• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Acid Rain

Extracts from this document...


Acid Rain What Causes Acid Rain? One of the main causes of acid rain is sulfur dioxide. Natural sources, which emit this gas, are Volcanoes, sea spray, rotting vegetation and plankton. However, the burning of fossil fuels, such as Coal and oil, are largely to be blamed for approximately half of the emissions of this gas in the world. When sulfur dioxide reaches the atmosphere, it oxidizes to first form a sulfate ion. It then Becomes sulfuric acid as it joins with hydrogen atoms in the air and falls back down to earth. Oxidation occurs the most in clouds and especially in heavily polluted air where other compounds such as ammonia and ozone help to catalyze the reaction, changing more sulfur dioxide to sulfuric acid. However, not all of the sulphur dioxide is changed to sulfuric acid. In fact, a substantial amount can float up into the atmosphere, move over to another area and return to earth unconverted. In the following pages I will show the effects of acid rain on: � Effect on Trees and Soils � Effect on Lakes and Aquatic Systems � Effect on Materials � Effect on Atmosphere � Effect on Architecture � Effect on Humans Effect on Trees and Soils One of the most serious impacts of acid precipitation is on forests and soils. ...read more.


Subsequently, sulfuric acid in water can affect the fish in the lakes in two ways: directly and indirectly. Sulfuric acid (H2SO4) directly interferes with the fish's ability to take in oxygen, salt and nutrients needed to stay alive. For freshwater fish, maintaining osmoregulation is key in their survival. Osmoregulation is the process of maintaining the delicate balance of salts and minerals in their tissues. Acid molecules in the water cause mucus to form in their gills and this prevents the fish to absorb oxygen as well. If the buildup of mucus increases, the fish would suffocate. In addition, a low pH will throw off the balance of salts in the fish tissue. Salts levels such as the calcium (Ca+2) levels of some fish cannot be maintained due to pH change. This results in poor reproduction - their eggs produced would be damaged; they are either too brittle or too weak. Decreased Ca+2 levels also result in weak spines and deformities. For example, crayfish need Ca+2 to maintain a healthy exoskeleton; low Ca+2 levels would mean a weak exoskeleton. Another type of salt N+ also influences the well-being of the fish. As nitrogen- containing fertilizers are washed off into the lakes, the nitrogen stimulates the growth of algae, which logically would mean and increase in oxygen production, thus benefitting the fish. ...read more.


Limestone and marble turn to a crumbling substance called gypsum upon contact with the acid, which explains the corrosion of buildings and statues. In addition, bridges are corroding at a faster rate, and the railway industry as well as the airplane industry have to expend more money in repairing the Corrosive damage done by acid rain. Not only is this an economically taxing problem caused by acid rain, but also a safety hazard to the General public; as an illustration, in 1967, the bridge over the Ohio River collapsed killing 46 people - the reason? Corrosion due to acid rain. Effects On Humans Among one of the serious side effects of acid pollution on humans is respiratory problems. The SO2 and NO2 emmisions give rise to respiratory problems such as asthma, dry coughs, headaches, eye, nose and throat irritations. An indirect effect of acid precipitation on humans is that the toxic metals dissolved in the water are absorbed in fruits, vegetables and in the tissues of animals. Although these toxic metals do not directly affect the animals, they have serious effects on humans when they are being consumed. For example, mercury that accumulate in the organs and tissues of the animals has been linked with brain damage in children as well as nerve disorders, brain damage and death. Similarly, another metal, Aluminium, present in the organs of the animals, has been associated with kidney problems and recently, was suspected to be related to Alzheimer's disease. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Physical Chemistry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Physical Chemistry essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Atmospheric Pollution

    3 star(s)

    One way, of minimising sulphur dioxide emissions is to react the sulphur dioxide in the power station's flue gas with limestone, eventually forming calcium sulphate. This is known as the limestone process. This involves passing flue gas through ground limestone.

  2. Investigating the Rate of the Reaction between Bromide and Bromate Ions in Acid Solution

    Next, when varying the concentration of bromate ion solution: o o Table 3.1.2 shows the concentrations of bromate ions for each different volume of 0.005M KBrO3 added: Volume KBrO3 added / cm3 Concentration BrO3- solution at this volume / 10-3 mol dm-3 10.0 1.25 8.00 1.00 6.00 0.75 4.00 0.50 2.00 0.25 (Table 3.1.2)

  1. Investigating how concentration affects rate of reaction

    The computer can provide better accuracy than I can as far as drawing the axes and plotting the points is concerned. However, I believe that I can provide more accuracy when drawing the line or curve of best fit.My line of best fit suggests that the reaction, with respect to potassium bromate(V), is first order.

  2. Acid Rain.

    There were various types of apparatus which I included: Goggles Syringe Stop clock Measuring cylinder Spatula Hydrochloric Acid Marble-Powder and Chip Boiling tube Bung Preliminary experiment. Before actually beginning my investigation, I will firstly carry out a preliminary investigation. This will help me to see the improvements that I can make after the experiment.

  1. Acid Rain Investigation

    o Nitric acid could be the main power in acid rain for it is the most corrosive of all the acids which make up acid rain. Calcium carbonate + sulphuric acid = calcium sulphate + water + carbon dioxide CaCO3+H2SO4= CaSO4+ H2O+CO2 This word is equation is not to blame

  2. Outline and examine some uses of different metals through history, including contemporary uses, as ...

    The valance of a substance stays constant as we go down the periodic table of elements. As we progress across a period the valance of the substance increases until it reaches +-4 in-group 4 and then starts to decrease. This is due to the fact the all atoms desire full

  1. Fertilizers and testing for nitrates.

    Organic fertilizer, however, generally has lower nutrient concentrations than inorganicfertilizers. Inorganic Inorganic fertilizer is man-made and typically comes as a powder, pellets, granules or a liquid. Examples of inorganic fertilizers are chemical additives that are designed for plants to directly absorb, such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P)

  2. How does the temperature of water affect the amount of dissolved oxygen it contains?

    Alkaline potassium iodidesodium solution * 3. Sulfuric acid (H2SO4), concentrated * 4. Starch indicator solution 5. Sodium thiosulfate (Na2S2O3 5H2O), 0.025 N * 6. Potassium iodate (KH(IO3)2), 0.025 N *These reagents are poisonous and/or corrosive and should be handled with caution. EQUIPMENT: 1. 7 conical flasks 2.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work