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NAME: Reanelle Alleyne

DATE: 12/11/18


TITLE: Effects of Acid Rain on Building Materials

AIM: To investigate the effects of acid rain on building materials.


 Acidic water solution (pH 3)

 Medicine cups
 Limestone chips
 Plastic pipette
 Pure distilled water (pH 7)


1. 3 chips of limestone was placed in two medicine cups and labelled 1 and 2
respectively. The chips were carefully examined and the descriptions of the
chips were recorded in a table. The texture, size and appearances of the
edges were noted.
2. 3 ml of acid water of pH 3 was added to cup 1 using a pipette. 3 ml of pure
distilled water of pH 7 was then added to cup 2. After 15-20 minutes, the
rocks were removed from the cups and close observations of their condition
were made. The effects of the acid water and pure water on each of the rocks
were recorded.
3. The rocks were allowed to stand overnight and were then observed the next
day. All changes that were observed were recorded.



Time Cup 1 – pH 3 Cup 2- pH 7

At Start (prior Rough texture with sharp Rough texture with sharp
to treatment) edges edges
20 minutes Smooth texture with smooth No change
24 hours Smooth texture with smooth No change
edges; pieces of the
limestone were seen in the

DISCUSSION: In this experiment the effects of acid rain on building materials

was explored. Acid rain is rain that falls below the pH of 5 due to the reaction
between the oxides of sulphur and nitrogen and water vapour in the atmosphere.
Sulphur dioxide is oxidised in the atmosphere by free radicals or nitrogen dioxide
to form sulphur trioxides and sulphates which then react the water vapour to form
dilute sulphuric acid in the rain. Nitrogen oxides are also oxidised to form nitrogen
dioxide which dissolves in water vapour to form nitric acid in rain.
SO3(g) + H2O(l) H2SO4(aq)

2NO3(g) + H2O(l) HNO3(aq) + HNO2(aq)

In the experiment, the limestone showed no significant changes in the pH 7 water

while in the pH 3 water the limestone became smooth with smooth edges and
fragments from the limestones could be seen floating around in the water. It can be
deduced that the acidic nature of the water played a role in the erosion of the
limestone. Limestone is material used in in buildings and sculptures. This
experiment alludes that acid rain would have a negative effect on building
materials. If acid rain frequently falls on these structures it would lead to corrosion.
A real-life example of this can be seen in a popular tourist attraction in India called
the Taj Mahal. The atmosphere there contains large levels of sulphur and nitrogen
oxides due to the large number of industries set up nearby Taj Mahal and pollution
of Yamuna River because of the acid rain on the Taj Mahal the colour of it is
changes from white to yellowish colour. A local example is of the statue of the
Mighty Sparrow in Trinidad and Tobago that had to be retouched because it
became unrecognizable due to acid rain.

In order to reduce the amount of acid rain formed, persons can reduce the amount
of air pollution they create by using cleaner cars. Car manufacturers can reduce the
amount of nitrogen oxides and other pollutants released by new cars. Another great
way to reduce acid rain is to produce energy without using fossil fuels. Instead,
people can use renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. Although
acid rain has various negative effects it can also be seen as an important type of
weathering that is essential in the process of nature. It is important because it
breaks it down into smaller material to become sediment.
PRECAUTION: 1. Ensuring that the timer starts from zero.

SOURCE OF ERROR: 1. Parallax error when measuring the amount of pH water

to use.

CONCLUSION: Acid rain can cause damage to building materials. It disintegrates

stone materials like limestone and can change the shape of it.

REFLECTION: In this experiment, the effects of acid rain on building materials

were explored. This topic is very relevant in everyday life because it causes
damage to buildings, machinery and even some statues which can cost a lot of
money to repair.