The chemical formula is a symbolic representation of the available compositions of various elements present in an atom or molecule. For this symbolic representation, we use numbers, parenthesis, and chemical element symbols. It is different from structural formulas.
What is Air?
The atmosphere of the earth is filled with a mixture of gases. It is air, which helps animals, plants, and human beings to live. Air surrounding us is a mixture of several gases ranging from nitrogen in larger quantities to argon which constitutes a minor percentage of air. This composition is not fixed and exact; it is just an approximate value and changes from place to place. Apart from this, a gas occurring in different places in the air has different effects. For example, ozone that is far from the earth’s surface is a protection to the earth from the harmful UV rays, and if the same ozone occurs nearer to the earth’s atmosphere, it is a threatening issue to the environment.
We have various levels of the atmosphere called the troposphere, mesosphere, stratosphere, thermosphere, etc. Let's know more about the air and learn what the chemical formula for air is.
Discovery of Air
Before going to know about the chemical formula of the air, let's have a quick recap on the discovery of air. Jan Baptist van Helmont in 1640, identified that a gas, CO2, was present in the atmosphere. Later, in 1674, John Mayow discovered that the air is a mixture of gases. Thereafter, Joseph Black, Daniel Rutherford, and Joseph Priestley found carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen in the air, respectively.
Sir Henry Cavendish, John William Strut, etc., continued experimenting on air to understand more about the air, like its properties, formula, benefits, forecasting the scarcity, effects of pollution, etc., and much more.
What is the Composition and Chemical Formula for Air?
Air is a mixture of various gases present in the atmosphere. The composition majorly includes nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. The proportions of all gases present in the air are listed below.
Nitrogen - N2 - 78.084%
Oxygen - O2 - 20.9476%
Argon - Ar - 0.934%
Carbon Dioxide - CO2 - 0.0314%
Neon - Ne - 0.001818%
Methane - CH4 - 0.0002%
Helium - He - 0.000524%
Krypton - Kr - 0.000114%
Iodine - I2 - 0.000001%
Hydrogen - H2 - 0.00005%
Xenon - Xe - 0.0000087%
Ozone - O3 - 0.000007%
Nitrogen Dioxide - NO2 - 0.000002%
Carbon Monoxide - CO - trace
Ammonia - NH3 - trace
The air has no chemical formula. As it contains various gases, the chemical formula of air can't be determined. But, because of the large proportion of nitrogen in the air, its chemical formula can be used.
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Even though the air is used for breathing, we can't mention the chemical formula. But the air has 79% of nitrogen, 20% of oxygen, etc. So, the properties constituted by all the elements of air are applicable to air.
Air Pollution and Measures
Air pollution is caused when the pollutants enter the air and alter the normal air composition. Combusting fossil fuels like coal to generate electricity releases oxides of nitrogen and sulphur. They cause damage to the eyes, lungs and lead to chronic diseases. Factories release PM 2.5 and 10 which also irritates the eyes and causes smog and breathlessness. Burning the waste openly without a proper disposal system also emits lots of pollutants into the atmosphere. Following are some of the measures to control air pollution:
The government has issued air quality standards through a notification by NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards) and also set the sectoral emission limits.
The government has issued a notification to scrap old vehicles and all the new vehicles should follow BS-VI norms of emission.
Air pollution devices are installed in all the major industrial corridors to monitor the pollution levels.
Promotion of public transport, shifting from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources can reduce air pollution to a large extent.
The government has launched the air quality index and every state should try to maintain the ambient air quality by following these guidelines and regulations.
Stubble burning to clear the land is to be replaced with machines that cut the grass to the root level and avoid a lot of pollution, especially in the areas of Punjab and Haryana.
Hence, the air is the life of all living beings which has various components. But the air doesn't have a chemical formula. Its major components are carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen. Argon and other gases have their significance in the atmosphere.