index heading

The tables below contain a brief description of all the A-level chemistry pages and content in this site. My aim is to cover all the content in most A-level specifications, so please check back soon as I will be updating this site regularly.

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Optical isomerism Discussion on the nature of plane polarised light and optically active molecules. This page covers the structure of optically active and inactive molecules. Racemic mixtures are also covered.
Identifying optically active molecules Recap on optically active molecules and discussion with examples on how to identify chiral centres in straight chain molecules and rings.
R and S configurations Discussion on how to assign R and S configurations to optically active molecules using the Cahn-Ingold-Prolog rules.

Carbonyl compounds- aldehydes and ketones

Review of oxidation products of primary and secondary alcohols. Recap of the oxidation of alcohols using potassium dichromate solution. Recap of use of Tollen's solution and Fehling's solution to test for aldehydes and ketones.
DNP, Fehling's and Tollens testing. How to use Brady's reagent (2,4-DNP) to test for the presence of the carbonyl group and also recap on Fehling's and Tollens' testing.
Reduction of aldehes and ketones using LiAlH4 and NaBH4 Outline of the reduction of aldehydes and ketones using reducing agents such as LiAlH4 and NaBH4. Discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of using catalytic hydrogenation to reduce aldehydes and ketones.
Addition of hydrogen cyanide to aldehydes and ketones. The mechanism of nucleophilic addition is considered using the reaction of aldehydes and ketones with acidified potassium cyanide solutions. The optical activity of the products of these reactions is discussed with examples.

Carboxylic acids, esters, acid halides and acid anhydrides

Nucleophilic addition-elimination mechanism A brief explanation is given of the mechanism for nucleophilic addition-elimination reactions.
Introduction to carboxylic acids Introduction to the reactions and properties of carboxylic acids.
Preparation of carboxylic acids Review of the methods used to prepare carboxylic acids.
Acid halides Introduction to the acylation reactions of acid chlorides with water, alcohols, ammonia and amines to form carboxylic acids, esters and amides.
Acid anhydrides Introduction to the reactions of acid anhydrides with water, alcohols, ammonia and amines to form carboxylic acids, esters and amides. This page should be read along with the one above on acid halide reactions.
Esters A brief discussion on how to make esters as well as the names and common properties of simple ester molecules.
Esters hydrolysis A brief discussion on the differences between acid and base hydrolysis of an ester.
Fats and oil Discussion on the structure of fats and oils, along discussion on trans fats.
Biodiesel Discussion on how the structure of the esters found in biodiesel and the transesterification process used to manufacture biodiesel.

Aromatic chemistry

Benzene structure Discussion on how the structure of benzene was worked out.
Naming aromatic compounds Examples on how to name a variety of aromatic compounds.
Resonance Explanation of resonance with examples showing various resonance hybrid structures.
Activated and deactivated aromatic rings Discussion with examples and explanations of how substituent groups are able to activate and deactivate aromatic rings
Electrophilic substitution Discussion of the mechanism of electrophilic substitution reactions.
Electrophilic substitution-Nitration The mechanism for the nitration of benzene rings is discussed and an explanation is given of how the nitronium ion electrophile is produced, both covered on this page.
Halogenation of aromatic compounds. This page discusses the halogenation of aromatic compounds and compares the ease of halogenation of aromatic compounds and alkenes.
Friedel-Crafts alkylations The pro and cons of Friedel-Crafts alkylation reactions are considered here. Some examples of Friedel-Crafts alkylation reactions are also covered.
Friedel-Crafts acylation The mechanism of Friedel-Crafts acylation reactions is covered here. Comparison of Friedel Crafts alkylation and acylation reactions is also briefly covered.

Amines, proteins and azo dyes

Amines Introduction to the general properties of amines. This page also covers nomenclature of amines.
Preparation of Amines Introduction on methods used to prepare aliphatic and aromatic amines
Amino acids Introduction to the structure and properties of amino acids
Proteins and polypeptides Introduction to the structure and properties of polypeptides and proteins. This page covers peptide links, dipetides and the primary, secondary and tertiary structure of proteins.
Hydrolysis of polypeptides and proteins Discussion on the products of hydrolysis of dipeptide molecules using acids and alkalis.
Azo dyes Examples on how azo dyes are formed from diazonium salts.

Phenol- reactions, structure and properties

Phenol- structure and reactions This page has a brief introduction to the uses of phenol and its compounds. It also covers the reactions and properties of the activated aromatic ring in phenol, including bromination and nitration of phenol.
Phenol- properties and reactions This page discusses H-bonding in phenol and its reactions with alkalis, metal carbonates and alkali metals. The acidity of phenol and its solubility is also covered.


Condensation polymerisation This page covers condensation polymerisation and polyesters. The formation of Terylene, its uses and drawbacks are also covered.
Polyamides The formation of polyamides such as nylon and polyglycine are discussed here. The uses and structure of the aramids Kevlar and Nomex are also covered.
Polymer problems and solutions This page discusses the pros and cons for the end of life options for plastics as well as the environmental problems the disposal of plastics cause.
Structure of DNA The structure of DNA is discussed. Nucleotides, amine bases, phosphate groups and sugar molecules are all covered and links to how these molecules are used in DNA.
Enzymes The uses, structure and function of enzymes is covered along with the use of enzyme inhibitors.