Drouin Secondary College - Course Selection

12 VCE Chemistry (12SCH1)

The Course

Unit 3:How can chemical processes be designed to optimise efficiency? 

The global demand for energy and materials is increasing with world population growth. In this unit students explore energy options and the chemical production of materials with reference to efficiencies, renewability and the minimisation of their impact on the environment. Students compare and evaluate different chemical energy resources, including fossil fuels, biofuels, galvanic cells and fuel cells. They investigate the combustion of fuels, including the energy transformations involved, the use of stoichiometry to calculate the amounts of reactants and products involved in the reactions, and calculations of the amounts of energy released and their representations. Students consider the purpose, design and operating principles of galvanic cells, fuel cells and electrolytic cells. In this context they use the electrochemical series to predict and write half and overall redox equations, and apply Faraday’s laws to calculate quantities in electrolytic reactions. Students analyse manufacturing processes with reference to factors that influence their reaction rates and extent. They investigate and apply the equilibrium law and Le Chatelier’s principle to different reaction systems, including to predict and explain the conditions that will improve the efficiency and percentage yield of chemical processes. They use the language and conventions of chemistry including symbols, units, chemical formulas and equations to represent and explain observations and data collected from experiments, and to discuss chemical phenomena.

Unit 4: How are organic compounds categorised, analysed and used?

 The carbon atom has unique characteristics that explain the diversity and number of organic compounds that not only constitute living tissues but are also found in the fuels, foods, medicines and many of the materials we use in everyday life. In this unit students investigate the structural features, bonding, typical reactions and uses of the major families of organic compounds including those found in food. Students study the ways in which organic structures are represented and named. They process data from instrumental analyses of organic compounds to confirm or deduce organic structures, and perform volumetric analyses to determine the concentrations of organic chemicals in mixtures. Students consider the nature of the reactions involved to predict the products of reaction pathways and to design pathways to produce particular compounds from given starting materials. Students investigate key food molecules through an exploration of their chemical structures, the hydrolytic reactions in which they are broken down and the condensation reactions in which they are rebuilt to form new molecules. In this context the role of enzymes and coenzymes in facilitating chemical reactions is explored. Students use calorimetry as an investigative tool to determine the energy released in the combustion of foods.

Unit 3 Topics

Area of study 1: What are the options for energy production? 

Area of study 2: How can the yield of a chemical product be optimised? 

Unit 4 Topics

Area of study 1: How can the diversity of carbon compounds be explained and categorised?

Area of study 2: What is the chemistry of food?

Area of Study 3: Practical investigation

Learning and Assessment Activities

Unit 3

Outcome 1 Compare fuels quantitatively with reference to combustion products and energy outputs, apply knowledge of the electrochemical series to design, construct and test galvanic cells, and evaluate energy resources based on energy efficiency, renewability and environmental impact. 50 marks

Outcome 2 Apply rate and equilibrium principles to predict how the rate and extent of reactions can be optimised, and explain how electrolysis is involved in the production of chemicals and in the recharging of batteries. 50 marks

Unit 4

Outcome 1 Compare the general structures and reactions of the major organic families of compounds, deduce structures of organic compounds using instrumental analysis data, and design reaction pathways for the synthesis of organic molecules. 30 marks

Outcome 2 Distinguish between the chemical structures of key food molecules, analyse the chemical reactions involved in the metabolism of the major components of food including the role of enzymes, and calculate the energy content of food using calorimetry. 30 marks

Outcome 3 Design and undertake a practical investigation related to energy and/or food, and present methodologies, findings and conclusions in a scientific poster. 30 marks

These units lead to

University studies in Chemistry, Earth and Physical Sciences, Medicinal Sciences, Veterinary Science, Pharmacology, Engineering and Genetics and other Life sciences.

Check with your careers counsellor as this is a pre requisite or preferred subject for many courses. May also attract ATAR score boost for some courses at individual institutions.

Special considerations

There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4. Students entering Unit 3 without Units 1 and/or 2 may be required to undertake additional reading as prescribed by their teacher.

Costs involved

Edrolo online required software - refer to booklist

Textbook & Student Activity Book - refer to booklist


Materials required

Text Book

Student Activity Workbook

2x 128 page exercise books

For further information see...

Talk to Mr Russell, Mr Monk, Mr Bohni or Mrs Marx.

Study design link

VCE Chemistry Study Design 2016