Acid Rain

Essay by tracker0_0 February 2004

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Acid rain is exactly what it suggests- rain that is acidic. The definition of "acid rain" is rain with a pH of below 5.6. Rain becomes acidic because of gases that dissolve in the rain. Approximately 70% of acid rain is a result of dissolved sulfur dioxide (SO2) which forms Sulfuric Acid. The remaining 30% or so comes from various Nitrogen Oxides (mostly NO2 and NO3 which has collectedly adopted the mane Nox). There is also a small percentage of hydrochloric acid that makes up hydrochloric acid as well. The equation is as follows:

Sulfuric acid when it joins with hydrogen atoms in the air:

SO3(g) + H2O(l) = H2SO4(aq)

In the air, the nitrogen ion becomes nitric or nitrous acid:

NO2(g) + H2O(l) = HNO3(aq) + HNO2(aq)

Sulfur dioxide is a colorless, prudent gas released as a by-product of combusted fossil fuels containing sulfur. What causes this is a variety of industrial processes, such as the production of iron and steel, utility factories, and crude oil processing.

In iron and steel production, the smelting of metal sulfate ore produces pure metal. This causes the release of sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide can also be emitted into the atmosphere ny natural disasters or means. This ten percent of all sulfur dioxide emission comes from volcanoes, sea spray, plankton, and rotting vegetation.

The oxides of nitrogen are by-products of firing processes of extreme high temperatures, for example: automobiles, and utility plants; and in chemical industries, for example: fertilizer production, etc. Also, natural processes such as bacterial action in soil, forest fires, volcanic action, and lightning make up five percent of nitrogen oxide emission. Transportation makes up 43 percent, and 32 percent belongs to industrial combustion.

There are a number of things that acid rain effects in our environment. Forests, soil, lakes, streams,