Sulfate released from fossil fuels

  • Thread starter ASidd
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  • #1
ASidd
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Can somebody please explain how sulfates are released from combustion of fossil fuels?
I have tried looking online but I can't understand.
Every website mixes it up with acid rain.
 

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  • #2
Borek
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Every website mixes it up with acid rain.

Not without a reason, these things are connected.

What happens to sulfur present in the fossil fuel when the fuel is burnt?
 
  • #3
aroc91
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First thing's first, I guess. Do you know what combustion is?
 
  • #4
ASidd
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Yes I do know what combustion is.
The burning of a fuel in O2
 
  • #5
Borek
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OK< now answer the other question. What happens to sulfur in these conditions?
 
  • #6
ASidd
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umm would it get oxidised??
 
  • #7
Borek
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Yes. What will be the product (or products)?
 
  • #8
ASidd
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Ok I sort of understand it now.

One more thing I'm researching the environmental impacts of sulfate ion. Will acid rain be among them.
 
  • #9
Borek
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What are the combustion products?

They are in the air, what happens when they meet a cloud (which is just a suspension of water droplets)?
 
  • #10
ASidd
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Okay so the product would be
sulfur dioxide and CO2 or C
which can be further oxidised into So4?
am I right?
 
  • #11
Borek
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Close, but not there yet.

What happens when SO2 reacts with water?
 
  • #12
chemisttree
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Close, but not there yet.

What happens when SO2 reacts with water?

Hold on there, sport! There's one more reaction to go before we get wet!
 
  • #13
Borek
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Yes, but I am trying to steer OP in the direction of the low pH - and SO2 presence already explains it. Plan was to make things more confusing later :wink:
 
  • #14
ASidd
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Would SO2 somehow react with water to form H2SO4?
 
  • #15
Borek
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Reaction between water of SO2 doesn't produce sulfates (nor sulfuric acid), it produces other acid - and that's already enough to lower pH.

What is the acidic oxide that reacts with water to produce sulfuric acid?
 
  • #16
ASidd
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HSO3 ??

So this may be a silly question but sulfuric acid and sulfur ion are sort of related aren't they. I don't want to get marked down because I wrote down that it produces sulfuric acid and not specifically mention the sulfur ion in the process.
 
  • #17
ASidd
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or is it H2SO3?
 
  • #18
Borek
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H2SO3 or sulfurous acid.

No idea what you mean by "sulfur ion".

SO2, apart from reacting with water, undergoes series of reactions that end in another sulfur oxide/another acid.
 
  • #19
ASidd
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I am studying the environmental affects of sulfate (sorry should have written sulfate ion)
which is SO4
so If I write down acid rain which is essentially H2SO4 hydrogen+sulfate ion I won't get marked down would I? just checking because our teacher told us to be very specific and careful with what we write down.
 
  • #20
ASidd
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SO you need to make H2SO3 to lower pH to then make H2SO4 from that?
 
  • #21
Borek
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I am studying the environmental affects of sulfate (sorry should have written sulfate ion)
which is SO4

SO42-

so If I write down acid rain which is essentially H2SO4 hydrogen+sulfate ion I won't get marked down would I? just checking because our teacher told us to be very specific and careful with what we write down.

And I am afraid what you wrote - "H2SO4 hydrogen+sulfate ion" - suggests you don't know the details of things you are writing about. I can only guess that you tried to list sulfuric acid and porducts of its dissociation.

SO you need to make H2SO3 to lower pH to then make H2SO4 from that?

No, these things go at the same time. Part of SO2 gets dissolved and lowers pH, other part gets oxidized to SO3 and reacts with water creating sulfuric acid. But as the reaction between SO2 and water is easily reversible, some of the SO2 that initially acidified water can later leave the solution and get oxidized. There are several equilibria present.
 
  • #22
chemisttree
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... and SO3 has been coming directly out of tailpipes for quite some time now. The automotive catalyst itself can oxidize SO2 to SO3 under lean burn conditions.
 

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