Start Page
Task 1Task_1.html
Task 2Task_2.html
Task 3Task_3.html
Task 4Task_4.html
Task 5Task_5.html
Task 6Task_6.html
Task 7Task_7.html
Task 8Task_8.html
Task 9Task_9.html
Task 10Task_10.html
Task 11Task_11.html
Task 12Task_12.html
Task 13Task_13.html

9.3  Chemical Reactions

The launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery involves huge chemical reactions.   The reaction in the large red external tanks is between hydrogen and oxygen to produce enormous volumes of extremely hot water (steam).

In the solid booster rockets (white) on the sides of the external tank,  ammonium perchlorate (NH4ClO4) reacts with aluminium metal to produce white aluminium oxide and aluminium chloride, water vapour and nitrogen gas.

These reactions generate huge amounts of energy which expand the gases produced pushing them out the nozzles of the rockets.   The temperature of the gases produced is about 3,000oC.  As the gases are pushed down, the rocket is pushed up in accordance with Newton’s Third Law of Motion.   (Every force produces an equal and opposite force.)


Chemical reactions don’t only happen during the launch of the Space Shuttle - they are are happening everywhere.

The discoveries of modern chemistry have lead to a revolution in our way of life.   Most of the advances of the machinery age, the technology age and the information revolution would not have been possible without the growth in our knowledge of chemical reactions.   An understanding of the chemistry of metals, acids, bases, salts and especially petrochemicals is essential for the manufacture of the materials needed for the new machines that have made these revolutions possible.

This topic builds on the understanding of elements, compounds and chemical reactions developed in the Year 8 topic “Compounds and Reactions.

Year 9 Home page../9/9SciA_Home.html
My Home page../My_Home_Page/My_Home_Page.html