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Which Is More Acidic, Snow or Rain?

Using this hands-on science project, familiarize pupils with the pH scale by having them use pH paper to monitor the different pH levels of natural precipitation.
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Science (4,777)

Chemistry (206)

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You've heard of acid rain, but what about acid snow? It makes sense, of course, that if rain becomes acidic as it falls through the atmosphere, the same would occur when it snows.

Do you have an idea, though, if there would be differences between the two? Do you think one might be more acidic than the other? You can measure the acidity of rain and snow in your area using the pH scale and pH paper, which is available through scientific supply companies or in some pharmacies.

Acid rain, snow, or sleet is precipitation that is more acidic than pure water, which has a pH of 7.0. Normal rain contains carbon dioxide, which makes it a little more acidic than pure water. The pH of normal rain is about 5.5. True acid rain, however, can have a pH that's much lower. Remember that the lower the pH, the more acid the rain.

There's been a lot of research conducted on acid precipitation, which has been found to cause harm to lakes and the creatures in them, to forests, and to statues and buildings.

Excerpted from

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Science Fair Projects
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Science Fair Projects
Nancy O'Leary and Susan Shelly
This book contains great information for different kinds of science fair projects.


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