Acid Rain Essay

1886 words - 8 pages

Acid rain as the name suggests is rain that is acidic, the term isused to describe rain with a pH below 5, before the industrialrevolution rain had a typical pH of 5 to 6 this was before theincrease in air pollution brought about by the burning of fossilfuels, that are burned in factories, vehicles and power stations.The term “acid rain” was first used over a hundred years ago by theBritish chemist Robert Angus Smith. When he realized that the smokefrom human activity could change the acidity of precipitation, despitethis it was not until the 1950’s that concern was raised about theenvironmental effect and even then this situation was allowed tocontinue to rise until ...view middle of the document...

.oxidation of sulphur dioxide results in a stronger acid.SO2+O2àSO3Oxidation produces sulphur trioxide.SO2+H2àH2SO4Sulphur trioxide dissolves in water, forming sulphur acid.H2SO4àH++HSO4Sulphur acid dissociates into H2 and hydrogen sulphur ion, makingacidicCauses of Acid rainIt is mainly since the industrial revolution that the massive increasein air pollution has resulted in increases in acid rain; this islargely due sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in that are found inpollution from industry, coal and oil fired power stations and cars.The effect of smelting metal ore and the increase of airline travelgiving out large amounts of carbon dioxide.The burning of all fossil fuels will result in combustion gasses andother by products such as soot and ash, if these gasses are nottreated but simply vented out into the air, (this is a much cheaperoption and therefore the one that most power stations and industryuse) they will give rise to acid rain because of there high sulphurdioxide and nitrogen oxides content present in them.The gasses will rise and form into it the acid rain clouds, but theproblem will this type of pollution that it may fall as acid rainhundreds or even thousands of kilometres away carried on wind spreadcurrents and jet streams in the high atmosphere. As an example thevast amount of acid rain that falls in Sweden and other northernEuropean countries is caused by pollution created in the UK by heavyindustry and fossil fuel burning power stationsACID RAIN FORMATION & TRANSPORTThere are also natural causes of acid rain such as volcano eruptions,lightning and bacterial action in soils and vegetation, agriculturalactivity has also had a large effect on the level of green house gasin the environment i.e. methane from sheep and cattle.Volcanoes and sea spray are typical natural sources of SO2. Lightningis the most common natural source of NOx. Contributions from naturalsources are generally small compared to those from human activity.Effects of Acid RainThe main effect that acid rain has on humansIs increasing breathing problems sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxidesthat are responsible for acid rain increase problems such as asthmaand coughs. They can also cause headaches irritation (swelling andredness) of the eyes, nose and throat.Acid rain also causes millions of pounds worth of damage to buildingsand structure to the country each year. The damage the acid rain as onthe structures depends mainly on the acidity of the rain, (the moreacidic the greater the damage is caused). Acid rain wears rocks downgradually over long periods of time, this can be devastating, causingbridges to collapse or become so unstable they can not been usedsafely. Acid rain also eats away a statues and houses over a longperiod of time.This effect is mainly destructive to the limestone content of thebuilding, bridge etc. but another effect is the corrosion of metals incars etc.Acid rain has had a devastating effect on the environme...


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