Importance of air lies in the fact that it is the source of life on Earth.
There is no life in our Solar system without it, as seen on other planets.
The uses of air and its applications include
- Provides living energy
- Supports water cycle
- Conducts sound and help in transmission
- Facilitates pollination in plants
- Balances the temperature on the earth.
- Brings monsoon.
- Air transport.
- Encourages drying
- Generate wind energy
- Reduce friction in tires on the road
- Facilitates buoyancy and landing
- Minimize air pollution.
Hence air is a natural virtue on earth which sustains life.
Air is a non-visible form of matter which is free-flowing and in the gaseous state.
The composition of air and its properties can be studied in physics and chemistry.
Air consists of many gases like nitrogen, oxygen, 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 for breathing.
So to avail clean air and keep up dust free breathing air condition and air filtration devices are used widely.
Uses of air / Importance of air in life
1. Essential supplier of energy: All living beings including plants & animals are dependent on air oxygen for 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 is a conducting medium for sound: 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 the music instruments make use of resonance and bass with the alteration of air and sound combination.
3. Air supports water cycle: Water cycle is a phenomenon wherein water from the soil, oceans and seas is evaporated due to Sun’ s heat and form clouds.
These clouds travel on to the land surface, get cooled by air and shower as rain. This rainwater somehow again reaches the Sea and Oceans. So air helps in transfer or movement of clouds towards the land and also cools them to shower the rain.
Hence we can find heavy rains at places of many trees as the air gets cooled there in comparison to deserts.
4. Air helps in pollination of crops: Plants produce male gametes in the form of pollen grains. This pollen travels from male flower to female flower and unites with female gametes. This is called pollination. This can happen within flowers of the same plant or between distant ones through air wind. Thus air helps in cross-pollination in plants. Henceforth going into a grown farm causes nasal stuffiness as the pollen cause allergy to nasal tract when breathed in. This helps in agriculture as cross-pollination leads to higher yield.
5. Air maintains temperature on the land: During summers when there is abundant sunshine, the temperature of earth’s surface rises rapidly but slowly on 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 surface thus minimizing the rise in temperature.
6. Bring monsoon: Monsoons are the ones by which we have rains in the rainy season. This is done due to currents of wind (air) across the earth surface. Lack of wind can delay monsoons and rains and thereby deplete 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 shortcut route). So the journey has fewer obstructions making transport very fast.
8. Aerodynamics in landing: Parachutes, hot air balloons are used to land from flights in case of need safely.
These flying chutes reach the land safely due to buoyancy and pressure of air upwards.
9. Air helps in drying (humidity balance) Land gets wet by rains 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 gets dried in the same manner.
10. Air helps in normalizing Temperature: A piece of ice melts due to air and hot piece of metal cool 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 automobile emergence, their wheels are filled with air inside the rubber tubes of wheels.
With the advancement of technology, we have self-sealing tubes, tubeless tires, etc. But they are not airless tires. This is because air inflates tires and helps reduce friction. The decrease in friction enables easy movement of the vehicle.
12. Air minimizes pollution: Environmental issues pollution is a key concern as the current lifestyle leads to all sort of pollution. Air helps to minimize air pollution, sound pollution. Without air, our big cities would have been vacant due to clogging of polluted gases in the atmosphere. Air blows and spreads the pollution to distance places making towns and cities suitable places to live.
13. Wind power (electricity): Wind power is another important uses of air. The flow of air at high speeds is called wind. 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. Vacuum or suction 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 cleaner, etc. The absence of air creates 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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