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Problem

Desalination is the process of converting saltwater to fresh water. A traditional method is


desalination by evaporation. Seawater is boiled, then the generated steam is collected and
condensed in a separate vessel (just like distillation).

An also possible alternative method is desalination by freezing. Seawater is frozen instead, then
the remaining brine solution is washed off, leaving the ice which is essentially pure water. Then,
this ice is just melted to yield the desalinated water.

(1) Under ordinary conditions (near-ambient temperature and pressure), discuss the
advantages of desalination by freezing in terms of energy requirement, as
compared to desalination by evaporation.

(2) To further improve the efficiency of desalination by freezing, the pressure under
which freezing will be performed can be changed. In this case, which would be a
better choice: a vacuum freezing chamber or a high-pressure freezing chamber?
Justify your answer.

(3) Despite the advantages of desalination by freezing in terms of energy requirement,


it is not as popular as the other methods. What could be the potential difficulties in
carrying out desalination by freezing for large-scale application?
Problem

The specific energy of a fuel is the amount of energy that can be produced from it per unit mass
of the fuel. The table below shows the average specific energies for various fuels. Roughly, the
specific energies below correspond to the energy that can be harnessed from the combustion
of 1 kg of fuel. Note: for combustion of H2 gas, the product is H2O

Fuel Specific energy, 106 J kg1


Wood 16
Coal 30
Oil/natural gas 50
Ethanol 26
Hydrogen gas 142

1 In general, more efficient fuels have higher specific energies. Account for the
differences in the specific energies of the fuels above based on their molecular
structures (Hint: CO is stronger than CC ). That is:

wood

oil

(CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2)n

natural gas: CH4

coal

2 Currently, it appears that hydrogen is a strong fuel candidate, alongside nuclear


fuels in terms of energy yield, and environmental impact. Why does hydrogen gas
have higher energy yield and lower environmental impact as compared to the
carbon fuels?

3 Despite these advantages of hydrogen fuel, there are difficulties in dealing with
hydrogen gas. What are these difficulties and how can they be overcome?
Problem

The kidney is key in detoxification. It removes excess and foreign species from the blood,
especially those that may be harmful to the cells, and excretes them through the urine.
However, just before the urine leaves the body, it becomes so concentrated that by virtue of
diffusion, some of the excreted species would want to go back to the kidney and be
reabsorbed. For ions and molecules that are native to the body, there is not much problem
since the kidney somehow already mastered controlling the amount of native species.
However, foreign species like drugs that are not for normal intake may pose a problem as they
may be reabsorbed significantly and might not be excreted (this is just one of the many
concerns in drug clinical trials!).

Interestingly, the kidney cells are selective. While they can easily reabsorb neutral molecules
(since the cell membrane is mostly nonpolar), it will not reabsorb ions significantly. Use this
mechanism to explain why the practices below may potentially work. Show molecular
structures and reactions to better illustrate the explanation!

(1) An overdose of ibuprofen can be alleviated by intake of sodium bicarbonate


solution.

(2) An overdose of methamphetamine can be alleviated by intake of aluminum


chloride solution.

Disclaimer: Consult a physician whether the practices above would really be effective!

Note: For the Lewis structure below, complete the octets using lone pairs, to better visualize the
structure.

ibuprofen methamphetamine
Problem

Consider a hypothetical dimension where atomic structure is different. Over there, the wave
function solutions to the Schrodiner equation are quite different. Each wave function is still
defined by four quantum numbers (n, l, ml, ms). The quantum numbers (n, ms) behave in the
same manner as in the conventional hydrogen atom. However, the quantum number l can only
take values l = 0, 1, 2, 3, n, while the quantum number ml can only take the values ml = 0, +1,
, +(l1), +l. Note that the Pauli exclusion principle, Aufbau principle, and Hunds rule still apply.
Also, orbitals with the same n and l are still degenerate (equal in energy).

(1) Draw what would the periodic table look like in this hypothetical dimension. Draw
the table from Z = 1 to Z = 38.

(2) Instead of an octet rule, what would be the rule of stability for the elements in this
hypothetical dimension?