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Chemistry: Organic Chemistry


Students will study the finite resource crude oil and how it is formed, extracted and refined. The topic will cover the uses of the hydrocarbon fractions obtained from crude oil, and the products which can be directly or indirectly obtained from it. From polymerisation of alkenes to alcohol and esters, this topic covers a range of products and reactions which we depend on crude oil for. The topic ends with a link to natural polymers including proteins from amino acids and the structure of DNA. This complements some key themes studied in the Biology GCSE too.

The main SMSC/Personal Development content of this topic includes: PD15 – Sense of enjoyment and fascination and PD22 – Use of a range of social skills in different contexts (Group Work).

The main UN Rights of a Child covered are No.13 – Sharing thoughts freely and No.28 – Access to Education.

Example Key Words

Crude Oil

A naturally occurring fossil fuel comprised of a mixture of hydrocarbon compounds of varying chain length.


A compound made of only hydrogen and carbon atoms. They can be found naturally in Crude Oil.

Fractional Distillation

The process by which Crude Oil is refined by vaporising it and separating it out into different fractions of varying carbon chain length and boiling point.


A homologous series of chemicals comprised of hydrocarbons containing single carbon – carbon (C-C) covalent bonds.


A homologous series of chemicals comprised of hydrocarbons which contain a double carbon – carbon (C=C) covalent bonds.