Air – What Is It?

Air… We all breathe it, we live in it, we even compress it to use it as a utility.  What is it though?  Well, read through the next to learn some valuable points that aren’t easy to see with your eyes, just like air molecules.

Air – It surrounds us – (Yosuke,1)
  1. Air is mostly a gas.
    • Comprised of roughly 78% Nitrogen and 21% Oxygen.  Air also contains a lot of other gases in minute amounts.  Those gases include carbon dioxide, neon, and hydrogen.
  2. Air is more than just gas.
    • While the vast majority is gas, air also holds lots of microscopic particulate.
    • These range from pollen, soot, dust, salt, and debris.
    • All of these items that are not Nitrogen or Oxygen contribute to pollution.
  3. Not all the Carbon Dioxide in the air is bad.
    • Carbon Dioxide as mentioned above is what humans and most animals exhale when they breathe.  This gas is taken in by plants and vegetation to convert their off gas which is oxygen.
    • Think back to elementary school now.   Remember photosynthesis?
      • If you don’t remember that, maybe you remember Billy Madison, “Chlorophyll, more like Bore-a-fil.”
    • Carbon dioxide is however one of the leading causes of global warming.

      Moisture In The Air – (Grant)2
  4. Air holds water.
    • That’s right, high quality H2O gets suspended within the air molecules causing humidity.  This humidity ultimately reaches a point where the air can simply not hold anymore and it starts to rain.  The lack of humidity in the air leads to static, while lots of moisture in the air when it gets compressed causes moisture in compressed air systems.
  5. Air changes relative to altitude.
    • Air all pushes down on the Earth’s surface.  This is known as atmospheric pressure.
    • The closer you are to sea level the higher the level of pressure because the air molecules are more densely placed.
    • The higher you are from sea level the lower the density of air molecules.  This causes the pressure to be less.  This is also why people say the air is getting a little thin.

Hopefully this helps to better explain what air is and give some insight into the gas that is being compressed by an air compressor and then turned into a working utility within a production environment.  If you would like to discuss how any of these items effects the compressed air quality within a facility please reach out to any Application Engineer at EXAIR.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer

1 – Air – Creative Commons – Tsurutea Yosuke –

2 – DSC_0750 – Creative Commons – David Grant –

The Things You Remember

Well, Cub Scout camping season officially kicks off this weekend, with an event known as Webelos Outdoor Weekend. It’s the first time that Cub Scouts in the 3rd grade or older are allowed to go camping without a parent tagging along, so there’s a sense of adventure for the leaders as well as the boys. I’ve been at this for five years now, and was fondly reminiscing about the Cub Scout campouts we’ve had.

On my first Cub Scout camping trip, we got way out in the country, away from the city lights, to watch a meteor shower. We had a great campsite, on one of the boy’s grandpa’s farm, and the weather was great. Brian, one of the other dads, was real outdoorsy – he made Survivorman look like Felix Unger from “The Odd Couple.” Anyway, the meteor shower was supposed to peak around 4:00am, so we bedded down early, and got up around 3:30am. I counted two meteors before I fell back to sleep, spilled my hot chocolate in my lap, and went back to the tent to change my pants. I crawled back in my sleeping bag, and woke up to the smell of frying bacon.  Brian got a job out of state and moved away soon after that.  I seriously miss him.

Another time, we had a “Spy Mission” theme for our campout. We divided up into teams and tracked down clues, broke codes, did covert ops in the woods, and made marshmallow guns. I bet the squirrels and raccoons at Stonelick Lake still anxiously await our return.

We’ve camped under the stars in left field at Great American Ballpark, following a Cincinnati Reds’ game. Turns out, the grounds crew won’t let you stake down a bunch of tents in the outfield of a Major League Ballpark. We’ve slept in the shark tunnel of the Newport Aquarium. When the lights go off, you can only see shadows going through the water, but it sure seemed like the rules were “every fish for himself.” We spent the night at King’s Island last year – the park kept certain rides open late just for the Scouts. My oldest son and his best friend goaded me into riding The Vortex until I almost threw up.

They’re calling for some not-exactly-dry weather this weekend, and there’s been some disappointment expressed about that. Me; I wouldn’t have it any other way. Last year, the Pack’s Spring Campout got cancelled when the river flooded the campground. Yes; a month before the driest summer that I can recall descended upon us. The spring before that, we made it to the campsite, but had to pack up & leave just before midnight, because tornado warnings were being issued all over the area – almost everywhere, except where we were. When we got home around 1:30am, my lawn wasn’t even wet.

To be honest, I had to page through the Pack’s scrapbook to recall some of these events. Nice weather is great for camping; no doubt. When nothing out of the ordinary happens and everything goes as planned, it makes for a nice, fun outing. But I asked my oldest boy and his friends what their most memorable campout was, and they said: “The Webelos Outdoor Weekend where someone’s tent blew through our campsite while we were trying to light a fire to cook our dinner in the rainstorm.” Those are the ones you get the best stories from – the ones that, God willing, he and I will tell my grandsons about someday. While we’re hunkered down in a tent, riding out a monsoon, no doubt. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax