When sulfer and nitrogen oxides mix with water in the air, do they form smog?

1 Answer
Nov 5, 2016



Smog is an accumulation of molecules that form a sort of visible pollution. Smog can be deconstructed to smoke and fog. Most often, they are formed with nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, ozone, smoke and other particles such as #CO#, or carbon monoxide, or #CFCs#, chlorofluorocarbons.

For a bit of history regarding chlorofluorocarbons, they were initially made in products that keep things cool, like refrigerators or freezers in the past. However, they being to accumulate into the air in the atmosphere. The Fluorine breaks up due to the cosmic rays entering earth and it binds or reacts with oxygen. This contributes to greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect. In my opinion, this was one of the gravest tragedies that the atmosphere has experienced due to an industrial process.

Smog is typically caused by internal combustion engines, vehicle and coal emissions, industrial and chemical fires, and photochemical reactions. Los Angles and Delhi are cities were lots of smog forms due to the aforementioned reasons.

Coming back to your question, sulfur oxides are primarily produced through creating sulfuric acid and the combustion of sulfur (and some other elements). Whereas nitrogen oxides are produced from the reaction of nitrogen and oxygen gases in the air during combustion, especially at high temperatures. In areas of high motor vehicle traffic, such as in large cities, the amount of nitrogen oxides emitted into the atmosphere as air pollution can be significant.

These two combined contribute greatly to the smog that you can sometimes see outside in densely populated (and urbanized) areas.

Hope this helps :).