Acidic Oxides: Environmental Peril?

Essay by stasia_teeHigh School, 10th gradeA-, March 2006

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As if the industrial industry isn't already causing enough problems-such as the greenhouse effect; there are also many other effects on our world caused by acidic oxides, which are a by-product of industrial industries. The effects that this by-product can cause are tremendous, and it comes in 2 forms: wet and dry, which can both be referred to as acid deposition.

The 2 forms of acidic oxide which form acid rain are called sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx). The way these acids and compounds are formed, is by when they react with natural substances, along with water, sunlight (which increases the rate of most of the reactions) and oxygen. The chemical names for the result of these reactions are called sulfuric acid, and nitric acid.

The chemical equation of how sulfur dioxide is turned into sulfuric acid is:

The chemical equation of how nitrogen oxide is turned into nitric acid is:

The effect that these 2 acids have on the environment, start with the change of pH of natural rain, with the pH of around 5.6;

to the pH of acid rain which can cause it to decrease to even the pH of 2. This un-balances the ecological system, and one of the effects is the increase of the acidity in lakes which can destroy living organisms which depend on it. Acid rain also can decrease the amount of nutrients which are found in soil, which can completely damage plant life, as plants need nutrients from the soil to grow.

Another effect of acid rain on the environment is smog. Sulphur Dioxide creates most of the air pollution, which is let out by the combustion of cars, and factories. In the most polluted city in the world, Mexico City, the smog is so great, that it is like...