Solubility and Chemical Changes in Groundwater




University of Texas at Austin
Gordon, J.D.
Environmental Science Institute

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Background: Solubility is a solid’s tendency to dissolve. If the minerals making up rock, or materials put into the ground (like trash, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) are soluble, then those materials will end up in groundwater. When the groundwater changes in composition its behavioral properties also change. An acidic water may react with or cause other materials to dissolve that otherwise would not. If acid rain is present in an area, then water entering the ground is already acidic and may react with the surrounding rocks and materials. In this activity, we will pour acidic water through two different model aquifers: one consisting of igneous pebbles and the other of limestone. Then, we will check pH of the water (“acid rain”) that has passed through the aquifer with a pH Indicator Solution (phenolphthalein). A chemical indicator is something that changes color depending on its surroundings (see the pH chart on your table for details).

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