What Happens When Water Is Added To Sulfur Dioxide?


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Sulfur dioxide is very soluble in water. When water is added to sulfur dioxide, or rather sulfur dioxide is bubbles through water, sulfuric acid is formed. That is a reason why sulfur dioxide is blamed as the key gas for causing acid rain. It combines with water in the atmosphere to form the very strong acid, sulfuric acid.

At first, sulfurous acid is formed when sulfur dioxide is passed through water:

  SO2 + H2O ----> H2SO3

When more sulfur dioxide is bubbled in, and comes into contact with more water, sulfuric acid forms.

Sulfuric acid is very acidic. That means it has a very low pH. It is very corrosive so care should be taken when handling it. It is also very reactive.

If concentrated sulfuric acid and water are mixed the reaction is very exothermic and may cause the solution to spit. Therefore, you do not add water to the acid, but rather acid to water, gradually and in small amounts.

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