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Burning Fuels

In this worksheet, students will explain what a fuel is and what happens when a fuel burns.

'Burning Fuels' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Chemistry: Chemical Reactions

Curriculum subtopic:  Types of Chemical Reactions

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

What are Fuels?

 

Fuels are used every day and are essential for our survival. A fuel is a substance which burns to produce energy, with everyday fuels such as wood, coal, and gas being used for heating systems, cooking foods and powering cars.

 

Fire

 

When a substance burns, it reacts with oxygen to release energy in the form of heat and light. This is known as an exothermic reaction (exo- meaning to give out, thermic meaning heat/energy).

You may also hear people talk about the combustion of fuels rather than burning. This is simply because combustion is another word for burning.  

 


Where does all our energy come from?

 

A leaking oil barrel spilling oil on the floor - stock photo Propane gas cylinder, vector illustration - stock vector

 

Two-thirds of the world’s energy is provided by crude oil and natural gas, which are made up of compounds called hydrocarbons. As the name suggests, hydrocarbons are simply made up of two elements: hydrogen and carbon.
 

All hydrocarbons burn in a plentiful supply of air to produce carbon dioxide and water:

Word equation: Methane + Oxygen   Water + Carbon Dioxide

Chemical equation: CH4 +  2O2  2H2O  +  CO2

This is known as complete combustion.



The Problem with Burning Hydrocarbons

One big problem with burning hydrocarbons is incomplete combustion. This occurs when there is not enough oxygen and can cause poisonous carbon monoxide and soot (carbon) to be formed.    

Another big problem is pollution, as the burning of hydrocarbons produces the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

Because of these problems, and the fact that fossils fuels are finite and therefore running out, many alternative energy sources are being used; such as hydrogen, solar power, wind, hydroelectric etc...

 

Think about this question before you start the worksheet:

 

Can you find an advantage and a disadvantage for each alternative energy source?

In the answer box below, write the word which completes this sentence:

 

A _________ is a substance that burns to produce energy.  

When fuels burn they release energy in the form of heat and light.

 

What type of chemical reaction is this?

decomposition

endothermic

exothermic

neutralisation

In the answer box below, write the word which completes this sentence:

 

Combustion is another word for ______________.

Which of the following elements are found in hydrocarbons? Tick two boxes.

Hydrogen

Helium

Oxygen

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon

Nitrogen

What element must be present to allow a substance to burn? 

Carbon Dioxide

Oxygen

Hydrogen

Which of the following are produced when a hydrocarbon undergoes complete combustion?

Water

Oxygen

Methane

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Monoxide

What is the molecular formula of carbon dioxide? 

CO2

CO1

CO

C1O1

Complete the word equation for the complete combustion of the hydrocarbon ETHANE.

 

HINT: the answer for B contains TWO words.

 

 

Ethane + _____A_____    __________B__________    +    ______C______

 

Make sure you write your answers in lower case.

 Answer
A
B
C

Which of the following could be produced if a hydrocarbon was burned in a limited supply of oxygen? Tick two boxes.

Oxygen

Soot (Carbon)

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Trioxide

Which of the following is a greenhouse gas?

Oxygen

Nitrogen

Hydrogen

Carbon Dioxide

  • Question 1

In the answer box below, write the word which completes this sentence:

 

A _________ is a substance that burns to produce energy.  

CORRECT ANSWER
fuel
EDDIE SAYS
Fuels are substances which burn to produce energy. We use them every day, in things like gas cookers, cars, and cosy fires in our living rooms!
  • Question 2

When fuels burn they release energy in the form of heat and light.

 

What type of chemical reaction is this?

CORRECT ANSWER
exothermic
EDDIE SAYS
An exothermic reaction is one in which energy is given out e.g. the burning of fuels.
  • Question 3

In the answer box below, write the word which completes this sentence:

 

Combustion is another word for ______________.

CORRECT ANSWER
burning
EDDIE SAYS
Combustion is another word for burning something, e.g. fuels. This involves combination with oxygen, i.e. oxidation.
  • Question 4

Which of the following elements are found in hydrocarbons? Tick two boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
Hydrogen
Carbon
EDDIE SAYS
Hydrocarbons are substances made up of carbon and hydrogen ONLY.
  • Question 5

What element must be present to allow a substance to burn? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Oxygen
EDDIE SAYS
In order for substances to burn, they MUST be in the presence of oxygen, as they react with the oxygen to release energy in the form of heat and light.
  • Question 6

Which of the following are produced when a hydrocarbon undergoes complete combustion?

CORRECT ANSWER
Water
Carbon Dioxide
EDDIE SAYS
The complete combustion of hydrocarbons will always produce water and carbon dioxide. The hydrogen combines with oxygen to form water (H20) while the carbon reacts with oxygen to form CO2.
  • Question 7

What is the molecular formula of carbon dioxide? 

CORRECT ANSWER
CO2
EDDIE SAYS
The name helps you with this one. Carbon dioxide ... carbon with two (di-) oxygens. So, the molecular formula for carbon dioxide is CO2.
  • Question 8

Complete the word equation for the complete combustion of the hydrocarbon ETHANE.

 

HINT: the answer for B contains TWO words.

 

 

Ethane + _____A_____    __________B__________    +    ______C______

 

Make sure you write your answers in lower case.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Answer
A
B
C
EDDIE SAYS
Ethane + oxygen --> carbon dioxide + water. Since you're told that ethane is a hydrocarbon, you don't need to know its formula, just that it's made of just hydrogen and carbon atoms. Then the products of combustion HAVE to be CO2 and H20.
  • Question 9

Which of the following could be produced if a hydrocarbon was burned in a limited supply of oxygen? Tick two boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
Soot (Carbon)
Carbon Monoxide
EDDIE SAYS
Carbon monoxide and soot can be produced during incomplete combustion. That's because there's not sufficient oxygen to form only CO2.
  • Question 10

Which of the following is a greenhouse gas?

CORRECT ANSWER
Carbon Dioxide
EDDIE SAYS
Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas, as it absorbs infrared radiation and contributes to The Greenhouse Effect (or Global Warming and thus Climate Change).
---- OR ----

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