Atoms, molecules, and/or ions are all present in gases, liquids, and solids, but their behavior varies between the three phases. The graphic below depicts the tiny differences. A gas as seen via a microscope consists of billions of randomly moving atoms that do not bond together.
Gases are categorized by the type of atom that makes up the largest portion of their molecule. For example, oxygen is an element and makes up 2 of every 3 molecules of air. Carbon is another element and makes up the other 1 of every 3 molecules of air. Oxygen is a gaseable element while carbon is not. This means that if you were to heat a sample of air until it became a gas at one point, you could be certain that neither oxygen nor carbon would stick to itself or to anything else. Instead, each air molecule would contain an equal number of electrons and protons.
When scientists study gases they usually start with the simplest ones first. These are known as elemental gases because they are made up of only elements that do not bind together with other elements. Examples include hydrogen, helium, oxygen, nitrogen, argon, and fluorine. As you learn about more complex gases, you will see that they are made up of combinations of elements from the simple ones. For example, water is made up of two atoms of oxygen bonded to one atom of hydrogen.
One of the four basic states of matter is gas (the others being solid, liquid, and plasma). A pure gas can be composed of individual atoms (e.g., a noble gas like neon), elemental molecules composed of a single kind of atom (e.g., oxygen), or compound molecules composed of a combination of atoms (e.g. carbon dioxide). Methane is a colorless, odorless gaseous hydrocarbon that is the main component of natural gas. It is also found in small amounts in crude oil.
Methane has a major impact on climate change because it traps heat around twice as efficiently as carbon dioxide. This means that if all the methane on Earth were to be released into the atmosphere, it would be enough to cause more global warming than all the carbon dioxide that has been added to the atmosphere by human activities.
The source of most methane is manure and agriculture. Manure contains bacteria that break down organic material in animals' digestive systems. The methane produced during this process is called "enteric" or "volatile" methane because it evaporates before it can build up inside the animal's stomach. Agricultural practices such as tilling soil under livestock production buildings and not covering manure pits with covers or liners can allow enteric methane to escape into the atmosphere.
Another source of methane are fish farms. Fish waste decomposes slowly due to low temperatures in deep-sea cages, producing large amounts of methane.
Matter is made up of tiny atoms or molecules. Solid, liquid, and gas are the three most frequent states of matter. A gas or a liquid will alter form to fit its container....
Gases are made up of a huge number of small spherical particles that are widely apart in comparison to their size. A gas's particles might be either atoms or molecules. The distance between gas particles is considerably, much bigger than the distance between liquid or solid particles. This difference in particle size leads to unique properties of gases.
Atoms and molecules are the smallest components of a gas. An atom is a massive particle that contains an electric charge within its nucleus. Atoms can have different numbers of electrons surrounding their nuclei; these are known as atomic shells. Gases are made up of atoms with no more than seven electrons orbiting around their nuclei - this is called the first shell. Atoms can also have other electrons orbiting around them - these are called valence electrons. The number of electrons an atom has is called its electron count. There are five elements that occur naturally on Earth and they all have a closed electronic shell: helium, lithium, boron, carbon, and nitrogen. Other elements may be found in nature but they usually have an open shell: oxygen, fluorine, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, potassium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, hydrogen, and oxygen. Open shells can also be referred to as "valences" because they need to be filled by two electrons for each positive charge.
Molecules are composed of two or more atoms bonded together. All gases consist of molecules.