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What is Acid Rain? Free essay! Download now

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What is Acid Rain?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1500 | Submitted: 06-May-2007
Spelling accuracy: N/A | Number of pages: | Filetype: Word .doc


What is Acid Rain?


In order to fully understand the term acidity, it is essential to know something about the pH scale. This scale has a range of 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Anything below 7 (0-6) is known to be acidic and anything above 7 (8-14) is alkaline. A change in only one unit is equal to a tenfold increase in the strength of the acid or base. Therefore a unit change from pH 6 to pH4 is equal to a 10 x 10 increase in it acidity.
Taking the above into consideration, it is easy to see how the normal phenomenon “rain” is becoming more and more acidic as its pH has dropped from around 6and 7 to about 4.3and 5.3.This occurrence is known as Acid
Rain and was first noted in1852 by the English chemist called Robert Angus Smith.
Acid rain in other words is the term used to describe rainfall that has a pH level below5.6. It is a form of air pollution that is currently a theme of huge debate due to its wide spread damages. It is responsible for the destruction of thousands of lakes and streams in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe.

How Acid Rain is formed
The two most important primary sources of acid rain are sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Sulphur is a colourless, pungent gas produce during the combustion of fossil fuels containing sculpture. A variety of industrial processes such as the production of steel and iron and crude oil processing produce this gas. This gas is also emitted into the atmosphere by natural means. Ten percent of the sculpture in the atmosphere comes from volcanoes, sea spray, plankton and decomposing vegetation.
The other gas primarily accountable for the formation of acid rain is nitrogen oxide. The term ‘oxides of nitrogen’ describes any compound of nitrogen with any amount of oxygen atoms.

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