The Importance Of Air

 

Air is an important part of several essential cycles that also make life on Earth possible.

We commonly use term "air" to mean "oxygen", but air actually consists of oxygen and a mixture of other gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide.

The organisms living in the soil respire through oxygen present in this air. These plants and animals are interdependent , they in turn maintain a balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere.

Air plays a vital role in recycling one of Earth's most important substances: carbon.

Animals and humans release carbon dioxide into the air while breathing. Plants extract carbon dioxide from the air and use it to produce energy, through a process called photosynthesis.

The two reasons plants need is air to photosynthesize (make food) and to breathe. Plants need to breathe for converting food into energy.

Air in water:

Air is also present in water. Aquatic animals breathe the air which remains dissolved in water.

When water is boiled, air bubbles can be seen coming up from the bottom of the pan. This simple activity shows that air is present in water.

This is  a very interesting activity to show presence of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen in air:

Take a candle, a glass tumbler and a bowl which is filled with water. Keep the candle upright in the pan and light the candle. Cover the candle with the glass tumbler. Observe how that the candle extinguishes after some time.

This happens because oxygen in the air inside the glass tumbler is consumed in burning the candle. All the oxygen gets converted into carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide does not support burning and hence candle stops burning.

Once the candle stops burning, some amount of water is sucked inside the tumbler. This happens because the volume of carbon dioxide is less than the volume of oxygen which was displaced.

It is also seen that a lot of air is still inside the tumbler. A major portion of this air is nothing but nitrogen. Nitrogen too does not support burning.

Breathing and respiration

Breathing is the mechanical action of getting air in and out of the lungs. It is the physical process where you inhale and exhale air in and out of your lung. Breathing is carried out by expanding and contracting the ribcage , movement of diaphragm  which is a thin layer of muscle in our  abdominal area. When the diaphragm moves downwards it pulls air into the body. Once air, containing the valuable oxygen (about 20%) is inside the lungs, the oxygen is transported, through bloodstream, to the cells all over the body, where respiration takes place.

Respiration is a chemical reaction where Oxygen is used to breakdown Glucose in order to generate energy which is then used by the cell to function.

Breathing

Respiration

Movement of air in and out of lungs

Breaking down of food to release energy

Muscles are involved

Only cells are involved

No energy is released

Energy is released

happens in lungs

Takes place in entire body