The air that we breathe – Gases in the environment


Tony Wheatley explores the role of gases in the environment, both naturally and from an industrial perspective.

The industrial gas industry has enjoyed continuous growth worldwide over many decades and the most plausible reason, is that the products delivered enable or enhance many industrial processes. Gas applications aim to match the chemical and physical properties of gases, with process difficulties that various industries are faced with.

All of the components of the Earth’s atmosphere
are exploited as raw materials for use in a wide range of applications.

Oxygen in the environment
Nearly all living things need oxygen to stay alive: it combines with other chemicals in plant and animal cells to produce the energy needed for life processes. Oxygen is also needed to make most fuels burn, by combining with the fuels in a chemical reaction and releasing heat. It is non-flammable, odourless, colourless in the gas phase but condenses to a pale blue liquid when cooled sufficiently under pressure.

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