Tom Mooney        10WT – Chemistry Coursework        30/06/2009

What effect does increasing concentrations of Acid Rain have on the rate buildings made of limestone decay/dissolve?

In our experiment we aimed to find out the effect of increasing concentrations of acid rain has on the rate of limestone dissolving. To do this we had to learn a bit of knowledge about acid rain and how it was formed. I learnt the process that results in the formation of acid rain generally begins with emissions into the atmosphere, which consists of gasses like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. These gases are released by automobiles, certain industrial operations (normally smelting and refining) and electrical stations which burn fuels like coal and oil. The gases combine with water vapour in clouds to form sulphuric and nitric acids. When precipitation falls from the clouds it is highly acidic, which normally consists of PH levels from 6 and lower.

This can cause acidification of lakes and streams and contributes to the damage of trees at high elevations as it causes slower growth, injury, or death of forests. In addition, it has a major impact on old buildings which are made of softer and less sturdy materials causing them to erode and finally collapse if the acid rain puts too much strain on them.

To figure out the rate of this process we had to use an equation which told us that the higher concentration of the hydrochloric acid was, the more carbon dioxide was made.

This equation was:

CaCO3 + 2HCl = CaCl2 + H2O + CO2

Before we did the experiment I predicted that when the amount of acid was increased, the rate and amount of Carbon dioxide produced will also increase. If this is true then this will show me that the rate of dissolving limestone increases as well.

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Equipment list

  • Large measuring cylinder ( 500ml)
  • Water bath
  • Delivery tube
  • Hydrochloric acid ( 0.4M – 2M)
  • Small measuring cylinder (50ml)
  • Beaker
  • Thistle tube
  • Bung
  • Marble pebbles
  • Petri dish
  • Scales
  • Spatula
  • Stop clock



Before we started on our first concentration of acid, we did a preliminary test to check that all equipment was working and to see the different effects of certain factors, for example we found using smaller marble chips reacted quicker than larger ones as the acid had more surface area to react with. We also did this test ...

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