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What is Air and Mention Its Components?

The atmosphere speeds to almost 10000 kilometres above its surface. After that, it mixes with the space. Knowing that oxygen is the vital component of Earth; atmosphere, there are various other gases involved in the composition of air. Traces of neon, methane, and water vapour have also been noticed and confirmed.

Based on the temperature, the atmosphere is subdivided into five layers:

i) troposphere - about 15 km from piles of earth surface

ii) stratosphere - about 50 km from earth’s surface, also known as the stratopause.

Iii mesosphere  - about 85 km from earth’s surface, having the coldest temperatures.

iv) thermosphere - about 600 km from piles of the earth surface, having temperatures around 2000

v) exosphere - the uppermost layer that unites outer space, having a very small pull of Earth’s gravity.

What is air?

A gas holding a lot of tiny particles is termed air. Air is almost termed as a gas containing lots of tiny particles. The particles which the air is comprised of are trimmed as aerosols. Dust and pollen are common examples of aerosols. Pollutants such as soot and smoke also carry along with air which are the emissions from the industries and automobiles. 

It goes without saying that clean and breathable air is required for the flora, fauna, and human life to prosper. As air is a basic requirement for humans, animals, and plants for breathing, the available should fulfil the basic norms as it helps in the basic process called respiration. As clean air provides the animals and plants to live successfully and to eat and grow.

The air components

Our planet earth is surrounded by air, and our existence without the air is not possible. Imagining our existence without air is unquestionable. It takes us into the deep study of what is air comprised of. Do pure substances make up the formation of air? Before researchers could confirm it, the air was supposed to be made up of pure substances, only to find out that it was a mixture of many gases. The composition of air varies from place to place. The main air components of air are as follows:

  1. Nitrogen

  2. Oxygen

  3. Argon

  4. Carbon dioxide

  5. Other gases

  • Nitrogen-  It constitutes almost 78 % of the air. Having atomic number 7, it is the chemical element possessing symbol N. Scottish physician had discovered and isolated Nitrogen in the year 1772. It is the common element in the Universe.

  • Oxygen - it constitutes almost 20 to 21 % of air. It is a colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas having atomic symbol O, atomic number 8, and atomic weight of 16. It is a vital element for the survival of human life on earth. It is termed as the third most available element in the Universe.  

  • Argon - it constitutes almost .8 to .9% of the air. It is the third noble gas in period 8 of the earth’s atmosphere. The solubility of argon equals the solubility of oxygen and is readily soluble in water as nitrogen, 2.5 times prior. Argon is an inert element and is colourless and odourless in both its liquid and gaseous forms. The atomic mass is 39.94 having an atomic number of 18.

  • Carbon dioxide - it constitutes almost .025 to .03 % of air. It is an acidic colourless gas having a density about 53 % high as compared to normal dry air. It is found naturally in the earth’s atmosphere as a trace gas. The natural sources from where the carbon dioxide is availed are volcanoes, hot springs, and geysers. It is the most important long-lived greenhouse gas in the earth’s atmosphere.

  • Other gases - the composition of the other gases may be around 0.15 tp .17 % of the air.

Considering the areas where the pollution is high, the release of carbon dioxide causes a lot of pollution; it is noted that the percentage of carbon dioxide is higher than the normal charts that comprise the air.

Now the components of air are explained in brief :

  1. Nitrogen - the process of extinguishing a candle is observed when we blow it, which means that the air contains no combustible gases. The presence of nitrogen facilitates the process as it comprises almost 78% of the earth’s atmosphere and is found in abundance on our planet earth.

  1. Oxygen - the burning of a lamp is not possible without the presence of oxygen. Even if we tried, we would come to know that burning is impossible without the presence of air. Matter which is present in air supports the process of combustion, which is oxygen. One of the major components of air around us comprises oxygen. The composition of air almost constitutes 20 to 21 % of oxygen.

  2. Carbon dioxide - the production of carbon dioxide is mainly due to the respiration process by plants and animals and partly by burning some fuels. The Earth’s atmosphere contains nearly about .03 % of carbon dioxide, fluctuating from place to place. We would find a higher amount of carbon dioxide where carbon emissions are high, mainly in industrial areas or areas prone to heavy automobile traffic.

  3. Smoke and dust particles - the burning of fuels leads to smoke forming smoke that surrounds our atmosphere. The habitation of smoke and dust particles varies from one place to another. It may also be termed as a mixture of gases that are harmful to the life existing. The dust particles and the smoke can be observed in a closed room receiving a ray of sunlight or in the dark when observed by passing a ray of light.

  4. Water vapour - the water bodies like the rivers, streams, lakes, oceans, and sea’s experience the evaporation process round the year but mainly in the summers and gets released into the air, resulting in the formation of a vapour called the water vapour, which eventually gets released in the air, constituting the air. The percentage occupation is less of the atmosphere of the earth.


The clouds in the sky which are seen moving at speeds and the movement of trees or the drops of rains changing their alignment are because of the wind which is blowing which is overblown by the direction of the air, which are all results of the earth’s atmosphere. It is interesting to see that the air is a major component that incorporates different gasses and particle

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