What is Air?
- The invisible gaseous medium around us, mainly constituted by oxygen and nitrogen is known as air.
- It is through this air that we are able to carry out the process of respiration.
- Air is transparent and colourless.
- It occupies space and is present all around us.
Is Air Present Everywhere Around Us?
- Air is present everywhere around us.
- It has no colour and one can see through it.
- Our earth is surrounded by a thin layer of air.
- This layer extends up to many kilometres abole the surface of the earth and is called atmosphere.
- As higher in the atmosphere, the air gets rarer.
Atmosphere: The thin blanket of air surrounding the surface of the Earth is called the atmosphere
What is Air Made Up Of?
Air is a mixture of a number of gases and some other particles such as:Water Vapour
- Air contains water vapour which helps maintain the water cycle.
- When air comes in contact with cold surfaces, it is these vapours that turn into or condense into droplets of water.
- The amount of water vapor in the air from place to place and time to time.
- At a normal 30°C for instance can contain say upto 4% of water vapour.
- It is the oxygen in the air that helps humans and animals carry out the respiration process.
- Oxygen is also required for fire to keep burning. If we were to keep an inverted tumbler covering a burning candle, the candle will go off in a few seconds because of the lack of oxygen-containing air due to the tumbler.
- Dry air is said contain about 21% of oxygen.
- Dry air is said to contain about 78% of nitrogen.
- This component of air helps plants in their growth process.
Question for Study Notes: Air Around Us
Try yourself: What is the main constituent of air that helps in the process of respiration?
- Oxygen is the main constituent of air that helps in the process of respiration.
- Humans and animals require oxygen to carry out the respiration process.
- During respiration, oxygen is taken in by the lungs and transported to the cells in the body, where it is used for various metabolic processes.
- Oxygen is also necessary for the combustion process, as it supports the burning of fuels.
- If there is a lack of oxygen, fires cannot sustain and candles would go off.
- The presence of oxygen in the air is crucial for the survival of living organisms and for various chemical reactions to occur.
Note: The solution explains the role of oxygen in the process of respiration and its importance in supporting combustion. It does not mention any specific details from the passage and is written in a general and informative manner.
- Carbon dioxide is a very small (only 0.04%) component of air and is a byproduct of respiration by humans and animals.
- Fire also uses up oxygen to burn and then produces carbon dioxide and a few other gases upon burning.
- This is why we feel suffocated if there is something burning inside a room. This happens due to an excess of carbon dioxide as the fire continues to burn in the room, choking out oxygen in the air.
Dust and Smoke
- Smoke is another component given out when fire burns.
- It is very harmful and adds fine dust particles and a few other gases to the air.
- This is why industries use long chimneys in order to release this smoke in the air.
- But as we know this act is what contributes to air pollution in the environment.
- Air also contains very fine dust particles which can be seen when a beam of light enters a dark room.
- The tiny particles flying around in the beam are actually these dust particles.
- It is hence advised by our elders to breathe only through our nose and not our mouths so that the fine hair and mucus in the nose is able to filter out these dust particles so that we don’t inhale them and harm ourselves.
How Does Oxygen become available to animals and plants Living in Water and Soil?
It is often asked how animals under the soil and in water are able to breathe. The answer is that both soil and water have air dissolved in them.
- When we heat or boil water, we often notice that bubbles start to form. These bubbles are in fact, an indication that air molecules are present in the water. When water is heated, the air dissolved in it escapes first followed by water itself getting converted into vapour. This is how animals living underwater are able to respire.
Air bubbles can be seen when water is heated
- To see the presence of water in the soil, we take a small lump of it in a beaker and add water to it. We see bubbles coming out of it which as we discussed, is proof of the existence of air molecules in the soil. As water is added, it displaces the water molecules in the soil which we see in the form of bubbles. Animals make use of this air to breathe under the soil. Some animals make holes and burrows in the soil to help make pathways for air to enter the soil. When it rains heavily, earthworms and other animals come out of the soil because these pathways get blocked by the water and they need to come outside to find the air to breathe.
Air particles present in soil
How is the Oxygen in the Atmosphere Replaced?
It is common knowledge that humans and animals can’t survive without plants because they produce oxygen via photosynthesis. The balance of oxygen in the environment is thus maintained through the respiratory processes of plants and animals.
Question for Study Notes: Air Around Us
Try yourself: How does fire contribute to the presence of carbon dioxide in the air?
- Fire uses up oxygen to burn.
- As fire burns, it produces carbon dioxide and a few other gases.
- Therefore, fire contributes to the presence of carbon dioxide in the air by consuming oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide.
The importance of Air
- The air which is in motion is known as wind. The wind is important for the rotation of windmills which help in drawing water from tube wells.
- They also help in running flour mills.
- Windmills are also used to produce electricity.
- Insects and birds are only able to fly because of the presence of air
- Boats, yachts, aeroplanes and parachutes also need air to sail and glide
- Air has a very important role to play in the water cycle as well.
A windmill in action
- It also helps in distributing the pollen and seeds from flowers of various plants.
Air helps birds and insects fly