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Acid Rain Essay

1055 words - 4 pages

Acid Rain Acid rain has become an environmental concern within the last decade. The increasing environmental awareness of the poor condition of planet earth has not lessened the concern about acid rain.What is acid rain? Acid rain is rain with pH values of less than 5.6. Acid rain is rain mixed with sulfur. Sulfur is put into the air by sulfuric acid plants. Some of the larger sulfuric acid plants are in Ontario Canada Where dose acid rain come from? There are several factors decide the location of each manufacturing plant. Some of these factors are: 1. Is there ready access to raw materials? 2. Is the location close to major transportation routes? 3. Is there a suitable work force in the area for plant construction and operation? 4. Is there sufficient energy resources readily available? 5. Can the chemical plant can carry out its operation without any unacceptable damage to the environment? The following will explain in greater detail why these factors should be considered.1) Raw Materials: The plant needs to be close to the raw materials that are used in the production of sulfuric acid like sulfur, lead, copper, zinc and sulfides.2) Transportation: A manufacturer must consider transportation routes. The raw materials have to be transported to the plant, and the final product must be transported to the consumer or distributor. Commission proof container are required for the transportation of sulfuric acid while sulfur can be much more easily transported by truck or train.3) Human Resources: For a sulfuric acid plant to operate, a large work force will be required to run the plant. The plant must employ chemists, technicians, administrators, computer operators, and people in sales and marketing.4) Energy: Large amounts of energy will be required. Distance to a plentiful supply of energy is often a determining factor in deciding the plant's location.5) Environmental Concerns: Concerns about the environment must be carefully taken into consideration. The chemical reaction of changing sulfur and other substances to sulfuric acid results in the creation of other substances like sulfur dioxide. This causes acid rain.6) Water Supplies: Another question is the closeness of the location of the plants water supply since large amounts of water will be needed for cooling.Producing Sulfuric Acid Sulfuric acid is produced by two processes-the chamber process and the contact process.The contact process is the current process being used to produce sulfuric acid. In the contact process, a purified dry gas mixture containing 7-10% sulfur dioxide and 11-14% oxygen is passed through a preheater to a steel reactor containing a platinum or vanadium peroxide catalyst. The catalyst promotes the oxidation of sulfur dioxide to trioxide. This then reacts with water to produce sulfuric acid. In practice, sulfur trioxide reacts not with pure water but with recycled sulfuric acid. The reactions are: 2SO2 + O2 > 2SO3 SO3 + H2O > H2SO4 The product of the contact plants...

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