First off, huge fan of chemistry, not a chemist – do be nice :D

Would an image like this make sense as an infographic for the molecular composition of the air? I especially wonder if the different sizes of the molecules (or do they all have the same size?) and the constellation make sense in theory.

Many thanks

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Differences in sizes would only make sense if smaller ones were further imo. Anyways that's definitely not air $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Nov 30 '15 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ Seconded - that's not air.. personally I would prefer it if you represented them accurately. The different atoms should have appropriately different sizes - look for tables of "atomic radii". As for sizes of whole molecules, that's harder to estimate, but if you get the circles the correct size then they should be about right. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Nov 30 '15 at 22:43
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    $\begingroup$ thank you very much! I'll try my best. It should actually show the content of CO or CO2 etc. in the air – it's all about pollution. $\endgroup$ – user2537250 Dec 1 '15 at 0:26
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    $\begingroup$ To accurately show CO2 in air, you would draw 3,000 molecules and have one be CO2. For CO you would have to draw on the order of a million other molecules for one CO molecule to be accurate. $\endgroup$ – DavePhD Dec 1 '15 at 14:26

No. Most molecules of air have two atoms.

So if you want to be quantitatively accurate, if you have 100 molecules in a graphic, it would show

78 dinitrogen (N-N) molecules

21 dioxygen (O-O) molecules

1 argon atom (Ar)


And you could add some water (H-O-H) molecules if you want to depict humidity.

  • $\begingroup$ I'd say that even if you don't want to be quantitatively accurate, you should have more two atom molecules. Also, water doesn't have a 90-degree angle, but 104.5°. $\endgroup$ – Geoff Hutchison Dec 1 '15 at 14:38

Molecules do not have the same size, mass, etc. Air is composed of many different elements and compounds, so I think this image would be suitable for the infographic. But unless we are talking about pollutants, I don't think there are any compounds that exist in bulk in the atmosphere with that complicated chemical structure, but that may be a detail you can overlook.

Also, this topic may be marked as off-topic. If you're new here, please post relevant chemical conceptual questions, not objective imagery questions :P.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes we are talking about pollutants and air quality in general (CO, CO2 etc.) Sorry for posting here and thank you very much $\endgroup$ – user2537250 Nov 30 '15 at 23:06

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