Why is the atmosphere classified as a mixture?

1 Answer
Aug 10, 2017

The atmosphere is a mixture mostly of component gases, but it also can contain liquids and solids. Various compounds make up the atmosphere, but each will ultimately settle or can be separated out.


In its seldom seen, clean, pure form, the atmosphere consists mainly of #N_2, O_2, Ar, CO_2# or Nitrogen, Oxygen, Argon, Carbon Dioxide, and trace molecules of many different elements.

More often the atmospheric mix includes #H_2O# in one or more of its three states. These are the invisible stem, transparent uncondensed water vapor, or the condensed water we see as clouds. As clouds get more dense and into colder air due to height, liquid water may rain down, or snow may form. If the conditions are right, sleet, hail, or ice pellets can occur. In thunderstorms, static electricity can be generated producing ions of various types adding to the components of the atmosphere.

Local air may also include pollution described as haze and smog. in other places, dust or sand storms add another solid into the atmospheric mixture.

Given the right atmosphere, you are probably in the mix, as well.