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Environmental sciences science fair project:
Why does acid rain destroy buildings and pavements?




Science Fair Project Information
Title: Why does acid rain destroy buildings and pavements?
Subject: Environmental Sciences
Grade level: Elementary School - Grades 4-6
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Awards: 1st place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (2005)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (VSF)
Year: 2005
Description: Similar pieces of brick and concrete were immersed into water with different concentration of sulfuric acid (this will represent acid rain) for 10 days; observations were recorded; for pH measurements pH paper was used.
Link: http://www.odec.ca/projects/2005/fern5r0/public_html/
Short Background

Acid rain is rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic. It has harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Acid rain is mostly caused by human emissions of sulfur and nitrogen compounds which react in the atmosphere to produce acids. In recent years, many governments have introduced laws to reduce these emissions.

Acid rain has been shown to have adverse impacts on forests, freshwaters and soils, killing insect and aquatic life-forms as well as causing damage to buildings and having impacts on human health.

Acid rain can also cause damage to certain building materials and historical monuments. This results when the sulfuric acid in the rain chemically reacts with the calcium compounds in the stones (limestone, sandstone, marble and granite) to create gypsum, which then flakes off.

This result is also commonly seen on old gravestones where the acid rain can cause the inscription to become completely illegible. Acid rain also causes an increased rate of oxidation for iron. Visibility is also reduced by sulfate and nitrate aerosols and particles in the atmosphere.

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)

For More Information: Acid Rain: K-12 Experiments & Background Information

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