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Study of acid rain offers students a chance to learn about pH in the context of a serious environmental problem. Students collect rainwater samples from their area that they bring into the laboratory to analyze. The students first calibrate their pH meters, and then use them to measure the pH of their rainwater samples. If the students collected rainwater from many different areas, or at different times during a storm, further data analysis can be performed, and samples classified based on their acidity.
This laboratory exercise is included in the laboratory manual to accompany Chemistry in Context, a college textbook of the American Chemical Society for liberal arts students. Chemistry in Context presents chemical ideas in the context of environmental and societal challenges, allowing students to explore the chemistry behind issues such as air quality, energy, clean water, and food security. Accompanying laboratory experiments provide hands-on practice with basic laboratory techniques and reinforce the principles of green chemistry that are explained in the text. Instructor notes are available for each experiment.
Summary prepared March 2012 by Jennifer A. Tripp at San Francisco State University.
Tripp, J. Does Acid Rain Fall in My Neighborhood? Experiment #19 Chemistry in Context Laboratory Manual, Print Eds.; McGraw-Hill: 2012;