Acids Rain's Effect on Materials

 Acid rain eats away at stone, metal, paint -- almost any material exposed to the weather for a long period of time. Human-made materials gradually deteriorate even when exposed to unpolluted rain, but acid rain accelerates the process. Acid rain can cause marble statues carved long ago to lose their features. Acid rain has the same effect on buildings and monuments. Repairing acid rain damage to houses, buildings, and monuments can cost billions of dollars. Ancient monuments and buildings, such as the Parthenon in Greece, can never be replaced.

See this activity to demonstrate this effect of acid rain.

 

Marble surfaces exposed to rain develop a rough "sugary" texture because the calcite grains are loosened as the edges dissolve in the rain water.

 

Erosion of carbonate stone that is due, in part, to acidic deposition is illustrated by the above photograph of carved features on the base of a column on the DAR Memorial Continental Hall. This erosion process has caused rounding of the carving and roughening of the stone surface.