• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9

Acid Rain

Extracts from this document...


Chemistry Assignment Acid Rain Introduction Acid rain as the name suggests is rain that is acidic, the term is used to describe rain with a pH below 5, before the industrial revolution rain had a typical pH of 5 to 6 this was before the increase in air pollution brought about by the burning of fossil fuels, that are burned in factories, vehicles and power stations. The term "acid rain" was first used over a hundred years ago by the British chemist Robert Angus Smith. When he realized that the smoke from human activity could change the acidity of precipitation, despite this it was not until the 1950's that concern was raised about the environmental effect and even then this situation was allowed to continue to rise until it reached crisis proportions in the late 1970's The only forms of air pollution were caused by geological events for example volcano eruptions, lightning and bacterial action in soils etc. The increase of certain gasses in the air, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, methane, halocarbons and nitrogen oxides being the main ones, leads to them being absorbed into it the water vapour that is present in the atmosphere at high altitudes this reaction is increased by the energy from sun light, As the sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides react with the water vapour, oxygen and other oxidants a mild solution of sulphuric acid and nitric acid are formed. ...read more.


This effect is mainly destructive to the limestone content of the building, bridge etc. but another effect is the corrosion of metals in cars etc. Acid rain has had a devastating effect on the environment, because it only takes a small increase in the pH of rain water to harm plants and animals that live near areas such as rivers and lakes, This acidic rain can damage plants and trees in several ways, in high concentrations the leaves an the trees and plants are destroyed by the rain simply falling on them, this prolonged defoliation will starve the tree of food and kill it. The rain will also fall onto the soil washing out ions such as magnesium and calcium this depletion of minerals that are available to the plants and tree will also kill them. As the plants and trees that are most susceptible to acid rain are killed off they leave the remaining ones vulnerable because of soil erosion that is caused by the destruction of foliage. Animals such as birds and fish that live on or in the rivers and lakes are killed as the water becomes more acidic and toxic metals such as aluminium and mercury are washed out of the chemical compounds in the soils and into the river and lake water. An example of this can be found in Sweden where almost 10,000 lakes are contaminated with levels of mercury that are so high that people are advised not to eat any fish that are caught in them. ...read more.


This carbon store that has taken millions to form is now being burned as fuel and the carbon it converted into energy and carbon dioxide. This results in massive amounts of new greenhouse gasses being formed faster then the earth's environment can reduce them by photosynthesis in plants and trees etc. My conclusion is that there must be an immediate reduction in the emission greenhouse gasses, gasses that form acid rain and CFC's. The best approach is to reduce the gasses by the conservation of energy but where this is not practical there are many alternatives, for example fitting a catalytic converter to a car will reduce its nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 90% (this will unfortunately also increase the carbon dioxide) Sulphur dioxide may be reduced from power station etc. by adding chemicals to it during combustion, (limestone) it can be further reduced by treating the combustion gasses with a spray mixture of water and limestone, this does form a saleable by product (gypsum), used in plaster and other building materials. It is also important to use new technologies that are more energy efficient these include compact fluorescent lamps that can reduce energy consumption by up to 75% compared with traditional incandescent lamps, electrical powered cars, and high levels of thermal insulation in buildings, combined with the increase in renewable energy from wind, wave and solar power. This will reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Aqueous 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 GCSE Aqueous Chemistry essays

  1. Investigating the effects of varying pH levels on the germination of cress seeds

    As the distribution was random, this could have easily contributed to the fairness of the experiment, as some seeds may have been in a better position than others in terms of access to the solution, as well as light availability.

  2. Acid Rain

    As Australia is sparsely populated, its cities are far apart and it has no neighbors, the readings are not very high. In areas where there are smelters and power stations however, the problem of acid rain is far greater. The major effects are on forests and rivers and lakes, where

  1. The effect of Acid Rain on Seed Germination.

    Water - most seeds contain approximately 5 - 20% water and therefore they must take up water to resume metabolic activity. The enzymes inside the seed become activated when water is absorbed and these enzymes then begin to digest the stored food inside the seed.

  2. Investigate how the amount of heat produced by burning a fuel depends on the ...

    the water, once again ensuring that the reading is taken from the centre of the can. * Reweigh the crucible and the unburnt ethanol, if any, using the pair of tongs to lift the hot crucible. Record the reading obtained.

  1. To investigate the effects of acid rain on statues

    All glassware should be handled carefully to ensure no breakages. If any breakage occurs, it should be cleaned and cleared away to avoid any risk of injury. Wash my hands after the practical work. Fair Test My controlled variables in this experiment are the concentration of the acid and the

  2. Formation and Effects of Acid Rain.

    Basically acid rain is the creation of human activity but in the past our ancestors would have produced near to nothing in terms of how much sulphur and nitrogen emissions they produced. People living in the Amazon rainforest do not produce any emissions.

  1. Acid rain in Europe

    Lakes are also damaged by acid rain. Fish die off, and that removes the main source of food for birds.

  2. Acid Rain.

    A social problem is when people breathe in smog; acid rain in one of its many forms, Acid rain can also harm people indirectly. This happens when people eat fish caught in affected lakes, or rivers. Also, if the water source is acidic enough, it will react with copper or lead pipes to harm humans.

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