Interesting Facts about Gases for Kids
Gases are all around us, and most of them we don’t even know are there; we can’t feel them and most of the time we can’t see them either. Read on to find out all about amazing gases and what they do!
What are Gases?
Gases are air-like substances that can move around freely or they might flow to fit a container. They don’t have a shape either. You could put your hand through gases and you wouldn’t feel a thing. If they get out a container they spread very easily. Gases are all around us in the air that we breathe. You certainly can’t put a gas into a measuring cup to measure its volume; there is a rather complicated mathematical formula that you’d have to use in order to figure this out. Their molecules are spaced apart and jiggle around. Molecules form every time two atoms join together.
We know that gases are all around us, but some such as perfume for example you can smell, but most of the time they are invisible. Similar to liquids, gases can actually flow, but gases won’t stay put as solids or liquids do. They move around all the time. They also expand in every direction to completely fill whatever they’re put into. If the container has no lid, well say goodbye to them, they’re out of there.
What types of Gases do you get?
- There are quite a few types of gases. Pure gases are made up of just one atom, and Neon is an example of a pure gas.
- Then we get elemental gases. These are made up of two or more of the same atoms that have joined together. Hydrogen is an elemental gas.
- Compound gases come next and they have a combination of different atoms. Carbon monoxide is a compound gas.
- The air we breathe is made up of different types of gases. There is approximately 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen with 1% argon and a couple of other gases too.
- Natural gas is another type of gas and has mostly methane inside of it. It is used to create electricity and is often used inside homes for heating and cooking, amongst other things.
- Noble gases are a group of chemical elements that are very stable under normal conditions. Naturally occurring noble gases include helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon.
- The ozone layer that protects Earth from the Sun’s damaging UV light is made up of ozone, an oxygen allotrope, which is a form of the same element but they have different properties. The ozone contains 3 oxygen atoms that are bound together.
- Nitrous oxide is a gas with interesting properties that can be used in different ways, these include an anaesthetic in hospitals, the same as laughing gas, and they’re also used to increase the power of engines in motor racing.
Interesting Facts about Gases
Now this is gob-smackingly amazing. Gases move around at 1,600kmpm. That is seriously fast. A plane travels at about 885kmph, so gases go way, way faster than that!
- When gas particles crash into each other, the forces between them aren’t strong enough to keep them together…they would rather not be too friendly and bounce away from each other.
- Vapour is actually a gas that has evaporated, which means that water particles have escaped the Earth’s surface and gone back into the atmosphere. As an example, water actually forms a gas when it’s boiled to 100⁰C. But even at much lower temperatures, some of the water escapes from the liquid to form vapour. This mixes with the air. When vapour cools down a bit, the gas forms droplets and we’ll see mist. Pretty interesting stuff.
Gas expands. If you think about a hot air balloon, there is a burner inside which heats the air. The particles get heaps of energy and they move faster and faster and move further apart from each other, and push at the sides of the balloon. Heat always causes gases to expand, or grow. If you left a balloon near a fire, the air inside would expand so much that the balloon would give you a mighty pop as it bursts.
Then there’s pressure. Have you ever wondered why a champagne cork explodes out of a shaken bottle when your parents are celebrating something? Well inside the bottle there are loads of bubbles, which are a gas. When the bottle gets shaken it releases the gas, and the gases that are moving at a rapid rate bang against the cork. So what does this cause? A lot of pressure on the cork, and eventually it comes hurtling out of the bottle. Wow, so now you know why this happens.
The helium balloons you get at parties, well the reason they float is because helium is lighter than air, and of course helium gives you a crazy, wacky voice too.
Natural gas was formed deep under the earth about 100 million years ago.
Gases are certainly interesting things. Learn these amazing facts and whizz through that next Science test you get. You’ll have one happy teacher!