Acid PrecipitationClick HereClick Herehttp://nadp.sws.uiuc.edu/amaps2/
Formation of Sulfuric AcidKelter, Carr, Scott, Chemistry A World of Choices 1999, page 302SO2(g) + H2O(l) H2SO3(aq)2SO2(g) + O2(g) 2SO3(g)SO3(g) + H2O(l) H2SO4(aq)SO2(g) + H2O2(l) H2SO4(aq)
Figure courtesy of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, Champaign, Ill.The progressively darker red areas on the map indicate the lowest pH levels and areas most prone to problems from acid rain. Hydrogen ion concentration as pH from measurementsmade at the field laboratories during 2003
Acid Rain Smoke stacks pollute SO2into the atmosphere. Thiscombines with water to formacid rain.Estimated sulfate ion deposition, 1999
Nitrate Ion Concentrations1985-20031985
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Nitrate Ion Concentrations1985-20032000
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Sulfate Ion Concentrations1985-20031985
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Coal Burning Power PlantCopyright 2007 Pearson Benjamin Cummings. All rights reserved.
Statewide Coal-Fired Power Plants
Coal Burning Power Plant
Copyright 2007 Pearson Benjamin Cummings. All rights reserved.
CO2 (g)H2O (l)H2CO3 (aq)Carbon dioxideCarbonic acidWater Weak acidCopyright 2007 Pearson Benjamin Cummings. All rights reserved.
Carbon dioxideWaterCarbonic Acid
Carbonic AcidCopyright 2007 Pearson Benjamin Cummings. All rights reserved.
Click on the SO2 and NOx letters to view a map of the United States and the levels of these pollutants.
Acid rain is rainfall whose pH is less than 5.6 due to dissolved carbon dioxide, which reacts with water to give the weak acid carbonic acid.
Source of the increased acidity in rain due to the presence of large quantities of sulfate (SO42-) and nitrate (NO3-) ions, which come from nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide produced both by natural processes and by the combustion of fossil fuels
These oxides react with oxygen and water to give nitric acid and sulfuric acid.
Damage caused by acid rain 1. Dissolves marble and limestone surfaces due to a classic acid-base reaction 2. Accelerates the corrosion of metal objects 3. Decreases the pH of natural waters 4. Biological effects
Coal-fired units produce electricity by burning coal in a boiler to heat water to produce steam. The steam, at tremendous pressure, flows into a turbine, which spins a generator to produce electricity. The steam is cooled, condensed back into water, and returned to the boiler to start the process over.