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Separation of Nitrogen and Oxygen in the Atmosphere

The Atmosphere is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% of other gases. These two gases can be separated by using fractional distillation of liquid air. Nitrogen and oxygen can both be liquefied as air is filtered to remove dust. It is then cooled in periods until it reaches -200C where the gas becomes a liquid. Once water vapour condenses, and is removed using absorbent filters, carbon dioxide is frozen and -79C and is removed. This leaves oxygen which liquefies at 183C and nitrogen which liquefies at 196C. Once liquid nitrogen and oxygen are liquefied we can separate them using fractional distillation.

The liquefied gases are passed into the bottom of a fractionating column where the column is warmer at the bottom than it is at the top. The liquid nitrogen boils at the bottom of the column and the gaseous nitrogen rises to the top and is piped off and stored. Liquid oxygen then collects at the bottom of the column and is mixed with argon which forms 0.9% of the air. A second process of fractional distillation is then used to separate argon and oxygen.

There are many uses for nitrogen and oxygen when separated alone. Some examples include using liquid nitrogen to freeze food, using gaseous nitrogen to increase its shelf life of prepacked food, oil tankers are flushed with gaseous nitrogen to reduce the chance of explosion and oxygen is used in the manufacture of steel and in medicine. While there are many positive outcomes of separating nitrogen and oxygen there are also negative outcomes. With the carbon dioxide, other gases and water vapour left over they could be very harmful to the earths atmosphere.

Separation of Gold in the Lithosphere

The Lithosphere is mainly made up oxygen, silicon, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium. Gold is a mineral which is commonly from the ore found in the lithosphere. Gold can be separated in a number of ways and the combination of many processes can be used to extract pure gold. There are also many concepts used to separate gold. One of these is boiling points in the process of using heat and melting. Froth floatation is also used to separate gold, as the principle uses the organic chemicals in the gold to make it float when disturbed by air in a tank. The gold concentrate floats on top of the liquid, and is easily collected. The water bath is collected from the bottom of the cell. Cyanide can be added to further improve the gold to remove impurities, such as sulphides and the gold concentrate can be heated in a smelter and the molten metal poured into moulds for shipment. Another separation method is panning which is also known as gravitational separation using saucepan equipment trays. When gold is separated using the froth flotation process there are bi-products produced. The process produces the gangue which is valueless material found in ore is taken to a dam and is usually lined with cement. The water is evaporated and the solid waste must be disposed of safely as it may contain small amounts of toxic lead and zinc. Polluted water from the dam must be kept out of local water ways and prevented from entering the food chain.

Separation of Blood in the Biosphere

The biosphere is all of the ecosystems put together. Blood is made up of plasma and blood cells. Blood includes the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets and 45% of blood is made up of blood cells with the remanding 55% made up is plasma.
The process to separate blood is called blood fractionation. This procedure involves fractionating the whole blood into separate components by centrifuging the blood. By using this separation technique there is an outcome of a clear blood plastic solution, then a layer of white blood cells and platelets. The final layer is consisted of red blood cells which sit at the bottom of the centrifuging tube. Upon separating the blood it will be taken and tested for various health issues, then thrown away. For example if the blood is being tested for diseases, it will first be separated using the technique of centrifuging and the plasma will be taken to be tested. The remaining red blood cells will become waste which is not harmful to other organisms. If the remaining substances are leaked into a water source e.g drains or consumed, that organism may become very ill and may develop a blood related disease, example HIV.