Chemical reactions and pollutants
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When fuels are burned in vehicle engines, high temperatures are reached. At these high temperatures nitrogen and oxygen from the air combine to produce nitrogen monoxide.
nitrogen + oxygen → nitrogen monoxide
Coal is made mainly of carbon. This burns to produce carbon dioxide.
When this nitrogen monoxide is released from vehicle exhaust systems, it combines with oxygen in the air to form nitrogen dioxide.
nitrogen monoxide + oxygen → nitrogen dioxide
Nitrogen dioxide causes acid rain [acid rain: Rain that contains a high level of acids. It is believed to be caused by pollution and, maybe, natural activity such as volcanic eruptions. ]. It also causes breathing problems and can worsen the effects of asthma.
Nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are jointly referred to as NOx
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