Air is one of the primary necessities for supporting life on earth. Air, water and soil are the primary needs for sustaining life. Try holding your breath for a few seconds. You can do that for a maximum of twenty- twenty five seconds or maximum of thirty seconds.
Beyond that it is impossible for a human to hold his breath. Then suddenly a pain of breathlessness grasps over the entire body. Our body chokes. It leaps out to grab air. We behave just like a fish out of water. This will be the condition if there is no air on earth. We can survive for a few second maximum.
Not only breathing. Air helps us to hear sounds. Without air sound cannot travel. It needs a medium to travel. Without air the earth would be a soundless place. Air is made up of many components. It contains different gases, solid particles and also water vapour.
The mixture of different gases comes to different use. Dirt and suspended particulate matter form the solid part and water vapour form the liquid part.
The composition of air is divided into the following
- Nitrogen- 78%
- Oxygen- 20%
- Carbon dioxide- 0.04%
- Argon- 0.93%
- Neon- 0.0018%
- Helium- 0.00053%
- Methane- 0.00018%
Nitrogen forms the maximum of the air. Oxygen comes next. But day by day due to increased pollution and deforestation the levels of carbon-dioxide is increasing to a scary percentage.
If matters continue to be like this then it not long when human population will face its extinction. Problems like global warming, melting of glaciers, epidemics, famines, droughts will kick in, in no time.
The air within the earth is contained as a giant gas ball called the atmosphere. The atmosphere is divided into layer. Each layer has its own characteristic property.
- Exosphere: 700 to 10,000 km (440 to 6,200 miles)
- Thermosphere: 80 to 700 km (50 to 440 miles)
- Mesosphere: 50 to 80 km (31 to 50 miles)
- Stratosphere: 12 to 50 km (7 to 31 miles)
- Troposphere: 0 to 12 km (0 to 7 miles)
The air layer also saves us from various other things. The meteor showers and outer space particles frequently get bombarded on the earth’s upper layers of air. It frequently hits it but due to friction faced by the various layers of the atmosphere it gets burnt up and changes into tiny particles of dirt. Hence the atmosphere also saves us from getting hit by asteroids, comets and meteors
Not only this, the atmosphere contains another special layer called the ozone layer. It protects us from the harmful ultraviolet radiations of the sun. If ultraviolet radiations were allowed to enter the earth then if would fall on human bodies and cause different types of skin diseases and other problems.
One such problem is skin cancer which is increasing in recent years due to ozone layer depletion, also known as ozone hole
Trees are the main component to support life on earth. They purify the air. They provide us clean oxygen rich air.
Air pollution is one of the chief curses of modern science. Gone are the days of pristine purity. Thanks to nuclear explosions and industrial wastes, the air we breathe is getting more and more dangerous for our health. We can feel this without having to read scientific reports.
Often as we come to Calcutta or some other industrial city from the country side or from a less industrialized area, we ourselves experience breathing trouble. Our eyes burn and our noses get dirtier.
Air is used in many products nowadays. Air is used to fill tires of vehicles. Vehicles cannot run if the tires run flat. Air is filled into boats and rafters for river rafting. They are popular as water sports. Being light it glides very easily on water. Air is nowadays used in architecture as well.
Air is used to make the pneumatic structures. These are temporary types structures with an air filled membranous ceiling. These are made with tubes filled with air. It makes a durable, economic, light and faster type of building structure.
Air is used to push propellers of the windmills. Air is an important medium to generate electricity using wind energy. It is a renewable resource. The electricity produced by it is eco friendly. High velocity winds turn the blades of windmill to produce electricity.
Air is also a factor needed for incineration. Without air fire cannot burn. It needs continuous oxygen supply. Hence in power plants top generate electricity by burning coal, need of adequate air is an important necessity
Air is used in hot air balloons. There is a balloon filled with hydrogen or helium gas with an attached basket. This basket contains the passengers. The height of the balloon is adjusted by increasing or decreasing the burner flame that is providing the hot air.
Not only this, air is used in many products.
These products form the major parts of our lifestyle today-
- Fluorescent lights- A fluorescent lamp tube is filled with a gas containing low pressure mercury vapor and argon, xenon, neon, or krypton. The pressure inside the lamp is around 0.3% of atmospheric pressure.
- Incandescent bulbs– the filament of the bulb gets so hot that it glows, producing light. The filament needs to be protected from oxygen in the air, so it is inside the bulb, and the air in the bulb is either removed (a vacuum) or more often, replaced with a gas that doesn’t affect anything, like neon or argon.
- Automatic tooth brush- automatic tooth brushes use a jet of air and water to draw out the food particles sticking to the teeth.
- Vacuum cleaner– vacuum cleaner use the negative effect of air. It creates vacuum by sucking out the air. And in this process it cleans the dirt sticking to the surface.
- Electrical Fan– just like windmills electrical fan utilize the velocity of their blades to cut through air and produce calm and pleasing winds, the blades rotate and produce a whirlwind.
- Cooking oven– the gas that burns on the end of cooking ovens need air to keep burning. It needs a continuous supply of oxygen for its combustion and producing adequate heat to felicitate cooking,
- Deodorant spray cans– deodorant spray cans are filled was earlier used to be filled with CFC gas. Now they are filled with environment friendly gar at a high pressure. When the nozzle is pressed the gas comes out along with some perfume.
- Refrigerators– refrigerators cool the air inside them to preserve the food inside. It lowers the temperature of the air inside the refrigerator with the help of some temperature absorbing agents and the air temperature drops inside thus preserving the foods.
So we see that air is an important factor in all our lives. Hence it should be preserved for future use. We should not waster it and try to purify it of its impurity. Only then can we have a better tomorrow.