Separation of components of air is possible by ______________ means. a.) Chemical b.) Physical c.) Both A and B d.) None of the above.
Hint: Air is a homogeneous mixture of several gases, each having different physical properties, which includes the boiling point of each component. Their different physical properties can be used to separate the components.
Complete step by step answer: Air can be separated into its constituent gases by the process of fractional distillation. The air is first treated to get rid of impurities like dust and moisture. Then the gases are introduced into a fractional distillation column, where the temperature is brought down gradually until components start to separate out as liquid. The gas with the highest boiling point liquefies and separates out first and the process is continued until all the constituent gases are obtained as liquids. The resultant liquefied gases are of the highest purity. Carbon dioxide in the air is removed beforehand since it can solidify and clog the system. Since the property used in separation here, i.e. difference boiling point, is a physical property, the means of separation is physical. So, the correct answer is “Option B”.
Note: There are other ways to obtain components of air separately. For example, oxygen can be obtained via electrolysis of air. But most of the time they are limited to just the separation of just one of the constituent gases. Fractional distillation is the easiest process where more than one component is obtained in its purest form, andit is the most industrially used process now, although other processes are being developed.