SCI 207 Week 4 Lab

Topics: Sun, Photovoltaics, Solar cell Pages: 5 (1009 words) Published: April 21, 2014
Charles Jacquier
Lab 4 – Energy Sources and Alternative Energy
SCI 207
Professor Selhorst

Experiment 1: The Effects of Coal Mining
Table 1: pH of Water Samples
Water Sample
Initial pH
Final pH (24-48 hours)
Activated Carbon


1. Develop hypotheses predicting the effect of pyrite and coal on the acidity of water?

a. Pyrite hypothesis = If pyrite is added to water, it will make the water more acidic. b. Coal hypothesis = If the activated carbon is added to the water, it will make the water more acidic.

2. Based on the results of your experiment, would you reject or accept each hypothesis that you produced in question 1? Explain how you determined this.

a. Pyrite hypothesis accept/reject = The hypothesis was rejected as no change occurred in pH levels after testing the sample with a pH strip b. Coal hypothesis accept/reject = The hypothesis was rejected as the pH level rose from 5 to 7 after testing the sample with a pH strip, which would indicate a rise in alkalinity.

3. Based on your data, what effect do you predict coal mining has on the environment?

Answer = Based upon the data collected, there does seem to be a small effect on the environment, however, based upon knowledge of the subject, coal mining can and does have a significant adverse effect on the environment.

4. What can be done to prevent mine drainage from damaging the ecosystem? Utilize at least one scholarly resource to support your suggestions.

Answer = Acid mine drainage (AMD) is one of the more serious environmental problems in the mining industry. AMD is the major pollutant of surface waters in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States (US EPA, 2006). The formation of AMD is a very complex chemical and microbial process, and usually occurs where deep excavations, such as those associated with coal mining, expose unweathered pyritic materials. Water contaminated by AMD on permitted sites where mining has occurred must be treated to remove dissolved metals and raise pH. Millions of dollars are spent to treat this water and the interaction of these metals with each other and their removal from water are important areas of study (US EPA 2006). Water is the basic transport for contaminants, and consequently most measures at limiting acid formation use migration control and are concerned with the control of water flow (EPA 2006). To help out local ecosystems, water entry into the site of acid formation may be controlled by: 1. Diversion of surface water flowing towards the site of pollution; 2. Prevention of groundwater infiltration into the pollution site; 3. Prevention of hydrological water seepage into the affected areas; and 4. Controlled placement of acid-generating waste. (EPA 2006).

Experiment 2: Solar Energy
Table 2: Solar Energy Experiment Results
Environmental Descriptor/Variable
(Each should be compared against direct subnlight)
Weather of the Day
Mostly Sunny with some clouds
Motor speed in direct sunlight
Very Fast
Motor speed at 45 degree angle
Very Fast
Motor speed under reflectors
Very Fast
Motor speed with 25% shaded
Very Fast
Motor speed with 50% shaded
Medium to fast
Motor speed with 75% shaded
Very Slow
Motor speed under red filtration
Motor speed under blue filtration
Motor speed under green filtration
Motor speed under yellow filtration

Post-Lab Questions

1. Develop hypotheses predicting the efficiency of solar energy from direct sunlight against the 4 variables tested?

Direct vs indirect hypothesis = If exposed to direct sunlight, the motor will move faster than indirectly exposed Direct vs reflected hypothesis = If exposed to reflected sunlight, in addition to direct sunlight, the motor will move faster than only exposed directly Direct vs shaded hypothesis =Upon shading the solar panel, the more than panel is shaded, the slower the motor will move (EX. At...

References: Acid Mine Drainage. (2006). EPA. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from
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