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The aim of this experiment is to examine the effect of different variables - pH-value, material and its mass - on how acid rain effects buildings and sculptures made of marble and limestone

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Maximilian Ziegler Candidate number 000-495-022 3IB Investigating the effect of acid rain on building materials Planning (a) Problem The aim of this experiment is to examine the effect of different variables - pH-value, material and its mass - on how acid rain effects buildings and sculptures made of marble and limestone. Hypothesis The lower the pH of sulphuric acid used, the more of the building material will be dissolved. When the same pH of sulphuric acid is used for the same material, the initial mass will play a role. The more it weighs in the beginning, the more weight it will lose. I also assume that the pH-value will increase as marble/concrete should react like base with the sulphuric acid. Possible Variables - pH-value - Materials - Size/mass of the material used Planning (b) Apparatus/ Materials - 4 little pieces of marble (CaCO3) - 1 little piece of concrete - Sulphuric acid (H2SO4) - Several test tubes with corks - Ph-meter - Beakers - Oven - Balance - tweezers Procedure First of all, we have to prepare the different pH-values which we will use for this experiment. We do this by adding concentrated sulphuric acid into 5 different beakers and dilute it by adding water, whilst measuring the pH at all time to get the pH-values we decided to use for this experiment. ...read more.


Material Initial pH-Value Terminal pH-value Total increase of pH-value Marble 1 4,02 8,05 4,03 Marble 2 5,0 7,86 2.86 Marble 3 3,09 7,29 4,2 Marble 4 5,0 7,96 2,96 Concrete 1 5,0 11,89 6,89 Data Processing It is quite difficult to interpret what role the pH-level played in this experiment. If one, for example, looks at marble 2 and marble 4, one can see that both had an initial pH-level of 5,0. However, marble 2 shows the least weight lost during 1 week, whilst marble 4 displays the biggest loss of weight. This pretty much automatically leads to looking at their initial weight. As we compare them, we can see that there is "only" a difference of 0,063g between the pieces of marble and almost no difference at all between the initial weights of the test tubes containing the marble pieces and the sulphuric acid. The difference of the increase of the pH-level - 0,1 - is not "too high" either. Concrete showed an enormous change in pH-value. Starting of with an initial pH-value of 5,0 it ended with a terminal pH-value of 11,89. That gives a difference of 6,89. However, the total weight loss (0,042g) only ranks in the middle, if one compares it to the other weight losses of marble. If one compares the data collected throughout the experiment, it is hard to tell how the pH-Value or the different materials affected the results/outcomes. ...read more.


However, it did not really make sense how each variable affected the outcome, because they might influenced the result in one case totally differently in compared to another. I assume that doing this experiment once more might have a totally different result, and probably more of the statements in hypothesis would be true, because they seem to make sense. Even though, the result seems like a failure, due to inaccuracies like the concrete weighing more after 3 days than to beginning of the experiment, or the fact that a general result is lacking, there might be a improvement if one would watch the results over a longer period of time. Nevertheless, this experiment and its outcomes are rather disappointing. Only the fact that we can say, with a very high certainty, that all the materials used, reacted as a base is a little ray of hope. Suggestions of improvement: - investigate the effect of acid rain on building materials over a longer period of time - use more materials, and equal tests on each kind of material (that includes using several pH-values, and different initial weights) - record the shape/surface of the used material in the beginning and the end of the experiment - choose more parameters which might have an impact on the material - measure the amount of acid used 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_rain ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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