Here are four different ways chemists use to show a molecule of sulfuric acid
. In the colored molecule models, sulfur is yellow, oxygen is red, and hydrogen is white.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original artwork by Randy Russell.
Sulfuric Acid - H2SO4
Sulfuric acid is a very common type of acid. Acid rain has sulfuric acid in it. Acid rain harms plants, fish, and other living things.
A type of air pollution causes acid rain. When people burn fossil fuels like oil and coal, the smoke has a chemical in it called sulfur dioxide. When the sulfur dioxide gas comes into contact with water droplets in the atmosphere, it changes into sulfuric acid. This is one of the ways acid rain forms. Volcanoes also give off sulfur dioxide gas.
Sulfuric acid isn't all bad, though. People use this acid in lots of ways. Batteries in cars have sulfuric acid in them. Some drain cleaners do too. Humans make more than 100 million tons of sulfuric acid each year!
The hot atmosphere of the planet Venus has sulfuric acid in it. That makes it really hard to build spacecraft that can last very long in the atmosphere of Venus.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, ranging from evolution
, classroom research
, and the need for science and math literacy
You might also be interested in:
Have you heard about rivers, lakes, or streams becoming polluted? Sometimes the pollution comes from trash, oil spills, sewage, fertilizers, or chemicals. However, sometimes the source of water pollution...more
What do smog, acid rain, carbon monoxide, fossil fuel exhausts, and tropospheric ozone have in common? They are all examples of air pollution. Air pollution is not new. As far back as the 13 th century,...more
Acid rain is a general term used to describe different kinds of acidic air pollution. Although some acidic air pollutants return directly back to Earth, a lot of it returns in rain, snow, sleet, hail,...more
Air pollution comes from many different sources. Natural processes that affect air quality include volcanoes, which produce sulfur, chlorine, and ash particulates. Wildfires produce smoke and carbon monoxide....more
When you think of chemistry, do you think about mixing colored liquids in test tubes and maybe making an explosion... or at least a nice puff of smoke? Did you know that a lot of chemistry happens in Earth's...more
Ammonia is a kind of gas. Ammonia molecules (NH3) have hydrogen and nitrogen atoms in them. The air you breathe has a tiny bit of ammonia in it. When plants and animals die and decay, they give off ammonia....more
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a kind of chemical. A molecule of hydrogen peroxide has oxygen and hydrogen atoms in it. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid. Hydrogen peroxide is in some liquids that are used...more