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The acid rain monitoring 

RainProject Presentation




We are 4th course pupils at the Secondary School IESI La Bisbal, in Catalonia, and we have developed this work under the supervision of Ramon Monras, our Physics and Chemistry teacher.

We have been analysing the rain water pH in la Bisbal in order to determine whether we have the acid rain problem.

For the past six month, from October to March, we have been collecting rain water from different spots of our village and neighbourhoods.

Before beginning the experimental part of this work, we had worked in the classroom the subject of acid rain. We studied what it is, where it comes from, what its effects are, what European areas are the most affected... We also experimented its effects on plants and materials like metals and marble, by means of laboratory practices. At the same time, we learnt about pH and acids and bases. As we have a pHmeter in the laboratory, we measured the pH of already known substances like water, Coca-Cola, milk, orange juice, etc.

The data-collecting work, the comparisons, the conclusions, etc. were made while attending Experimental Sciences lessons. It meant additional work after lessons, because we had the recipients to collect the rain water at home. On the rainy days we had extra work, to measure the rain water pH collected in the vessels we had at home.

Our teacher also asked us to collect weather maps in the newspaper issues of La Vanguardia that came out the mornings after rainy days. The purpouse was to find some sort of explanation in case we got pH values which were lower than usual ones.

It was really interesting to carry out this experience in our village, and above all, verify the hypothesis that we have not acid rain in a non-industrialised country like ours.

The contact with other European countries gave us the opportunity to know about the existence of countries that are very concernt with the acid rain problem. Also, it has been a very useful training in the use of e-mail.

In order to work in the best scientific way, we all have been taking pH measures in the same way, as we explain in the methodology section.

This work has been organized in six sections plus the Home Page and a "Web Guide" , for the Web version of this work. We hope that you like it.

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What's a Comenius Program?

You can look up the European Commission Web to know what a Comenius Program is.

Schools in the SMART ProjectIESI la Bisbal is an Associate School in the SMART project (Schools Monitoring Acid Rain Transeurope). The co-ordinator School is Woodbridge School, in Woodbridge, North-west London. Other associates Schools are Rotterdamsch Lyceum, in Rotterdam, and Saarnilaakson Koulu, in Espoo, Finlad.

The subject of this COMENIUS is the acid rain. We measure the pH of rain water and we exchange collected data with other participating Schools in order to elaborate conclusions.

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Objectives of this work

  1. To determine the pH degree of the acid rain in la Bisbal and neighbourhoods.

  2. To become aware of ecological problems like the acid rain.

  3. To get experience in scientific methodology.

  4. To be trained in co-operative work.

  5. To collect accurate data and learn how to use a spread sheet to save and process collected data.

  6. To acknowledge one's responsibility with this work, and to be confident about doing this work easily.

  7. To learn how to use Internet for data exchange.

  8. To develop a critical mind when comparing data from different experiences.

  9. To learn how to read weather maps in order to know meteorological situations.

  10. To get data about acid rain from other countries and be aware of the problems involving the acid rain.

    You can view how much we have reached these objectives.

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Methodology of this work

We all take a sample of rain water every rainy day.

We place a vessel to collect water near our house and near our school, in the open air.

Afterwards we measure the pH of the rain water.

The methodology to get the pH of the samples consists in placing a pH indicator paper in the rain water sample. Then we wait until the colour of the paper does not change. After this, we compare the colour of the paper with a chromatic table to determine, as accurate as possible, the pH value of the rain water sample.

All measurements have been carried out following the same procedure.

The indicator paper we use is: Spezialindikator pH 4.0 - 7.0 MERCK.

To verify the accuracy of the collected data, we also analyse the samples at school with the pHmeter and the indicator paper.

The collected data are introduced in a spread sheet, and among other calculus, we calculate the average value of the data collected in every house every month.
All this information is shown in a table with the minimum pH value, the maximum pH value and the average value of each rainy day, in chronological order.
And finally, we have also built a chart to show the evolution of the four statistics above mentioned.

Isobaric maps of the rainy days and the explanation about the way we use them are available here.

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Tools needed:

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