The earth is surrounded by a mixture of gases which makes up the atmosphere. The atmosphere is mainly made up from:
· Nitrogen 78%
· Oxygen- 21%
· Argon- 1%
The atmosphere also contains carbon dioxide, other gases and different amounts of water vapour.
Focusing on nitrogen, oxygen and argon is the atmosphere are mainly even, but humans activity is adding small amounts of pollutants to the atmosphere.
Five pollutants that can harm us or the atmosphere:
· Carbon dioxide
· Carbon monoxide
· Particles of carbon
· Sulfur dioxide
· Nitrogen oxides
These pollutants come from different supplies. Some pollutant gases are directly harmful to humans(they can cause disease or death, depending on the amount taken in for example car exhaust contain pollutants which can have an affect on breathing problems like asthma )
Some pollutants can harm indirectly too (damaging the environment) for example:-
· Acid rain-polluting the environment-destroyed lakes and river and can harm/kill the fishes which humans/animals eat.
Other pollutants can lead to climate changes which can bring all sorts of damages such as sea levels rising, destroying to the farming and more hurricanes etc.
The amount of fuels that we use in mainly made up from two elements- carbon and hydrogen this is known as hydrocarbons.
Many hydrocarbons are fossil fuels which can be formed from the remains of dead plants and animals over millions of years. These fuels such as crude oil are drilled out form the earth and then refined to make useful products like petrol and diesel.
Fuels such as petrol, diesel and fuel oil are all mixtures of hydrogen and carbon. The only difference between the fuels is the size of the hydrocarbons they contain (have).
Coal is a little different it is not hydrocarbon. It mainly carbon but also contains a lot of impurities.
Burning is a type of chemical reaction. Nearly all chemical reactions involve an arrangement with the atoms. When hydrocarbon burns the hydrogen atoms in the fuel are joined (combined) with oxygen atoms from the air to make hydrogen oxide (water) and carbon atoms in the fuel combined with the oxygen atoms from the air to form carbon dioxide.
Air Pollution- Carbon..x…
Fossil fuels are burnt to let out energy. We normally use fossil fuels produce electricity for power stations and vehicles. Carbon based fossils normally pollute the atmosphere. All fossils which contain a large amount of (element) carbon so this isn’t really surprising if these fossil fuels pollute the atmosphere because it contains carbon. If the fuels in any chnance burn with a lot of oxygen then nearly all the carbon end up in carbon dioxide. This then adds up to the natural carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but if there is less oxygen by any chance then small amounts of carbon monoxide and particles of carbon are produced. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and carbon particles are all pollutants.
Carbon dioxide has a formed way of writing it such as CO2 which has two oxygen and one carbon atom.
Carbon monoxide has a formed way of writing it such as CO; it has one carbon and one oxygen atom.
Particulate carbon is known as small particles of carbon and is produced when fuels are burnt.
Air Pollution- Sulfur..x..
Many fuels of our hydrocarbon-based (petrol and natural gases).Some can be carbon-based (coal). These fuels have a lot of impurities as they are taken straight from the earths crust. Many of the impurities are pretty harmless but some fuels may have a trace of Sulfur. When the Sulfur atoms burn, they combine oxygen atoms (in the air) which produces the pollutant- Sulfur dioxide. When power stations or engines burn fuels (coal and petrol) and a little amount of Sulfur dioxide is made which usually ends up in the atmosphere. As with any other pollutant goes into the atmosphere and it will remain there until something removes it. The way Sulfur dioxide leaves the atmosphere in the from of acid rain. When Sulfur dioxide releases form the vehicles engine and power stations react with the moisture in the clouds which then sulfuric acid is formed. When acid rain falls the more bad news for building, plant, animals and humans. Acid rain caused acidic lakes, killing plants and damaging building and statues which are made from stone (limestone).
Nitrogen pollution is not from the fuels itself it is formed from the nitrogen in the atmosphere when the fuels are burnt. Fossil fuels are burnt at a high temperature that the nearby atoms in the air which react with each other. Nitrogen in the air reacts with oxygen to form a small amount of compounds which is known as nitrogen oxides, nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. This also happens in car engines. Nitrogen oxides are pollutants and usually go straight into the atmosphere.
Nitrogen monoxide is written as NO and has one nitrogen atom and one oxygen atom.
Nitrogen dioxide is written NO2 and is made up of two oxygen atom and one nitrogen atom. Nitrogen oxide is NO AND NO2 and can be written like NOx.
Nitrogen monoxide is formed when nitrogen and oxygen in the air to a very high temperature this happens when fuels are burnt in place like car engines.
Nitrogen dioxide is formed once the nitrogen monoxide is in the air it will react with more oxygen in the air and produce nitrogen dioxide.
Nitrogen oxides is very similar to Sulfur dioxide because when they are formed they both go into the atmosphere which then react with moisture in clouds, which then produces a dilute nitric acid which then slowly falls to the earth as acid rain.
The way to reduce the all types of pollution of power stations is by using less energy for electricity. The less electricity used the less fuels used to burn in power stations which means less pollution is created. The problem is that we all are used to using electricity in our every day lives it would be hard to persuade people to stop using their TVs, washing machines computers etc. but with out stopping the use of electricity there are still ways to stop pollution. Take Sulfur out from natural gases and fossil fuels which means less Sulfur dioxide is produced. When coal is burnt most Sulfur dioxide and carbon particulates can be removed before they reach the atmosphere. The way to reduce CO2 (carbon dioxide) is to reduce the amount of fossil fuels burnt by reducing the amount of electricity used or finding alternative energy sources. The cars are now installed with more capable engine which burn less fuels so it creates less pollution. Less Sulfur fuels for vehicles are now available which means less Sulfur dioxide is released from the exhaust. Some cars have catalytic converters which converts nitrogen monoxide in armless oxygen and nitrogen also into carbon dioxide.