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Posted by on Feb 9, 2015 in TellMeWhy |

What Is Air Made of?

What Is Air Made of?

Air is the mixture of gases in our atmosphere. It is mainly nitrogen (seventy eight percent) and oxygen (twenty one percent).

The rest is chiefly argon. There are also tiny amounts of carbon dioxide, neon, helium, hydrogen, ozone, krypton, methane and xenon. It also contains water. It is this which forms rain clouds.

However, the amount of oxygen isn’t the same everywhere you go. The farther you move away from sea level, the less oxygen you’ll find.

For example, there’s less oxygen at the peaks of tall mountains. That’s why mountain climbers often have to use oxygen tanks to ascend to the world’s highest peaks, such as Mount Everest.

Besides these gases, there is something else in the air we breathe: tiny microscopic particles called aerosols. Not just the aerosol that comes from spray cans that you are all probably familiar with but this talk will focus on any liquid or solid particles that are suspended in the air, which is the definition of an aerosol.

These tiny particles come from many sources and can impact the Earth’s climate and human health in ways we are just starting to understand.

Factories and house produce smoke and dust which goes into the air. These can be harmful and are known as air pollution.

Almost all the living things on Earth need air. Animals breathe to obtain the oxygen they need to stay alive. Plants take carbon dioxide out of the air for photosynthesis.

So even though you can’t see all these gases and microscopic particles around you, they’re there and they make up a substance that your body needs.

Content contributed by Kevin Dawes, residing in Pendleton, Umatilla County, Oregon, USA