Topic – All About Air

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Read about air, or click on the play button below to listen aloud.

All About Air

Air is all around you. You cannot live without air. Air makes flight possible, too. Planes and rockets, birds and bumblebees—every type of flying thing uses air.

Some Properties of Air

Unless the air around you is heavily polluted, you cannot see, taste, or smell the air. If you think you cannot feel air, take a deep breath. You can feel air rushing into your lungs.

Air also has mass or weight. A balloon weighs more after you fill the balloon with air. You experience the pressure air exerts on every surface. Closer to the ground, more air is pushing down on top on you and Earth’s gravity pulls more. The higher up you go, the less air pressure there is. Air becomes thinner and more spread out.

When it comes to flying, pressure is probably the most important property of air. Air pushes on every surface. Try this: Hold two pieces of paper out in front of you, about 8 cm apart. Now blow between them. Did you expect the sheets to fly apart? They move closer together because the force of air on either side of the paper is unbalanced. The air moves quickly between the two papers. The moving air exerts less pressure than the air pressing on the outsides of the papers.

Aerodynamics means the motion of air and how air affects everything moving through it. People who design flying things have to know all about aerodynamics. This helps them build aircraft that fly efficiently and safely through the air.

Now, show what you know!

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