acid rain


Scientists have discovered that air
pollution from burning of fossil fuels
is the major cause of acid rain. The
main chemicals in air pollution that
create acid rain are sulfur dioxide
(SO2) and nitrogen (NOx). Acid rain
usually forms high in the clouds
where sulfur dioxide and nitrogen
oxides react with water, oxygen, and
oxidants. this mixture forms a mild
solution of sulfuric acid and nitric
acid. Sunlight increases the rate of
most of these reactions. Rainwater,
snow, fog, and other forms of
precipitation containing those mild
solutions of sulfuric and nitric acids
fall to earth as acid rain. Acid rain
does not account for all of the acidic
particles and gases onto buildings,
cars, home, and trees. In some
instances, these gases and particles
can eat away the things on which
they settle. dry deposited gases and
particles are sometimes washed from
trees and other surfaces by
rainstorms. When that happens, the
runoff water adds those acids to the
acid rain, making the combintion
more acidic that the falling rain
alone. the combination of acid rain
plus dry depostied acid is called acid
deposition.
The following are the stoichiometric
equations for the formation of
sulphuric acid
Burning of fossil fuels emits sulphur
dioxide.
S (in coal) + O2 SO2
Sulphur dioxide reaches the
atmosphere, it oxidizes to first form a
sulphate ion.
2 SO2 + O2 2 SO3
The sulphate ion joins with hydrigen
atoms in the air and becomes
sulphuric acid. This then falls back
down to earth as “acid rain”
SO3 + H2O H2SO4
Oxidation occurs mostly in clouds,
especially in heavily polluted air,
where other compounds such as
ammonia and ozone help to catalyze
the reaction, converting more sulphur
dioxide to sulphuric acid
www2.gsu.edu/~mstnrhx/EnviroBio%20Projects/AcidRain/causes.html

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