The weight of all the air on the earth is 11,000,000,000,000,000,000 lb !The smallest particles of the gases which make the mixture we call the air are the molecules. Amolecule is smaller than a 25-millionth of an inch.A cubic inch of air contains 420,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000 molecules. These molecules movevery rapidly amongst each other; their average speed is 550 yards a second (1130 m.p.h.). Eachmolecule collides with other molecules 50,000,000,000 times a second.(These figures are for air at normal temperature and pressure.)What is air pressure ? The force that the air exerts upon everything. By pressure we mean the forcewith which the air presses against one square inch of a wall.The unit of pressure is the
that is a pressure of about 14.5 lb per square inch, whichmeans a force of 14.5 Ib on every square inch. At sea-level the average pressure is one atmosphere.The human body has a surface area of more than a square yard (1,296 sq. ins.). So the air presses onthe body with a total force of more than 18,800 pounds!The whole earth is surrounded by a layer of air. The density is greatest at the earth’s surface. Half of all the air is found below a height of 3.5 miles, and about 95% below 12.5 miles. Yet as high as 625miles above the earth there is still extremely rarefied air. All this air presses on us; we find ourselves atthe bottom of an ocean of air!
May I pour you a glass of air?
ou will need: basin of water, 2 glasses.
Pour out a glass of air! How can that be done?Quite simply. Lay a glass in the bowl of water so that it fills with water completely. Then raise the glass, upside down, taking care that the mouthstays under the water. The glass then remains full of water. This is because of the pressure of the air of 14.5 lb per square inch on the surface of the water.The pressure forces the water up inside the glass, and is actually capable of supporting a column of water 33 feet high. Now push the second glass, B,into the water with the opening downwards. No water enters because it isfound that the air in the glass B has a greater pressurethan the air outside. Now tilt glass B under A and the air out of B rises as bubbles into A. So glassA fills with air and B fills with water. You have poured out a glass of air and atthe same time a glass of water.By tilting A under B you can fill B with air and so you can pour the air fromone glass to another. Moreover, you can pour air upwards from below. Andyou have discovered how it can be made visible merely by letting it risethrough water as bubbles, little silvery air balloons!But. . . your glass is empty. Are you so thirsty? May I pour you another glass of air?