New
New
Year 10
OCR
Foundation

Graphene and fullerenes

I can describe the properties of graphene and fullerenes, relating them back to their structures.

New
New
Year 10
OCR
Foundation

Graphene and fullerenes

I can describe the properties of graphene and fullerenes, relating them back to their structures.

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Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. Graphene is a single layer of graphite, is very strong and conducts electricity.
  2. Fullerenes are molecules of carbon with hollow shapes.
  3. The structure of fullerenes is based on hexagonal rings of carbon atoms, or on carbon rings of five or seven atoms.
  4. A Buckminsterfullerene is a spherical fullerene of sixty carbon atoms (C₆₀).
  5. A carbon nanotube is a tube of graphene that is very long compared to its diameter and has a high tensile strength.

Common misconception

Students may think all carbon allotropes have giant covalent structures due to strong covalent bonds.

Emphasise that fullerenes and nanotubes, unlike graphene and diamond, have discrete molecular structures.

Keywords

  • Allotrope - A different structural form of an element, e.g. graphite and diamond are allotropes of carbon.

  • Graphene - An allotrope of carbon consisting of a sheet that is one-atom-thick. Each atom is covalently bonded to three others arranged in hexagonal rings.

  • Fullerene - A molecular allotrope of carbon. Each atom is covalently bonded to three others, forming nanoparticles with hollow spheres or tubes.

  • Buckminsterfullerene - A spherical fullerene composed of 60 carbon atoms (held together by covalent bonds). It is a very stable structure.

  • Nanotube - A cylindrical fullerene, essentially a tube of graphene. A nanoparticle known for its strength and electrical conductivity.

Highlight structural diagrams showing discrete molecules for fullerenes and the tubular shapes of nanotubes compared to the giant structure of graphene. Use physical models to demonstrate the structure and bonding differences between allotropes.
Teacher tip

Licence

This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).

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6 Questions

Q1.
What does the term 'allotrope' mean in chemistry?
a type of chemical reaction
Correct answer: a different physical form in which an element can exist
a compound formed from two or more elements
a mixture of two substances
Q2.
Match the carbon allotrope to its primary use.
Correct Answer:diamond,cutting tools

cutting tools

Correct Answer:graphite,lubricant

lubricant

Correct Answer:coal,fuel

fuel

Q3.
Which statement correctly describes the bonding in graphite?
Each atom forms four single bonds with other atoms.
Each atom forms double bonds with three other atoms.
Correct answer: Each atom forms three single bonds with other atoms and has one free electron.
Each carbon atom is bonded to four other atoms in a layered hexagonal structure.
Q4.
Graphite is used as a lubricant because it is ...
oily and wet.
hard and durable.
Correct answer: soft and slippery.
sticky and thick.
Q5.
Why does graphite conduct electricity?
it has free moving ions
each carbon atom donates multiple electrons to a 'sea of electrons'
it contains metallic bonds
Correct answer: one electron from each carbon atom is delocalised across the structure
Q6.
Graphite exists as a layered structure of hexagonal rings of carbon atoms, each bonded to three other atoms. Between the layers there are weak holding them together.
Correct answer: forces of attraction
intermolecular forces
covalent bonds
ionic bonds
metallic bonds

6 Questions

Q1.
What is graphene?
a spherical fullerene
Correct answer: a single layer of graphite
a type of diamond
a nanotube
Q2.
Which property is not associated with graphene?
high electrical conductivity
Correct answer: simple molecular structure
high strength
flexible
Q3.
Match the following terms with their correct descriptions.
Correct Answer:buckminsterfullerene,spherical fullerene composed of 60 carbon atoms

spherical fullerene composed of 60 carbon atoms

Correct Answer:allotrope,different structural form of an element

different structural form of an element

Correct Answer:nanotube,cylindrical fullerene known for its strength and conductivity

cylindrical fullerene known for its strength and conductivity

Correct Answer:graphene,single layer of graphite

single layer of graphite

Correct Answer:fullerene,molecular allotrope of carbon forming nanoparticles with hollow shapes

molecular allotrope of carbon forming nanoparticles with hollow shapes

Q4.
All carbon allotropes are giant covalent substances.
True
Correct answer: False
Q5.
Arrange the following carbon allotropes in order of their tensile strength, from weakest to strongest.
1 - spherical fullerenes
2 - nanotubes
3 - graphene
Q6.
A Buckminsterfullerene is a spherical fullerene of carbon atoms.
Correct Answer: 60, sixty