carbon and oxygen in it. It is the same idea with hydrogen;
that becomes oxidized and produces water. This is quite an important equation that you
should be able to remember. Carbon or any kind of fuel, when burned produces carbon
dioxide and water.
Carbon dioxide, as we know, can contribute to the Greenhouse effect. This in turn can
lead to the idea of Global warming. This is an overview of the issues surrounding the
burning of fuels. You should have an idea of how they all link together. You should
have an idea of what the keywords are and what fuels are used for and some of the chemistry
of burning fuels as well.
Thanks for watching and I’ll see you again soon.
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