What are the most common gas types?
Argon makes up approximately 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere. It is the third noble gas. Argon is chemically inert and is colourless and odourless in both its liquid and gas forms. Argon is used when an inert atmosphere is required. This is needed in the production of some reactive elements including titanium. Argon is used by welders to protect the area of welding. It is also used in incandescent light bulbs.
Oxygen is colourless, tasteless and odourless. It is a gas and is vital to all living organisms. Animals take up oxygen and convert it to carbon dioxide. Plants use this carbon dioxide and then produce oxygen which is returned to the atmosphere.
21% of our atmosphere is made up of oxygen.
Helium is an inert gas. It is the second lightest element and has no colour, smell or taste. Helium becomes liquid at −268.9 °C. In order for helium to become a solid pressure of 25 atmospheres is required as well as a temperature of -272 °C.
Helium is used for welding various metals, to pressurize fuel tanks for rocket propulsion. It is used as a lifting gas for balloons carrying meteorological equipment.
This is the lightest element. Hydrogen is a gas – colourless, odourless, tasteless and very combustible. It is non-toxic. Hydrogen makes up approximately 75% of all matter in the universe.
Hydrogen is used to make ammonia for fertilisers as well as cyclohexane and methanol used in the production of plastics and pharmaceutical products.
Nitrogen is a gas that has no taste, smell or colour. It is a gas that is found in all living matter. Nitrogen is the most common element in the earth’s atmosphere.
Nitrogen is used in fertilisers, dyes, explosives, nylon, and nitric acid. Nitrogen needs to be reacted with hydrogen in order to produce ammonia.
If people are exposed to high concentrations of nitrogen, it is harmful to health.
Because it displaces oxygen in an enclosed space, it can build up to dangerous levels.
Approximately 78% of our atmosphere is made up of nitrogen. Nitrogen is essential for all life.
Acetylene is a hydrocarbon and is the simplest alkyne. It is a colourless gas with a pleasant odour.
Acetylene is used as a fuel and a chemical building block. It is commonly handled as a solution due to the fact that in its pure form it is unstable.
One major use of acetylene is in the fabrication industry. It is used for welding, cutting, brazing, hardening and texturing.
Acetylene is inflammable but it has the potential to explode in both liquid and solid form when under pressure of approximately 15 pounds per square inch.
Carbon dioxide is very important as part of the earth’s air. It is non-flammable and colourless. At normal pressure and temperature, it is a gas.
Carbon dioxide is used in fire extinguishers and for inflating life rafts and jackets. It is used as a refrigerant and for blasting coal. It is helpful in promoting plant growth in greenhouses.
The atmosphere of earth is known as air. It is the layer of gases that surround the planet. The atmosphere protects life on earth – it creates pressure which allows for liquid water to exist on the surface of the earth. It absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun and allows the earth surface to be warm. It also reduces the temperature extremes of day and night. Air is mainly made up of nitrogen and oxygen.