Ozone depletion

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  • Created by: Francisca
  • Created on: 04-04-13 21:41

Beware the radicals

The ozone depletion potential (ODP) of a substance is the relative amount of breakdown to the ozone layer caused by the substance. The ODP of a substance is compared with that of trichloroflouromethane, CFCl3, which has an ODP of 1.0. The introduction of new compounds into the environment can lead to ozone loss and a disruption of the natural equilibrium. 

Most chlorine radicals in the stratosphere are generated by human activity. This has upset the natural ozone-oxygen balance, leading to problems in maintaining the protective ozone layer. Chlorine radicals in the stratosphere mainly come from chloroflourocarbons (CFC's). The stability of CFC molecules means that CFC's can only be broken down by the extremely energetic UV radiation found above most of the ozone layer. CFC's take long time to reach the ozone layer, once there UV radiation provides the energy required for the process that damages the ozone layer begins.

When UV radiation strikes a CFC molecule in the stratosphere, a C-Cl bind breaks, producing a chlorine radical, Cl   . 

Radicals are extremely reactive. Once a chlorine radical has been generated, it can react with an O3 moelcule, breaking


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