Monday, February 15, 2010

What Is the Chemical Composition of Air?

There aren't any 'air' molecules, but you already knew this, right? Nearly all of the Earth's atmosphere is made up of only five gases: nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, argon, and carbon dioxide. Several other additional elements and compounds are present. Although this CRC table does not list water vapor, air can contain as much as 5% water vapor, more commonly ranging from 1-3%. The 1-5% range places water vapor as the third most common gas (which alters the other percentages accordingly). This is composition of air in percent by volume, at sea level at 15°C and 101325 Pa.
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%
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
Reference: CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, edited by David R. Lide, 1997

No comments:

Post a Comment