National 5 Chemistry

Chemistry National 5 Data Booklet

If you don't have a copy of this to keep then print this out for your own use :

Here is what you really need to know for National 5 Chemistry - Course Specification -

USEFUL Revision

Past Papers
From the SQA website for National 5 Chemistry

Chemcord books -

National 5 Chemistry Specimen Paper

There are 3 Units in National 5 :

Unit 1 : Chemical Changes and Structures

Unit 2 : Chemistry and Society

Unit 3 : Nature's Chemistry


Unit 1 : Chemical Changes and Structures

Reaction Rates

Increasing surface area leads to increased reaction.
An extreme example here with powdered custard ...


Some Industrial Accidents from incorrect handling /storage of flour, custard etc:

A Fabulous Illustrated Periodic Table that you can Print Out !

A fun cartoon style Periodic Table Song on YouTube 
very funny - watch at least some of it !
Good to know at least the first 20 elements for National 5 plus some of the transition metals which are found in the middle section, such as Iron, Copper, Gold etc.

Photographs of Each Element Periodic Table

This periodic table from RGB Research and Theodore Gray in England has a photograph of each element - click on each one to find out more about it -

BBC Elements Podcasts
Find out about the Elements in these fantastic podcasts from the BBC - they are quite long though at half an hour - but great if you are interested to find out more -

Fun Chemistry BlockBusters Game

This used to be a big favourite TV show when I was young ! And I used to make up Science Blockbuster questions for the children on the last day of school - however here is an even better online Chemistry example. Well done to the people who made this !

This is probably better to try once you've at least got to the end of 3rd Year Chemistry so you've a chance to get some of the answers right ! Try on your own or compete against a friend !

Alkali Metals with Dara O'Briain

A very quick video of some alkali metals:

Alkali Metals with Richard Hammond and Brainiac programme: --

Noble Gases -
making a Neon sign -

Ionic and Covalent Bonding
(Login required)

BBC Bitesize - Ionic and Covalent -

Covalent Bonding

The 10 strongest materials known :

Carbon Dioxide
dry ice - sublimes ie goes straight from solid to gas at -78°C

and Dry Ice for a wedding or party:

Liquid Nitrogen and a Carnation Flower - what happens ?!

Ionic Bonding

Ionic substances have large lattice networks and if they are very large enough they can be seen as crystals such as these:
Artificial Crystal of copper(II) sulfate GLAM MHNL 2016 FL a 26 dessin Quartz, Tibet

Fluorite Crystal From Namibia - this Crystal is made from Calcium Fluoride CaF2 with some impurities adding the colour. The shape though is a reflection of the ionic lattice which makes up this crystal 3192M-fluorite1 Picture by CarlesMillan / CC BY-SA ( A Crystal Cave

And some rock crystals from the Hunterian Museum at University of Glasgow:


Chemical Formulas - from BBC Bitesize - includes using the SVSDF for getting your formula
BBC Bitesize Link

Chemical Formulas, Protons, Atoms etc - quiz to try with answers

Acids and Bases
Further details -

Reaction of Copper Carbonate with Acid - and collecting the gas given off - do you know which gas will be given off ?

Acid / Alkali Neutralisation Calculation - based on a question from National 5 2014 Past Paper 

This is one way to do this calculation - there are other methods you could use to calculate it as well


Copper Chloride Electrolysis

A German video - but you'll get the idea! - see what is happening at each electrode- which one has chlorine gas appearing and which one has copper metal appearing?


Copper Sulphate Electrolysis

A nice, quick electrolysis video showing Copper appearing at the negative electrode and bubbles of oxygen gas appearing at the positive electrode :

Electrochemical Series/Cells/Batteries
(login required)


UNIT 2 Nature's Chemistry

Sugar Cane - production of Glucose - Production of Ethanol

Carbon Chemistry 
Biofuels - BP new developments
...  need to find my old link to this ....


a good summary sheet of what you should know about hydrocarbons from Lesmahagow school :

Hydrocarbons - some online quizzes to try :
(although these are from GCSE, they are mostly the same as what you need at National 5)

An interactive Online Hydrocarbon crossword I have made:

Another Hydrocarbons Crossword !  

Click to expand ! (there is a small mistake in crossword I need to fix ! Sorry !- but you can still try most of it !)

An Oil Refinery Game

Become an Oil Tycoon with this slightly silly game but has a few interesting questions about Carbon chemistry and Hydrocarbons.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Animation 
Really nice animation of a Hydrogen fuel cell - the advantage of these are that the car only gives out water !
Note: Saved as a gif file too _______________________________________________

Unit 3 - Chemistry in Society  -

Plastics / Polymers

Interesting video - including about firefighting

Plastics (National 4 but useful)

Natural and Synthetic polymers
A quiz about plastics

Really good 5 minute video about Bakelite - a really early thermosetting plastic -

Bakelite - the first synthetic plastic - interesting

Ethene to polythene - 2 minute video - first minute or so is good showing polythene appearing
Polythene - 3D molecule online -

Polystyrene - 3D online molecule to spin round

Poly(chloroethene) - Previously called PVC and probably still known as that for PVC pipes
Here is a silly video of an instrument made from PVC pipes ! Nothing stops talent!!

PTFE - Polytetrafluoroethene

Vulcanising rubber - invented by Charles Goodyear, whose name you still see on tyres today, many years later -
Also re rubber:
Rubber molecule in 3D

Some plastics described :

Don't worry about the structure of this at the moment but the monomers that make Nylon are found in each of the two liquids that are mixed here. The nylon itself starts to form at the point where the two liquids join

Reactivity Series of Metals
To find reactivity series of metals if you have forgotten it, you can look at the table of Reductions in the Data Booklet. The reactive metals are towards the top of that table, unreactive ones at the bottom.
  • Reactive metals ie from Potassium down to Aluminium must be extracted from their ore using electricity (see video for Aluminium below)
  • Slightly less reactive metals eg Zinc down to Silver need to be extracted by heat, usually from Carbon burning (see Blast Furnace animation below for extraction of Iron)
  • And Gold is unreactive and can be found unreacted eg lumps of gold can be found in rivers or in rocks. This is why gold is valuable for jewellery !

Extraction of metals 
Iron - Blast Furnace extraction

Also steel is used in the Forth Bridge and Forth Road Bridge.
This website is great for more information about these bridges:

Burning of magnesium in Oxygen:

The Combustion of Iron Wool - clever experiment - Redox and clever video with balance to view the mass....
Watch the reactions of Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Copper with Water and Acid and see if you can then place them in order of reactivity -   - and for a bit of excitement ! here is Sodium metal reacting with Hydrochloric acid ! 

Magnesium reacting with HCl and the "Pop Test" for Hydrogen gas

Blast Furnace Explanation - Animation - Iron

Aluminium Extraction
An excellent video from the Royal Society of Chemistry showing an Aluminium plant in Wales and how the aluminium is extracted - how much aluminium do you think they make each day here ?!?

A list of some common alloys at bottom of page here :

Alloy wheels
Cars may have alloy wheels - these are lighter than steel wheels.
Alloy wheels - made from an alloy of aluminium + small quantities of various other metals

An alloy is used as aluminium on its own is not particularly strong so some other metals are mixed with it.

Here is a video showing alloy wheels being made!

Recycling Aluminium
Some facts and an interesting short video from the Discover Channel about Recycling Aluminium and explaining why its good for the environment :
and all sorts of interesting facts about recycling listed here:
aluminium recycling facts :

Lead Extraction
This is interesting (and perhaps a bit dangerous too !!) but shows how they got lead in Tudor times to make stained glass and roofs for a Tudor Monastery.
Unfortunately the link is no longer active - so you may have to borrow or buy the DVD - I think its Series 1 Episode 4 ....
If you don't want to watch the whole hour, the lead extraction bits are at the following times :
1.33 - 4.09
6.30 - 10.00
11.57 - 15.54
17.49 - 20.50
23.33 - 27.27
(and then it carries on for a few minutes after that to show it being used to make a stained glass so you might find that of interest too)

Mercury Extraction - heat alone

There can be a human cost in the extraction and mining of metals - eg children are involved in mining and if its mercury that is involved, it is poisonous.
To find out more :

Haber Process
Nice little quiz here on Haber Process from Ewart

Ammonia is used to make Nitrogen Dioxide in the Ostwald Process
You just need to know the starting materials and the end product of this reaction.
Nitric acid is used to make fertilisers like Ammonium Nitrate



"Seeing" Alpha particles
Alpha particles are smaller than we can see with our eyes, but its possible to see the tracks of them in a "cloud chamber". In fact you can see a Cloud Chamber at Glasgow Science Centre where they have an excellent radiation exhibit.
In this video you can see alpha particles from Americium 241 in a cloud chamber - watch until the end and explain what you see happening -

Half Life Graph
I very much like the way the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission have drawn the half life decay graph here:


Here is a photograph of a Technetium 99 generator for medical scanning.

In this photograph you can see a Generator, a Technetium-99m ampoule and lead flask on loan to the Hunterian Museum from the radionuclide dispensary at the Western Infirmary.

Technetium -99m is the most widely used isotope for medical scanning. It has a very short half life of only 6 hours, and must be created as needed. This also means it quickly disappears from the patient's body. This generator houses a radioactive isotope of molybdenum, immersed in saline solution. This decays continuously to technetium-99m, which passes into the solution, ready for medical use. The molybdenum has to be replaced weekly, as it also has a short half-life, of only 2.7 days, and is obtained from special nuclear reactors optimized for radioisotope production.

Carbon Dating This Wikipedia page shows both the equation for the creation of Carbon 14 and the equation for its decay - both are involved in Carbon dating.Carbon 14 link

Interesting BBC link to information about Technetium being used for bone scans and also how other radionuclides are used in Medicine :

Page 5 here of BBC Bitesize with a video about carbon dating and more info on page 6:

The Carpow Longboat

Nuclear Fission and Fusion - for interest - though not in Nat 5 chemistry course Link about Fusion and Fission

Chemical Analysis

Nice video from Fuse School about collecting gases


I 'm Jen Wilson and I tutor  Chemistry, Biology and Human Biology  at Higher and Advanced Higher  in Scotland.    Tutoring Subjects ...