A Closer Look at What is Air Made Of


what is air made of

What is air made up of? This may seem like a silly question, but the answer will surprise you. Air consists of both, (mostly) water and (mostly) carbon dioxide. We breathe it in on a daily basis, but how much do you know about what makes it?

What is Air Made Of

A close up of a green plant

The composition of the atmosphere depends on what is up above us. When you go up in the sky, there are several things to look out for. The sun is shining through the clouds, which makes it brighter than everything else, but there are other light sources to look at as well, such as the moon and the stars. If you could see all the atmosphere up to the horizon, you would be able to see all the sky.

In the middle of the night, you can actually see all the clouds above as well as the stars, which are shooting stars. So what is up there besides all those beautiful colors? Well, one of the main constituents of the atmosphere is water vapor. Clouds are mostly composed of water vapor, with a small amount of sodium, sulfur dioxide, and ammonia floating around. Of all those elements, nitrogen is by far the most common gas emitted into the atmosphere from a cloud.

When water vapor is breathed in by a person, his lungs are filled with oxygen. This process of breathing is called respiration. If someone stood beside you and breathed in all the oxygen that was present in the air, he would die in minutes. The average person breathes in about one-half liter of water vapor per minute.

There are two more components of the atmosphere that are important to know about. The first one is called Ozone. Air pollution is caused by the amount of Ozone that is present in the atmosphere. The sun will create enough Ozone to pollute the Earth’s atmosphere for millions of years, but only a very small amount of ozone is actually visible. The visible ozone layer is located above the Earth’s tropical atmosphere where it helps block ultraviolet light from reaching the Earth’s surface.

The other component of the atmosphere that we need to be aware of is referred to as Particulates, or “Gases”. All living matter has molecules and each of those molecules are composed of a proton and an electron. Organic gases consist of a single atom or molecule, whereas inorganic gases consist of multiple atoms and molecules. There are several different types of ALCOxygen, including Carbon Dioxide, Rubidium, Bromine, Hydrocarbon Gases, Nucleic Acid, Radon, and Phosphorus.

Breathing in pure oxygen is what allows people to breathe. As mentioned above, when people breathe in oxygen they create fewer of the pollutants mentioned above. The amount of oxygen in the air can be depleted though various means, most commonly through respiration. Through respiration, various species of animals, plants, and bacteria breath in and breathe out oxygen. This is how plants get oxygen, while animals and bacteria get oxygen through eating meat, which releases methane gas into the air. However, plants only breathe in carbon dioxide, while animals and bacteria breath out both carbon dioxide and oxygen.

End Note

A man reaching into the air to catch a frisbee

In order to get more of the above gases to enter the lungs and to breathe, one must breath in much water vapor. Earth’s atmosphere is mostly made up of water vapor, with some gaseous air and a small amount of solid matter. We breathe in gaseous air, which is often referred to as “the odor of exhaust”, but the majority of the odor comes from the gaseous part of the air, not from the solid matter. In order to breathe in less water vapor, one must drink much water.

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