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Year 11: Term 2 (IA3): Chemistry of Fuels

What is a Claim?

According to the QCAA Syllabus glossary, a claim is an assertion made without any accompanying evidence to support it.

CLAIM 1: Biodiesel is a better fuel than conventional diesel

CLAIM 2: The contribution of nanoparticles is over-rated

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Contains descriptions of the inorganic and biological processes by which nanoparticles form, information about the distribution of nanoparticles in the atmosphere, aqueous environments, and soils, discussion of the impact of size on nanoparticle structure, thermodynamics, and reaction kinetics, consideration of the nature of the smallest nanoparticles and molecular clusters, pathways for crystal growth and colloid formation, analysis of the size-dependence of phase stability and magnetic properties, and descriptions of methods for the study of nanoparticles. 

CLAIM 3: Polymers will replace alloys in the future

Specialty Polymers
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Polymers make an enormous contribution to modern life, and include plastic mouldings and extrusions, plastic film and sheet, plastic laminates (fibreglass and formica) rubber gloves, hoses, tyres and sealing rings, fibres for textiles and carpets and so on, cellular products for cushioning and thermal insulation, adhesives and coating materials such as paints and varnishes. The majority of these polymers are synthetic and are derived from oil products. The most important of these in terms of tonnage used are polymers based upon styrene, vinyl chloride, ethylene, propylene and butadiene among plastics and rubber materials, and nylons, polyethylenetere­ phthalate and polyacrylonitrile among fibres. 

CLAIM 5: The use of ethanol in E10 fuel makes it better than normal petrol

E10 OK by Queensland Government.

E10 Fuel for Thought: The facts by New South Wales Government.

Addressing the false statements around ethanol blended fuels by Minnesota Corn Growers Association; June 2019.

The Best Fuel for Tools Doesn’t Come from the Pump by Jeremy Chartier, Countryside & Small Stock Journal; May/June 2019, Volume 103, Issue 3, p. 22          PDF

The biofuel delusion by Michael Le Page, New Scientist; July 2019, Volume 243, Issue 3240, p. 23.

QCAA Samples and Exemplars

The QCAA website has exemplars of the sorts of research assignments you need to produce. First is a Chemistry exemplar, but as well, even though you may not study Physics or Biology, we've added the examples QCAA gives for them, as the requirements are very similar, and they might help you understand what you need to do.

Chemistry Exemplar from QCAA
CLAIM: Natural shampoos are better than synthetic shampoos.
RESEARCH QUESTION: Are natural shampoos better cleaners than synthetic shampoos based on surface tension, wetting time, solid content, detergency and foaming ability?

Physics Exemplar from QCAA
CLAIM: The dream of almost limitless clean energy from nuclear fusion is close to being realised. 
RESEARCH QUESTION: Is the Tokamak Energy nuclear fusion power generation technique able to be considered as clean

Biology Exemplar from QCAA
CLAIM: Human evolution is still occurring.
RESEARCH QUESTION: Is the prevalence of hypolactasia (lactose intolerance) in Finland linked to the practice of domesticating cattle for dairy purposes?

Information about the Chemistry Research Assignment from Pearson Text


The ENTIRE collection of resources provided by the BBC Library can now be searched on ONE single, powerful search platform, which retrieves print books, eBooks, database articles and websites. Click HERE for assistance.

Useful Chemistry Websites








Data Sets

C.R.A.A.P. Test

Check the quality of your websites using these criteria (adapted from QUT Library):

Currency: Timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published, posted or last updated?
  • Is the information current for your topic and field of study? How recent does it have to be? Can older sources work just as well?
Relevance: Importance of the information for your needs
  • Is the information appropriate for a senior secondary course?
  • Is this an adequately in-depth examination or a quick summary of the topic?
  • Who's the intended audience? Is it the general public, a student, a researcher or industry?
  • Is the level of information too basic or too advanced for your needs?

Authority: Source of the information

  • Is the author/authoring body (individual person, or institution, or organisation) established and reputable?
  • Are their qualifications, credentials, expertise, experience, educational background and previous work (if any) relevant and do they add credibility to the source?
  • Has the piece been published by a well-known and respected publisher or organisation?
  • Do references to other sources support the writing ie is a Bibliography or Reference List provided?

Accuracy: Reliability and correctness of the information

  • Where does the information come from, and is it supported by evidence?
  • Does it have a Reference List or Bibliography so you can easily find and verify the sources used?
  • Are there any spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: Reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? Why was it written?
  • Does the point of view appear objective, unbiased and impartial?
  • Is the viewpoint of the author's affiliation/ sponsors reflected in the message or content?
  • Does the author acknowledge alternative versions of the issues or facts?

How to In-Text Reference for Science

How to Develop a Research Question From a Claim

Subscription Science Databases

Subscription Science Journals

Useful General Academic Websites

The world’s largest collection of open access research papers

An inclusive journal community which believes all rigorous science needs to be published and discoverable, widely disseminated and freely accessible to all

A free distribution service and an open archive for scholarly articles in the fields of science

An American website that aggregates press releases and publishes lightly edited press releases about science


Breaks down the stories behind the most interesting news and photos on the Internet.


Google Books can be very frustrating because often much of the book is missing and you are expected to purchase it to read the full content. So after you put in your search term you are interested in (eg biodiesel), and get some results up,  you should then go immediately to the search box (on the left - above 'About this box') undefined and type in a particular word or term you are interested in (eg CO2 emissions OR methanol) you should get a number of pages pop up. Choose one that looks useful - you should get some good results this way!

Advnced Web Searching Tips

1. Use 'Ctrl F' (Control + Find) to search for particular terms easily in a long document, whether from a website or a database article.

2. Use a Google command to limit results to a CERTAIN DOMAIN

  • 'edu'  - for educational sites from universities and schools:
    eg  biodiesel site:edu
  • 'gov' - for government sites:

             eg ethanol site:gov

3.  To check the authority of a website when it is not clear who the author / authority is, go to the end of the URL in the Google search box, cut back to the first forward slash (/) and hit 'Enter'. This will take you to the Home Page of the website, and you can see the full name of the source.

4. Use a Google command to limit results to the MOST RECENT: After you get your results, choose the Google Menu Bar, and choose 'Tools'. Then on the far left, at the drop-down menu next to 'Any Time', you can choose 'Within the last year' (or less, if you prefer), but generally, you can choose 'Custom Range' at the bottom, as often the last 3 years would be sufficient for a recent search.

The Science Research Assignment: Some Hints

Zotero Online Referencing Tool

Zotero can be set to the same Harvard AGPS (Australia) style that CiteAce uses, called 'Melbourne Polytechnic - Harvard'. Please read the instructions carefully.

Any issues - see your Library Staff