Making Acid Rain (INDOORS) – Periodic Table of Videos

published on July 9, 2020

Today we're going to show you acid rainthis used to be a huge environmentalproblem we're going to demonstrate it toyou in the lab and we're going to do itwith a piece of kit which I inheritedfrom my late friend David Joneswe got the kit but not the instructions

But Neal worked out how to use it theproblem of acid rain is that in the1960s 1970s people were burning fuelparticularly cold that contained a lotof sulfur they were burning it in theirhomes in power stations and even at one

Time in trains in railway locomotivesand when those sulfur containing coalburns it generates so2 which is a gasand sometimes so3 which is a solid butit's generated as fine particles in theair and then when it rains these gas so2

And so3 dissolve in the water to giveeither self euros or sulfuric acid acidrain has caused huge environmentalproblems particularly killing forestsbecause trees like pine trees and so onnormally do not grow on very acid soil

And we're talking about really quiteacidic rain on the east coast of theUnited States some of the acid rain hadan acidity a pH between that of lemonjuice and battery acid so the experimentconsists of a large container in which

You can burn sulfurto generate the so2 to so3 it then has avessel on top in which you can put waterin and the water is sprayed out of someglass arms so you get rain going intothe gas the problem is of course you

Can't see whether the water has becomeacidic if you just use plain water soyou have to put in indicatorhe added a tiny bit of potassiumhydroxide which made it nice blue colorand if he gives acidic to to turn gray

Run number one Neal was unduly modestput in just a little bit of sulfurwasn't enoughit rained but no acid so next timeNeil let himself go and put in a largeamount of sulfur

He burnt well in fact it caused foginside the container that's ratherinteresting because when people burntcoal with sulfur in it we used to getterrible smaug's people couldn't seetheir feet when they were bicycling

Because the smoke was so thickthe experiment then worked really nicelyyou could see the water going downforming raindrops and as the drops fellthey went from blue to redBrady was quite courageous he put his

Camera in the wateryou can see the raindrops coming downand eventually it was drown but don'tworrywas okaywe really like the demonstration and I

Think the important thing to know aboutacid rain is that it was a hugeenvironmental problem but it is onewhich chemists and engineers havesucceeded in more or less solvingdomestic fires these are heating in

Houses now uses coal which has had thesulphur removed and in large powerstations they take the flue gas thatcomes out of the boilers and de sulfureyes it usually by reacting it with limethe so2 reacts with the lime to make

Calcium sulfate which is innocuous itcan just be put to landfill nowadaysmost power stations certainly here inthe UK use natural gas methane ratherthan coal so the amount of limestonethat is being used for desulphurization

Is going down for a substantially but ifyou went out for a stroll in thatromantic-looking mist hanging over thetrees around the lake the chances arethat you would be breathing in a diluteform of sulfuric acid acid rain was not

A big issue here in the UK because mostof the so2 was injected quite high inthe atmosphere and blown over tomainland Europe where there's much moreforest than in the UK tall chimneysthrow sulfur Laden exhaust high into the

Air and it had really quite significanteffects and the forests in Germany andnorthern Europe it comes from bothEastern and Western Europe but due tothe prevailing winds maybe around 50percent comes from Great Britain when I

First came to Nottingham on some daysyou could taste the so2 in the airthe removal of the so2has had one quite strange effect thatNottingham was famous for growing rosesand it turned out that the so2 in the

Air was very good at killing the some ofthe mildew and other pests that can growon roses so when the air was cleaned upthe roses started getting all of thesepests and now the rose growing industryaround Nottingham has more or less

Disappeared would you like to learn moreabout rain drops how about the shape ofraindrops our sister channel all aboutphysics sixty symbols has you covered onthat one also thank you to everyone whosupports periodic videos on patreon

You can see those names on the screen atthe moment if you'd like to join themand pick your element go topatreoncom/scishow

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