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Questions tagged [environmental-chemistry]

For questions regarding chemicals and chemical processes that act on and interact within environmental systems.

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33
votes
4answers
6k views

How much CO2 could you remove from the atmosphere with 2 trillion USD?

I know it's possible to capture $\ce{CO2}$ with various chemical reactions. For example NASA's space shuttle had some kind of regenerative $\ce{CO2}$ scrubber. But how expensive is it? Could a huge ...
27
votes
5answers
3k views

How 'heavy' should an element be, to be a “Heavy Metal”?

I've come across the term "Heavy metals" innumerable times in articles, mostly pertaining to environmental issues. Is there a weight range (of sorts) against which an element (metal) is classified as ...
23
votes
1answer
1k views

What is K2O-nSiO2-xH2O?

In need of $\ce{K2SiO3}$ for my cucumber plants, I purchased a bag of potassium silicate. The molecular formula is $\ce{K2O-nSiO2-xH2O}$. Normally, my bags of fertilizer are easy to figure out. For ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

What makes pentane, hexane, heptane, and octane dangerous, while butane and nonane aren't?

In particular, how do a methylene more (in the case of the pentane) and a methylene less (in the case of the octane) make the difference in harmfulness to the environment in comparison with, ...
11
votes
1answer
675 views

Urban air pollution and the smell of freshly cut lawn grass?

Recently, all the lawns in the apartment complex that I live in have had their lawns cut - giving that pleasant smell of freshly cut lawn. Now, I am aware that the smell arises from a chemical ...
8
votes
2answers
268 views

How is this mystery chemical reducing carbon emissions?

My chemistry is not good enough to solve this problem, and it's driving me crazy. At my job, a sales agent approached me to be their representative in my area for their product. It's a product that ...
8
votes
1answer
6k views

Why does ozone, being heavier than air, not settle down? [duplicate]

Is this because of some equilibrium between diffusion and gravity ? What exactly is responsible?
7
votes
2answers
7k views

Is there an easy way to test for the amount of iron (Fe) in water?

I have a rusty metal rainwater tank, and I'd like to find the amount of iron in the water. (The water I've collected is perfectly clear.) How would chemists in the 1800's have gone about this? What ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What chemicals could absorb/adsorb ambient atmospheric methane?

From an article in the New Scientist in 2010, Since pre-industrial times, methane levels in the atmosphere have risen from around 715 parts per billion to nearly 1800 ppb, claims Folberth. "If ...
7
votes
1answer
165 views

Amending soil pH to change the color of hydrangea flowers

I would like to ensure that my hydrangeas are blue. I am told that adding ammonium sulfate or aluminium sulfate will cause the soil to be more acidic. I am also told that adding elemental sulfur will ...
6
votes
2answers
900 views

What causes methane to have 25 times higher global warming potential than CO2

What causes methane to have 25 times higher global warming potential than $\ce{CO2}$? I think it has to do with $\ce{CH4}$ being a less massive molecule, but I'm not sure.
6
votes
2answers
808 views

Why does water condense on grass and iron grills in cold weather?

In my book it is said that in cold weather fog appears. This fog is nothing but water droplets. After a hot day if the night is cold then the moister in air starts to condense. What I do not ...
6
votes
1answer
139 views

Bromate forming in open water

According to this article, the city of Los Angeles (in the USA) is facing a problem where bromate, a suspected carcinogen, has been forming in their open water supplies. They believe that the ...
6
votes
0answers
388 views

Is my understanding of the Frasch Process correct?

So basically, the whole point of this process is to extract elemental sulfur from underground deposits. Is this process essentially correct or am I missing out certain details? Firstly, three ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

pH of rain with and without thunderstorm

I just came to know that pH of rain water will be lesser when it is accompanied by a thunderstorm than when it is not accompanied by thunderstorm. Why would it be so? Will the temperature increase due ...
5
votes
1answer
11k views

Difference in pH of water and rainwater

In my textbook (Olmsted and Williams 4th ed) it is given that pH of pure water is 7, pH of unpolluted rain water is between 5-6 and pH of acid rain is between 4-5. It is obvious that pH for acid ...
5
votes
1answer
858 views

How to calculate the solubility of lead (II) carbonate in water, given that bicarbonate will also form?

Calculate the solubility of lead (II) carbonate, $\ce{PbCO3}$, ($K_{\mathrm{sp}} = 1.5 \times 10^{-15}$) in water, given that carbonate is a stronger base than water, so will also form bicarbonate. ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Degradation of sulfuryl fluoride SO2F2

Recently, the houses next to us were fumigated with "Vikane", which apparently is $\ce{SO2F2}$. To my surprise, the gas was just pumped out in the atmosphere without further ado at the end of the ...
5
votes
1answer
164 views

Disposing of hazardous waste indicated by numbers on chemicals

I'm doing a book for the African market and the syllabus asks for discussions on proper disposal of chemicals and waste products, particularly in the classroom setting The authors said something ...
5
votes
1answer
43 views

Can weathering change the composition of something so that it appears different?

There's a murder trial ongoing in Ireland at the moment and one of the pieces of evidence is a spade found at the scene along with the skeletal remains. It was contended by the prosecution that this ...
5
votes
1answer
243 views

Environmental Alkylating Agents

I am looking for the names of some environmental alkylating agents (in context of DNA damages) found for example in the fume produced by industry. Most of the papers which I have found is concentrated ...
4
votes
1answer
428 views

Exhaust gas purification

I'm more asking this because I'm not sure how far science has come. Pretty much, I've been thinking about the car exhaust system lately. The two main components that lead to hazards from cars are $\ce{...
4
votes
1answer
224 views

What element or compound could be used to make the ocean more basic?

The ocean is becoming acidic. This is not a natural evolutionary change but happens through human negative effect on the environment. What element or compound could be used to create a more base ocean?...
4
votes
1answer
939 views

What molecule is mostly responsible for the smell of petrol/gasoline when I refill my car?

Is it benzene or is there another aromatic molecule in gasoline with "heavier scents"? Does anybody know of a scientific investigation to provide evidence for an answer?
4
votes
1answer
121 views

Particle size of oxides of nitrogen and sulfur pollutants and HEPA filters

I am thinking about buying air purifier as pollution is high in my city. Going through the specifications of HEPA filters, I found that they block particulate matter of 2.5. PM 2.5 contains dust and ...
4
votes
1answer
166 views

Is there a chemical treatment for pipes to reduce or eliminate leaching of lead into tap water?

Given events in Flint, Michigan, where a switch to acidic river water in the city water supply resulted in leaching of lead into tap water from the insides of pipes, I wonder -- has anyone has heard ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

How much worse is methane than CO2 as greenhouse gas? [duplicate]

I can't find a coherent answer to this question. The numbers are all over the place. 25 times greater 84 times more potent The reason I'm looking is because I can't find a reason in physics why this ...
4
votes
1answer
793 views

Efforts made to reduce the amount of CFC

Till now I have heard $\ce{CO2}$ is the main reason of global warming. I have studied the remedies to control $\ce{CO2}$ many times through books, awarness programs, etc. But today I learned about ...
4
votes
1answer
186 views

Comparing Methods of Determination of Dissolved Oxygen Content in Water Sample

I am currently doing an IB Chemistry Individual Investigation on dissolved oxygen in water samples by using Winkler method. However, my teacher suggested that I have to use oxygen probe as a standard ...
4
votes
1answer
94 views

Measurement of Water Clarity

Turbidity is essentially the clarity of water. Turbidity can be measured in many ways such as a turbidimeter, secci disk or a turbidity tube (which incorporates a secci disk at the bottom). If you had ...
3
votes
4answers
116 views

Why is atmospheric composition compared by volume?

The composition of the Earth's atmosphere by its constituent gases (nitrogen, oxygen, argon...), is often given by percent volume. (See this Wikipedia page, for example). Why are these compositions ...
3
votes
1answer
131 views

Breaking Down PCB's in lakes

I was wondering if there is any natural process which breaks down PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyl). This is an extremely harmful contaminant that was pumped into various lakes by chemical plants up ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Using sodium peroxide to scrub carbon dioxide emissions

I am a student from a school and recently I came across the reaction $\ce{2Na2O2 + 2CO2 -> 2Na2CO3 + O2}$ Can't we use this reaction to reduce $\ce{CO2}$ in the atmosphere by placing some $\ce{...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

Is there any reason to fear personal exposure to rain with a pH of 3.1?

Where I live now there can be significantly acidic rain. The government posts measurements for many cities and there can be stretches for days or longer with reported pH of 3.2 or 3.1. I even saw 2.9 ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

What are possible hazards of fog machines?

From a chemistry point of view I would like to learn about possible hazards of fog machines. Such devices, also called “foggers”, create vapor which appears like fog or smoke. It is used in discos, ...
3
votes
1answer
437 views

Coagulation with Ferric Chloride

I'm having a hard time understanding the use of coagulation wastewater treatment. I have read in literature that ferric chloride is used as a coagulant to remove COD, TSS and Ammonia from landfill ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How does pH level change the concentration of dissolved oxygen (DO) in sea water?

I am planning to investigate the relationship between $\mathrm{pH}$ and dissolved oxygen. I would like to have a reason without taking in account the plants, animals and decomposer roles. I want to ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

Biodegradation time for biodegradable shopping bags?

How long does it take for the plastic/polythene shopping bags marked biodegradable to biodegrade?
3
votes
0answers
14 views

Removing or hiding (white) magnesium carbonate residues on natural rock surfaces

As noted in this question, magnesium carbonate is often used by rock climbers to help mitigate the effect of sweating whilst climbing. While this is not a major issue on artificial walls, the residue ...
3
votes
0answers
44 views

How will a NPK 15-0-15 fertilizer affect this soil?

If the soil we have has pH 7,2 and we want to add this fertilizer which has 15-0-15 (NPK). What should the fertilizer contain in order for the pH to get reduced? I believe that $\ce{K+}$ ions should ...
3
votes
0answers
58 views

Atmospheric carbon removal: asphalt from CO2?

In reading a text about $\ce{CO2}$ recycling and sequestration of various kinds, I came to think about storing atmospheric $\ce{CO2}$ as asphalt. Given cheap energy as in the case of Iceland, and ...
2
votes
2answers
337 views

DIY Brass Etching methods (safer etchants, waste, and disposal of)

I want to etch brass for making name plates etc. (Also for copper PCBs but brass is probably more complicated given the other metals). Several etchants commonly used, and I'm sure many more are ...
2
votes
2answers
387 views

Formation of 2,4-Dichlorophenol by free chlorine mediated oxidation of Triclosan

I cannot find much guidance in the literature. This is the reaction between free chlorine in water and triclosan. I understand ether cleavage and electrophilic aromatic substitution (maybe) involved. ...
2
votes
1answer
209 views

Is organic carbon the same thing as organic compounds?

Are they the same thing or is there some minute difference? I have looked all over the web and you would think this would be a common question but I can't find any answer. If they are different then ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

How is Humic substance destroyed in nature?

Humic substance consists of many, to my knowledge poorly understood, species of organic matter, mostly carbohydrates chained in intersting (and also poorly understood) ways. Humic substance is an ...
2
votes
1answer
223 views

Release of sulfur dioxide from odored fuel gases

Often, fuel gases such as butane and natural gas (methane) are mixed with some foul-smelling impurities such as thiols (mercaptans) and hydrogen sulfide. Presumably, anything containing sulfur would ...
2
votes
1answer
642 views

to convert ppm gas (N2O) concentrations in microgram nitrogen per gram dry soil basis?

What calculations are needed to convert $\ce{N2O}$ gas concentrations in ppm to micrograms of nitrogen per gram dry soil basis? I measured the concentration of $\ce{N2O}$ in soil samples. I extracted ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

What would chemistry seniors like to hear about industrial hygiene?

I have a master degree in physical chemistry with close to 10 years experience as a chromatographer in pharma. About two years ago I made a career change into industrial hygiene. Right now I am ...
2
votes
2answers
108 views

How to determine source of air pollution

It should be determined by some metal markers (meaning originating from traffic etc.) but I cannot find any source which would describe it. Thanks.
2
votes
0answers
51 views

Can hydrogen plasma reduce carbon dioxide?

There are several studies describing usage of hydrogen plasma to reduce metal oxides. This is not yet widely adopted in industry, but it is of interest for environmental reasons (such as desrcibed in ...