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Air Pollution

Covers Combustion, Acid Rain, Smog, Ozone

Steve Vree

on 10 February 2014

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Transcript of Air Pollution

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
Air Pollution
Fossil Fuel Combustion & Pollution
Fossil Fuels: coal, oil, natural gas
aka - hydrocarbons (CxHx)
CxHx + O2 --> CO2 + H2O + heat
Incomplete Combustion Products
doesn’t fully burn
methane, benzene, carbon monoxide
Fossil Fuel Impurities
Sulfur Oxides (coal - power plants - acid rain)
Nitrogen Oxides (petroleum - autos - acid rain / smog)
Acid Rain Consequences
impair lung functions
affect hearth & liver
corrosion of metal & rock
U.S. billions of damage / year
waterways pH
fish populations (trout)
Depletion of the Ozone Layer
Ozone formation
in stratosphere sun breaks up O2 --> O + O
O + O2 --> O3 (ozone)
Ozone in stratosphere absorbs harmful UV radiation
protects from skin cancer
inhibits plants growth
harms living tissue
Ozone hole over Antartica spreading
caused by CFC’s
banned in 1996
Hole is growing still, but should eventually decrease if nothing changes.
will likely never be the same
forms from automobile exhaust --> NO2 + O2 + sunlight --> ozone + auto exhaust --> smog
ozone in troposphere
impairs lung function
increased heart disease
slow plant growth
Efforts are showing reductions in areas, but still a major problem in many large U.S. cities
Air Pollution
Air Pollution: occurs when materials enter the air and damage its quality
common sources of pollution
power plants
common pollutants
nitrogen oxides
carbon monoxide
hydrocarbons (ex. benzene)
sulfur oxides
Clean Air Act has had a major impact at improving air quality in the U.S.
Acid Rain
Sufur oxides & Nitrogen dissolve in rain water to make acid rain
SO3 + H2O --> H2SO4 (sulfuric acid)
NO2 + H2O --> HNO3 (nitric acid)
pH Scale
0-14 - 7 is neutral
0-7 = acid
rain is naturally slightly acidic due to CO2 (pH 5.7)
Acid Rain - below pH 5
7-14 = base
Full transcript