Using demonstrations involving combustion and acid–base chemistry to show hydration of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and magnesium oxide and their relevance for environmental climate science

The nature of acidic and basic (alkaline) oxides can be easily illustrated via a series of three straightforward classroom demonstrations for high school and general chemistry courses. Properties of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and magnesium oxide are revealed inexpensively and safely. Additionally, the very different kinetics of hydration of SO2 (rapid) and CO2 (slow) are evident. The pH changes observed by use of universal indicator provide striking visual evidence that makes the concepts of acidic and basic oxides less abstract and more concrete than verbal or written descriptions alone. By using the MgO solution for the SO2 hydration reaction, one can mimic environmental interactions that lead to the neutralization of alkaline and acidic species. Interestingly, the SO2 and CO2 demonstrations can easily be adapted to environmental chemistry courses and especially the very relevant realm of climate change science. The difference in hydration rates explains why CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but SO2 is not listed as one. Variations of the CO2 hydration demonstration reveal the sensitivity of oceans to acidification by dissolved CO2 and the relationship of fossil fuel combustion to ocean acidification.

ShawIII C. F., Webb J. X. & Rothenberger O., 2016. Using demonstrations involving combustion and acid–base chemistry to show hydration of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and magnesium oxide and their relevance for environmental climate science. Journal of Chemical Education 93(12):2063–2067. Article (subscription required).

0 Responses to “Using demonstrations involving combustion and acid–base chemistry to show hydration of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and magnesium oxide and their relevance for environmental climate science”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Subscribe to the RSS feed

Powered by FeedBurner

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,019,624 hits

OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book