Air is the first essential need of life on earth. Besides the need for oxygen in the air for breathing, there are many other important roles of air in human life and nature.
The uses of air and its applications include
Air is a non-visible form of matter which is free-flowing and in a gaseous state.
The composition of air and its properties can be studied in physics and chemistry.
Air consists of many gases like nitrogen, oxygen, and inert gases in varying proportions.
It is naturally clean and suitable for human and animal survival. But, due to industrialization, there is a rise in air pollution, rendering it unsafe to breathe.
So to clean air and keep up dust-free-breathing air condition, air filtration devices are used widely.
Uses of air & Its Importance in life
1. Supplies Life energy
- All living beings including plants & animals are dependent on air oxygen for the generation of valuable life energy.
- Body cells take up oxygen from the blood and generate energy from food in the form of ATP.
- This biochemical generation of ATP is an essential requirement to sustain life on earth.
2. Air conducts sound and helps in communication
- We can hear the sound of speech or cry or noise etc., only in the presence of air.
- This is because air is a good conductor of sound. Without air, we do not or cannot hear sounds.
- Even musical instruments make use of resonance and bass with the alteration of air and sound combination.
3. Air supports the water cycle
- The water cycle is a phenomenon wherein water from the soil, oceans, and seas is evaporated due to Sun’s heat and forms clouds.
- These clouds travel over the land surface, get cooled by air and shower as rain.
- This rainwater somehow again reaches the Sea and Oceans.
- So air helps transfer or move clouds towards the land and cools them to shower the rain.
Hence we can find heavy rains at places with many trees as the air gets cooled there compared to deserts.
4. Air helps in pollination of crops
- Plants produce male gametes in the form of pollen grains.
- This pollen travels from the male flower to female flowers and unites with female gametes.
- This is called pollination. This can happen within flowers of the same plant or between distant ones through air and wind.
- Thus air helps in cross-pollination in plants.
- Henceforth going into a grown farm causes nasal stuffiness as the pollen causes allergy to the nasal tract when breathed in.
This helps in agriculture as cross-pollination leads to higher yields.
5. Air maintains temperature on the land
- During summers, when there is abundant sunshine, the temperature of the earth’s surface rises rapidly but slowly on the ocean or sea surface (this is because solid surface gets heated faster than liquid water).
- So air which gets heated on the soil rises and cold air from sea surface moves on to the earth’s surface thus minimizing the rise in temperature.
6. Bring monsoon
- Monsoons are the ones by which we have rain in the rainy season.
- This is done due to the currents of wind (air) across the earth’s surface.
- Lack of wind can delay monsoons and rains, thereby depleting the water levels for drinking, irrigation, and other uses in our daily lives.
7. Air helps in transport
- Air transport by flights and helicopters has come into widespread use. Even for birds and insects, air is the chief mode of transport.
- Air transport is quicker than land and water transport.
- There is less friction, so the vehicles travel faster.
- Further, the travel is in vector mode, i.e., from one point to another in a straight direction (so a shortcut route).
- So the journey has fewer obstructions making transport very fast.
8. Aerodynamics in landing
- Parachutes and hot air balloons are used to land from the sky safely from flights in case of need.
- These flying chutes reach the land safely due to buoyancy and pressure of air upwards.
9. Air helps in drying (humidity balance)
- The land gets wet by rain and it is dried by heat and air.
- The air on the immediate wet surface is very moist.
- So these moist layers of air are replaced by less moist or dry layers of air.
- The new dry layer on the surface takes up moisture from the wet surface and the cycle continues till the surface dries.
- Thus air help in drying by the maintenance of humidity.
- Even our clothes, when washed, get dried in the same manner.
10. Air helps in normalizing Temperature
- A piece of ice melts due to air, and a hot piece of metal cools due to air.
- Here air acts as a heat conductor and tries to bring these materials to the normal surrounding temperature.
- Hence the phenomenon of ice melting and metal cooling is seen.
11. Air helps reduce friction in tires
- Another area where the importance of air is prominent is automobiles.
- Since the time of origin of automobiles, the wheels are fitted with tires.
- These tires had air-inflated tubes inside them.
With the advancement of technology, currently, tubeless tires are used.
- But they are also inflated with air. This is because air helps reduce friction between the tire surface and the road.
- This decrease in friction enables the vehicle to move fast and also minimizes fuel consumption, thereby enhancing the mileage.
- So, before going on a journey, it is advised to check the air inflation for better mileage and speed.
12. Air minimizes pollution
- Environmental issues pollution is a key concern as the current lifestyle leads to all sorts of pollution.
- Air helps to minimize air pollution, sound pollution.
- Without air, our big cities would have been vacant due to the clogging of polluted gases in the atmosphere.
- Air blows and spreads the pollution to distant places making towns and cities suitable places to live.
13. Wind power (electricity)
- Wind power is another important use of air. The flow of air at high speeds is called wind.
- The wind is used to generate power by the installation of wind turbines.
- These turbines rotate under the influence of wind and generate electric energy.
- This electric energy is nonpolluting and can be generated at any place on earth for domestic use.
- So besides sunlight, even wind is a free resource for the generation of energy.
14. Importance of air pressure
- Air pressure is important for activities like spraying (pesticides), spreading (in sterilization by autoclave), forming of droplets, etc.
- Air helps liquid and other powder forms to disperse into fine droplets or particles.
- This air pressure has many applications.
- In sterilization by using an autoclave, saturated steam under pressure spreads into cavities of material to help effective microbial kill.
15. Negative air pressure or Vacuum pressure
- Vacuum or suction pressure is created when the air is removed from the cavity or pipe.
- This is useful for water pumping like in bore wells, vacuum cleaners, etc.
- The absence of air creates an intense negative pressure which forces the water to move up inside the vacuum space.
- This is how water is pumped from bore wells and sump to the surface or top of the buildings.
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