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# Is Air Made of Matter?

One way to know that air is matter is that it take up space. A filled balloon is full of gas, such as air. If you pop the balloon, you can feel the pressure of the escaping air.

Pioneer Balloon Company, public domain
Question: Is Air Made of Matter?
You can't see or smell air, so you may be wondering whether or not it is made of matter. Here is the answer, plus how you can tell whether it is matter.
Answer: Yes, air is matter. Anything and everything consists of matter.

### How Can You Tell Air Is Matter?

Matter has mass and takes up space. You can prove that air is matter a couple of ways.

One way is to blow up a balloon with air. Before you added the balloon, it was empty. When you added air, the balloon expanded, so you know it is filled with something! A balloon filled with air sinks to the ground. The compressed air is heavier than its surroundings, so the air has mass or weight.

Also, consider the ways you experience air. You can feel the wind and see that it exerts force on the leaves on trees or on a kite. Pressure is mass per unit volume, so if there is pressure, you know the air must have mass.

### What Type of Matter Is Air?

Air is an example of a gas. Other common forms of matter are solids and liquids. A gas is a form of matter that can change its shape and volume. If you consider air in a balloon, you can squeeze the balloon to change its shape. You can compress a balloon to force the air into a smaller volume. When you pop the balloon, the air expands to fill a larger volume.

If you analyze air, it consists mostly of nitrogen and oxygen, with smaller amounts of several other gases. Water vapor is another important component of air.

### More About Air and Matter

Chemical Composition of Air
States of Matter
Density of Air

Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.