Oftentimes in the literature, particularly for oxidation studies, the authors mention that experiments were performed in "laboratory air." Is there any distinction from laboratory air from regular, ambient air, or is this terminology only used to distinguish it from synthetic air (Only nitrogen and oxygen)?

  • $\begingroup$ "Laboratory air" probably means literally "laboratory air". Syntetic air would be explicitly mentioned, probably with explicit purity requirement. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


Laboratory air is not a designated or special term. All it conveys to the experimentalist is that literally "laboratory" air was used for oxidation. This is perhaps a handwaving way of saying that we do not have the air analysis certificate in hand. We have no idea of water content, we have no idea of any trace impurity gases such as hydrogen chloride or ammonia or carbon dioxide. Normally when air is purchased, you know the purity of the gases. Laboratory compressed air is also contaminated with pump oils and hydrocarbons.

  • $\begingroup$ Just to clarify - it means "the air in the room at the time of the work" and is the same air being breathed by the experimenter, right ? $\endgroup$
    – Criggie
    Commented Dec 2, 2023 at 21:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Criggie, We cannot say that absolutely. To split hairs further, many universities supply compressed air to research laboratories (stored air). So this may not be air that the experimenter is also breathing at the same time. $\endgroup$
    – ACR
    Commented Dec 3, 2023 at 23:07

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