What happens when acid reacts with limestone?

What happens in a reaction between acid rain and limestone?
15 June 2008



What happens in a reaction between acid rain and limestone?


Limestone is mostly made up of the mineral calcium carbonate (CaCO3). This is not very soluble, so rocks don't dissolve very quickly. But if you add an acid, you add hydrogen ions (H+), which will react with the carbonate to form hydrogen carbonate HCO3- ions, which are very soluble in water, and the limestone will dissolve. Or, if there is more acid, two hydrogen ions will react with a carbonate to form carbonic acid - H2CO3 - which will decompose to form carbon dioxide - CO2 - which eventually bubbles off into the atmosphere, and water H2O.

The acid can come from a variety of sources: sulphur and nitrogen oxides released by burning fossil fuels will form sulphuric, sulphurous, nitrous and nitric acids, and carbon-dioxide itself can dissolve in water to form carbonic acid.


The rainwater in my plastic rainwater tanks is pH 5.8. Could I add limestone to the tanks to neutralise this and wold there be problems? Thank you

Hi Chris. If I wanted to create a CO2 generator would it be more productive to use hydrochloric acid with limestone or calcite marble? The idea is to use a bucket with a couple of inches of aforementioned rocks covered with water and some added hydrochloric acid. If I used 200ml of hydrochloric acid how much CO2 would that produce?


The concentration of the acid determines how many protons (hydrogen ions) it can donate to react with the marble. You need 2 hydrogen ions per carbonate group. The stronger the acid, the more protons and the more CO2 you can make:

2H+ + CO32- -> H2O + CO2

Sorry forgot to mention that. It would be 10%. What stone material would you recommend for a CO2 generator, Limestone, Calcite Marble or Dolomite Marble?

Ps. Thanks for the giggle you gave me with the following answer to another question.

"Why not just pop your teacher's name and email address in the box and we'll send the homework answer directly to them on your behalf, to save you the bother since we're already being asked to do the homework itself for you..."

I want to create water soluble calcium for agriculture. Since its so expensive I wanted to try using cheap limestone and acid to create my own. Does the hydrogen carbonate precipitate to the bottom, while pure calcium stays dissolved in the water? Is there a way to separate them so I'm just left with calcium? Thanks!

I would like to know how that works

How long does it take for the reaction between sulphuric acid in acid rain and calcium carbonate to proceed?

There are a lot of factors. Sulphuric acid reacting with calcium carbonate will actually produce calcium sulphate, which is insoluble; this will coat the carbonate surface, reducing access to the carbonate by fresh hydrogen ions. So the reaction will initially appear to go fast, then very slowly once the sulphate layer builds up...

Limestone in rock form is not available sor some reason in my country now a days. We fill tank with water and hcl and limestone rock in tanks to neutralize hcl... We have calcium carbonate in powder form can we neuterlize hcl with it? Kindly please help me with a solution to neutralize hcl. We make calcium stearate

Add any bases like ammonia or any bases which you kike

how could you use crushed limestone in an acid test to put 4 acids in order of strength?

Why not just pop your teacher's name and email address in the box and we'll send the homework answer directly to them on your behalf, to save you the bother since we're already being asked to do the homework itself for you...

Who wrote the answer I need to cite the work for a school project.

Dr Chris Smith, of the Naked Scientists

yeah i also need it for a science project

What type of chemical reaction is it? I was thinking it was a neutralization reaction, although salt is not produced.

It is a neutralisation reaction, and there is a resulting salt: calcium bicarbonate  - Ca(HCO3)(aq)

I have a hundred pounds of common opal covered in what appears to be limestone. Is there a way to dissolve it?

I am trying to noticeably corrode limestone in a solution of salt, water, and citric acid.

Relatively, how conductive would water be if saturated with HCO3- ions?

Is the rain in Minecraft made out of acid?

I'm stuck on this question and I need to prove how you can tell that the gas limestone is giving off when added to acid is carbon dioxide can someone tell me how you prove it please?

The classic test for carbon dioxide is that, when bubbled through limewater, the solution turns milky. This is because the limewater - which is calcium hydroxide - Ca(OH)2 - reacts with carbon dioxide to form calcium carbonate - CaCO3 which is insoluble; this precipates as fine particles, which impart a milkiness to the solution.

how do we call the bubbled like reaction

Does limestone still dissolve if there are two acids

Limestone - calcium carbonate, (CaCO3) - dissolves and at a low rate. Sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) dissolves faster than limestone; it reacts with acids in a chemical reaction, producing carbon dioxide.

Yes it does

Limestone is calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Carbonates react with acids according to the equation: 

CO32- + 2H+ -> H2O + CO2

However, the rate of the reaction will be determined by a number of factors. First, the strength of the acid. A strong acid, like hydrochloric acid, which readily ionises to produces a high concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) will react more rapidly than a weaker acid that ionises more slowly, like acetic acid. Temperature is also important, because the rates of all chemical reactions are proportional to temperature.

Another factor to consider is the salt produced when the acid and the carbonate react. Sulphuric acid is a very strong acid but it won't react very well with calcium carbonate because one product of the reaction is calcium sulphate. This is plaster of paris and is insoluble. As a result, it forms a protective layer around the limestone, preventing further access by the acid and effectively stopping the reaction.

So, all acids in the liquid phase will react with limestone to some extent, but combinations of acids might, or might not, react as well as some strong acids used in isolation.


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Very nice

The CaCO3 reacts with water and CO2 to form carbonated calcium which is soluble in water. This is a natural process.

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