Acidity itself is determined based on the pH level of the water droplets. PH is the scale measuring the amount of acid in the water and liquid. The ranges from 0 to 14 with a lower pH being more acidic while a high pH is alkaline; seven is neutral. Normal rain water is slightly acidic and has a pH range of 5.3-6.0. Acid deposition is anything below that range. It is also important to note that the pH scale is logarithmic and each whole number on the scale represents a 10-fold change.
When these gases are discharged into the atmosphere, they react with the water, oxygen, and other gases already present there to form sulfuric acid, ammonium nitrate, and nitric acid. These acids then disperse over large areas because of wind patterns and fall back to the ground as acid rain or other forms of precipitation.
Sources of Acid Rain
Acid rain is caused by a chemical reaction that begins when like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are released into the air. These substances can rise very high into the atmosphere, where they mix and react with water, oxygen, and other chemicals to form more , known as acid rain. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides dissolve very easily in water and can be carried very far by the wind. As a result, the two compounds can travel long distances where they become part of the rain, sleet, snow, and fog that we experience on certain days.
As acid rain falls on trees, it can make them lose their leaves, damage their bark, and stunt their growth. By damaging these parts of the tree, it makes them vulnerable to disease, extreme weather, and insects. Acid falling on a forest’s soil is also harmful because it disrupts soil nutrients, kills microorganisms in the soil, and can sometimes cause a calcium deficiency. Trees at high altitudes are also susceptible to problems induced by acidic cloud cover as the moisture in the clouds blankets them.
Damage to forests by acid rain is seen all over the world, but the most advanced cases are in Eastern Europe. It’s estimated that in Germany and Poland, half of the forests are damaged, while 30% in Switzerland have been affected.
Plausible scenarios for the origin of life entail the robust prebiotic synthesis of informational polymers by condensation of simple chemical precursors (Saladino and Di Mauro, 2005). Among the chemical precursors taken into consideration, two related compounds, hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and formamide (NH2COH, 1), were matter of thorough analyses (Saladino and Di Mauro, 2004; Saladino and Di Mauro, 2006; Saladino and Di Mauro, 2007). The attention for these two compounds is mainly due to their ability to synthesize nucleic bases and amino acids under experimental conditions relatively mild and coherent with those existing on the primitive Earth. Noteworthy, formamide is the only chemical precursor able to synthesize at the same time, in addition to some amino acid derivatives, both purine and pyrimidine nucleic bases (Ciciriello, Saladino and Di Mauro, 2007; Costanzo, Saladino and Di Mauro, 2007; Ciciriello, Saladino and Di Mauro, 2008). Here we show, in agreement with the seminal hypotheses of Bernal (Bernal, 1951) and Cairns-Smith Cairns-Smith 1992), that the prebiotic chemistry of formamide is finely tuned by the presence of different metal oxides and minerals in the reaction mixture, thus modelling the microenvironment of the primitive Earth. These compounds can act as catalysts for condensation processes, enhancing the concentration of the reactant and preserving newly formed biomolecules from chemical and photochemical degradation. Moreover, the elemental composition of the minerals used as catalysts plays a major role in the selectivity of the syntheses of nucleic bases catalyzing the in situ decomposition of formamide to other chemicals potentially useful for the construction of both purine and pyrimidine scaffolds. Taken together, these procedures suggest novel scenarios for the molecular evolution of life on the primitive Earth and may provide a chemical clue to the evaluation of the plausible emergence of extraterrestrial forms of life.
WARNING: Before you get too carried away with this experiment, you should be aware that one of the chemicals involved is malonic acid. This is not too hard to get but you need to plan ahead. I bought some through Labtek (Australia) but it took almost 4 weeks. The one I got was Ajax 'Unilab' brand, code 305-100G, $63.80 for a 100 g bottle. Griffith University would have helped as part of their outreach program to schools out but they would have to order it in too. I know of three girls at Palm Beach Currumbin State High School (hello to Jissa, Momoka and Niki) on the Gold Coast, Queensland, who started to do this EEI but ran into time constraints. They told me that they found a website "that may supply future students with a kit, inclusive of malonic acid, that will allow for them to do the BR reaction: ."
A decision has to be made about the amount of each product to use to get some sort of equivalent mass of yeast for comparison (and how this is arrived at; is there any indication of the % composition of the two products). Do the yeasts each have an optimum pH and if so what pH will be chosen for the grape juice (and why)? I know that the Lalvin BGY yeast from Burgundy, France is hopeless at pHs lower than 3.2 but other work at higher pHs. Is surface area a concern (maybe if one is a bottom fermenter, and another a top fermenting yeast). What temperature will be used (and why) if the yeasts have their own optimum temperature for growth; for example the BGY Lalvin yeast from Burgundy, France works best at 24°-28°C. Will a low sugar or high sugar juice be used - important as it may be the alcohol itself that inhibits the yeast. For example, the Lalvin CLOS yeast from Spain is high-alcohol-tolerant up to 15% alcohol but others give up before that. And what about the dependent variable (alcohol concentration): will the rate of alcohol production be measured, or just the amount of alcohol present when the yeasts die or the sugar runs out; or will the alcohol be measured after a set time, eg 7 days? Is time important? Some yeasts are slow (eg the CY3079 Slow White yeast from France takes its time but gets there in the end; it would be a brave decision to cut it off after 7 days). Lastly, some yeasts convert malic acid to alcohol (as well as converting the sugar). Imagine using a yeast such as the Lalvin C from France which partially degrades malic acid. Of course you'd get more alcohol out of this one.
Joan (John) Oró was an enthusiastic and eclectic exobiologist who, since the early days of the discipline, promoted the idea of cosmochemical evolution as a possible precursor to terrestrial life (Oró, 1961). The idea also made him a pioneer in meteoritic studies, as he recognized the importance of natural sample analyses towards the understanding and modeling of life’s origins. This lecture in his honor will tell of new types of meteorites and the advances that their analyses have brought to our knowledge of prebiotic extraterrestrial chemistry. Carbonaceous meteorites provide a detailed record of the organic materials that can be synthesized in abiotic environments. These have been shown to be complex and to have structures as varied as kerogen-like macromolecules and simpler soluble compounds, e.g., amino acids and hydrocarbons (Pizzarello et al., 2006). Meteorite organics display an overall molecular and isotopic diversity that points to synthetic pathways in a variety of chemical regimes, such as exothermic reactions in the cold, hydrogen fractionating interstellar gas phase and aqueous reactions in asteroidal parent bodies. Within this diversity, some meteoritic compounds have been found to be identical to biomolecules, with some of the amino acids displaying the biochemical trait of chiral asymmetry. This, in turn, has suggested that their delivery to the early Earth might have contributed to terrestrial molecular evolution (Pizzarello, 2006). Yet, so far, the study of meteorites has been hindered by the fact that the carbonaceous types are few in recorded falls (only 18 in the last two centuries), are often lost or irreparably altered after their fall and that their soluble organic content degrades with terrestrial exposure (Cronin et al., 1980). This fate may be spared to the stones recovered in Antarctica, where in-falling meteorites are quickly covered by snow, buried within the ice and resurface only when the flowing ice sheets end-up against the obstacle of a mountain. Owing to this unique shelter of the glaciers, American and Japanese scientific expeditions have found here a large number of carbonaceous meteorites, some of which are unspoiled. We will report on the organic composition of two pristine Antarctic meteorites belonging to the Renazzo-type group. These analyses have offered a yet unknown view of the synthetic capabilities and prebiotic potential of extraterrestrial environments, revealing a soluble organic suite made up mainly of water-soluble compounds, with predominant N-containing species and where some of the amino acids display the highest deuterium enrichment ever measured for extraterrestrial molecules by direct analyses. Also the analyses of these meteorites’ diastereomer amino acids suggest that their precursor aldehydes carried enantiomeric excesses during the aqueous phase reactions that took place in the meteorites’ asteroidal parent bodies (Pizzarello et al., 2008).
Your research question could be along the lines of which vegetable oil produces the best biodiesel in comparison to commercial biodiesel? You can make biodiesel from soybean by the following method: Weigh accurately 20.0 g of soybean oil into a round bottom flask and add a few boiling chips, 6 mL of methanol and 1.2 grams of potassium carbonate and reflux for 25 minutes (at a low intensity). Then allow to cool. Add 18 mL of 1 M acetic acid to the flask and pour it all into a separating funnel. Allow the layers of the reaction mixture to separate overnight. Drain the lower glycerol layer into a waste beaker and collect the upper layer containing biodiesel into a tared beaker. Record the mass of collected biodiesel.