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Air Composition Properties – Definiton, and FAQs

Aug 13, 2022

In this article, we’ll learn about Air composition Properties, Definitions and FAQs. Let’s begin.

Air is one of the five essential components that let life grow on Earth, the only planet that consists of life. But, have you ever seen air? You might not have seen air, but you must have felt its presence in many ways.


Have you ever flown kites? What makes the kites fly in the sky? Isn’t it air? You must have noticed clothes flying in the air when you hang them to get dry. Leaves of the tree rustle when air blows past them. When you open the switch of the fan, the pages of the books begin fluttering. There are so many examples around you when you can feel the presence of air.

But do you know air consists of many gasses? What is the chemical composition of air? What are the properties of air? Do you know about air chemistry? What is air composition?


This article will let you solve all these mysteries related to air.

What is Air Chemistry?

Earth is surrounded by a vast blanket of air called the atmosphere. All living beings depend on the layers of the atmosphere for their survival. It supplies the air you breathe and safeguards everyone from the dangerous effects of the Sun’s rays. Without this protection cover, you would be scorched alive by the heat of the Sun during the night. Therefore, it is this mass of air that has created the temperature on the Earth liveable.


Air is a concoction of gasses surrounding the Earth. The variable composition of the air results from the planet’s biological and chemical history. It has been present on Earth since its initial formation. In the air, various gasses like hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, chlorine, argon, etc. These are generally coiled as the composition of air.

Air as the Earth’s atmosphere accommodates the clouds that frame the rain cycle and obeys as the agent that shapes wind force effectively. Its presence is indispensable to all animal and plant life and interacts with non-living segments of Earth.


What is Air Composition?

The gasses that form the air composition are present all around the atmosphere. The two main gasses present in the air are oxygen and nitrogen. Nitrogen trumps up the highest percentage of air, whereas oxygen is second to it.

Air also contains small amounts of carbon dioxide, argon, water vapor, etc. The mixture of gasses containing nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, argon, and water vapor gives you pure air, or clean air, which is good for you. In addition to the normal constituents, helium, ozone, hydrogen, and other gasses are also found in marginal quantities. Besides these gasses, minute dust particles are also present in the air.


What is the Chemical Composition of Air?

The different types of gasses in the atmosphere that move from one place to another are called air. The prime gasses present in the atmosphere are

Nitrogen (1%):-

Nitrogen presents in large amounts in the atmosphere. The plant needs nitrogen, but they take it from roots, unlike animals. It is highly inert and stable. Thus it provides an atmosphere that is not high in reactivity and doesn’t cause rapid changes in compounds when interacting with air.


Oxygen (~21%):-

It is required by every living creature on Earth for survival. Without it, they will be dead. Plants give us oxygen, so plants are very important for every living creature on Earth. It is a much-needed compound for living beings. Also, it supports combustion, which is mostly in our favor.

Carbon dioxide and Other Gasses (~1%):-

Carbon dioxide is released by living creatures when they exhale. Still, carbon dioxide levels are increasing as factories release harmful gasses into the atmosphere, disturbing the natural balance.


The table below lets you know what is the composition of air.

Nitrogen (N2)78.084%
Oxygen (O2)20.9476%
Argon (Ar)0.934%
Carbon dioxide (CO2)0.04%
Neon (Ne)0.001818%
Methane (CH4)0.0002%
Helium (He)0.000524%
Krypton (Kr)0.000114%
Hydrogen (H2)0.00005%
Xenon (Xe)0.0000087%
Ozone (O3)0.000007%
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)0.000002%
Iodine (I2)0.000001%
Carbon Monoxide (CO)trace
Ammonia (NH3)trace

Besides these gaseous components, air also possesses industrial gasses, water vapor, smoke particles, dust, pollen grains, microorganisms, fungal spores, etc.

As per air chemistry, the chemical composition of air is

  • The primary element of air is nitrogen gas.
  • Trace gasses include methane, neon, krypton, helium, hydrogen, ozone, xenon, and many other elements and compounds.
  • Nitrogen, water vapor, oxygen, argon, and carbon dioxide account for about 99% of the composition of air.
  • The composition of air stretches from one place to the next and even extends depending on day and night.

Properties of Air

Some major Properties of Air are:

1. Air is Colorless and Odorless:

Air does not have any color of its own. It neither has any essence of its own. Therefore, it is transparent and fragrance-free. But sometimes, it smells like an aroma or stinks when some gasses mix.

2. Can Only Feel:

Air can only feel like the wind or breeze. You can’t see or taste it but can only breathe it. The air that goes into your body carries oxygen, and the air you exhale carries carbon dioxide.

3. Air is Made Up of Gasses:

Air consists of several gasses like oxygen, nitrogen, argon, water vapor, carbon dioxide, etc. The components might vary according to local situations like factories, volcanic eruptions, and some human activities.

4. Air Exerts Pressure:

Air particles can flow in all directions and exert force, called pressure. For instance, the closer you move toward Earth, the atmospheric pressure increases.

The air force, or pressure, also exists as air resistance when an object tries to move parallel to air. It is also called drag.

5. Air Occupies Space:

Air, when blown, fills up the space. So, it occupies space. For instance, when you fill a balloon with air, it expands. The more air you blow in it, the more it will expand. It happens due to the volume occupied by air.

6. Air Has Mass:

It is hard to believe that air consists of mass. But it’s true! For instance, when you move toward higher altitude areas, you will feel hard to breathe. It is due to the Earth’s gravitational force. Because of this force, the air present on the Earth’s surface is denser than at high altitudes.

7. Air Expands:

One of the properties of air is that it tends to expand. When air is subject to heat, it expands and inhabits more space. The more it inflates, the thinner it becomes.


Air is an important form of an inexhaustible natural resource essential for survival. In a sphere without air, there would be no animal or plant life, no protection from dangerous solar radiation, no fire as burning needs oxygen, and great temperature variation.

Air is a physical material. It is a mixture of many gasses that exist in the atmosphere and has their weight. It applies pressure on the Earth’s surface. The weight of air per unit area of the Earth is known as air pressure. And atmospheric pressure is an important factor in producing weather changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the importance of air?

Air is essential for the survival and continuity of life as its constituents are needed for various biological processes. The mixture of gasses present in the air has different functions. They are:

  • Oxygen and carbon dioxide gasses help in the respiration process of living beings.
  • Nitrogen is also helpful in some biological processes.
  • The air is necessary to burn things like wood, fuels, organic wastes, etc.
  • Forest fires also require a lot of oxygen to erupt.
  • Air is required for photosynthesis, where green plants convert carbon dioxide to glucose in sunlight.
  • Many marine animals use carbonates solvated in seawater to form their shells.

2. How does air help in controlling climate?

Air is a bad conductor of heat. The atmosphere acts as a shielding blanket for living organisms in the given below ways:

  • It maintains the Earth’s temperature all the time. And hence, control the greenhouse effect process.
  • Certain gasses help prevent you from getting affected by the sudden increase in Earth’s temperature. They prevent the heat from breaking out during nighttime. This way, Earth’s average temperature keeps steady.

3. What is the role of air in bringing rain?

Air also carries water vapor. The amount of water it carries and the temperatures of the air determine how much water can exist as vapor in the air. As more vapor is added, the air cannot hold any more water and consequently begins to rain.

4. What causes the movement of air?

The motion of air across the Earth regulates the weather and climate of all realms. The Sun’s radiation heats the sea, land, and air. The water and land frames also heat the air, creating it less dense. Here, hot air expands and creates low pressure over that area, and cold air vanishes and creates an area of high pressure. Air, similar to all liquids, likes to keep going at equal pressure. Therefore, to do so, cool air flows from high-pressure zones into areas of lower pressure.

Air Composition Properties


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