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Photochemical Somog - Assignment Example

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This paper is about photochemical smog. It is a type of air pollution that develops when primary pollutants interact under the presence of sunlight leading to accumulation and high concentration of ozone in the atmosphere and produce a mixture of hundreds of different and toxic chemicals known as secondary pollutants…
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Photochemical Somog
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"Photochemical Somog"

Having being canvassed with the chemistry of photochemical smog, the primary culprits have known as ‘smog pollutants’ will be highlighted, succeded by the details about their harmful effects. Every problem is solution-borne and so is the photochemical smog. Before concluding with the essay I would like to focus on the possible solutions that can help minimize the formation of photochemical smog. Researches have shown several topographical and meteorological factors also influence the conditions of the formation of photochemical smog. Topographically, areas situated in valleys experience more smog as compared to plains. Hills and mountains surrounding them cause the restriction in air movement, increasing the concentration of air pollutants. The temperature inversion is yet another meteorological factor that can enhance the severity of a photochemical smog condition. During day the air near the surface is heated and as it warms, it rises, carrying the pollutants with it to higher altitudes. However, if a temperature inversion develops pollutants get trapped close to the ground surface causing the reduction in atmospheric mixing and therefore reduce the vertical dispersion of pollutants. In unpolluted atmosphere ozone (O3) is consumed by nitrogen oxide, producing nitrogen dioxide naturally (Save the Earth, Save the Future 2007). O3+NO >NO2+O2 The presence of volatile organic compounds in atmosphere provides an alternate pathway for nitrogen oxide to produce nitrogen dioxide. In this process ozone is not consumed hence, its concentration is increased to toxic level. NO+Volatile organic compounds>NO2+other products Nitrogen dioxide can absorb ultraviolet light energy from the visible portion of sunlight and is photo-degraded into nitric oxide and an atom of oxygen. NO2+sunlight >NO+O The atomic oxygen (O) then reacts immediately with oxygen (O2) producing ozone (O3) which has high oxidizing properties. O+O2>O3 Ozone produced can again react with hydrocarbons and produce noxious aldehydes. O3+hydrocarbons>aldehydes In a series of reactions nitrogen dioxide can also react with radicals from volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight to form toxic products such as peroxyacetyl nitrates (PAN). NO2+O2+hydrocarbons> products such as PAN (CH3CO-O2-NO2) (in the presence of sunlight) The amount of production of nitrogen oxides through natural processes such as lightning and chemical reaction between nitrogen mono oxide and oxygen is limited. Industrial fumes and toxic chemicals of vehicular emissions can be accounted to raise the levels of nitrogen oxides in the air. The pale blue gas ozone (O3) exists in stratosphere of our atmosphere and is constantly created and destroyed maintaing an eco-balance. Ozone can also be formed in the lower altitudes by reactions between nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons under sunlight (photolysis), or by electric sparks which occur in automobiles, thus crossing the threshold level of ozone concentration. In cars and other vehicles incomplete combustion of the fuel leave unburnt hydrocarbons in the gaseous exhaust one of the primary causes in the formation of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).Petrol and other organic solvents such as paints; aerosol Read More
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