Test: ACT Science

Current high levels of fossil fuel use, including coal-burning power plants and gasoline-powered automobiles, have helped contribute to the high concentrations of sulfur trioxide, SO3, found in the atmosphere. When sulfur trioxide and water interact, they can undergo the following chemical reaction to produce sulfuric acid, which is the main contributor to acid rain worldwide: 

 

Acid rain showers are particularly common near coal-burning power plants and large cities. These showers are responsible for significant economic damage to sidewalks, roads, and buildings. Scientists interested in studying the effects of acid rain often use basic substances like calcium carbonate, the main component of limestone buildings, and expose them to varying volumes of acid rain to determine what volume of acid rain is necessary to begin to erode a building. A sample graph of one scientist’s experiment is replicated below:

 Passage_ii_-_main_passage

Measuring acid and base levels is commonly done with a scale called pH, which uses the concentration of hydrogen ions to determine the acidity. Hydrogen ions are in a balance with hydroxide ions to give a scale with a range from 0 to 14. Values equal to or between 0 and 6.9 represent the acidic range where hydrogen ions predominate and values equal to or ranging from 7.1 and 14 represent the basic range where hydroxide ions predominate. Thus, the more hydrogen ions present, the more acidic the solution.

Scientists can tell when a titration (pH) experiment passes a certain pH using compounds called indicators. Indicators are usually colorless at pH levels below that of their specified color change. A table of indicators used by the above scientists and the pH at which they change colors is presented below. 

Passage_ii_table

1.

What is the pH of a solution containing calcium carbonate and sulfuric acid when 15 mL of sulfuric acid have been added?

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