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Is Wind Matter?

is-wind-matter

ANSWER:

Wind is not matter.  [1]

What Is Matter?

Matter is anything that takes up space and has mass. Matter exists in three states: solid, liquid, and gas. It is easy to see why something solid has matter.  You can clearly see that your iPod takes up space and has mass.  Liquid can also be seen as taking up space and having mass.  Gas is generally not visible so it is slightly more difficult to view it as matter, that is taking up space and having mass.  But it does.  Filling a balloon with helium is a good example of the space and mass that air has though you cannot see it. [2]

Why Is Wind not Matter?

The definition of wind is the movement of air.  Whereas the air itself is matter, wind is the force against the matter. [3] Air is matter in its gaseous state.  Air is comprised of 78% nitrogen, a gas, and 21% oxygen, another gas.  Gas is a state of matter. [4]

Sound is another example of the movement of air. Air is the matter, sound is the movement against it.

How Wind is Formed

Wind is formed through the flow of air from high pressure to low pressure systems. This coupled with the rotation of the Earth and temperature differentials causes the complicated wind patterns we have today. [5]

What is Wind Made of?

Remember: Wind is not itself made up of anything in particular. It is a term used to describe the motion of gasses. That being said, it is correct and valid to describe what the gasses of the wind are made of. Here on Earth, the wind is made up of the exact same gasses in our atmosphere. This makes sense once you keep in mind that wind is merely the movement of the gasses in our atmosphere. These gasses include oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and the countless other gaseous substances and compounds that exist in observable concentrations. [6]

Resources

[1][3]Science and Health Education Partnership University of California
What Is Matter?
http://seplessons.ucsf.edu/node/351

[2]New York University
What Is Matter?
http://www.nyu.edu/pages/mathmol/textbook/statesofmatter.html

[4] UCAR NCAR Science Education
What Is Air?
http://www.eo.ucar.edu/kids/sky/air1.htm

[5]Atmospheric Sciences University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Wind Formation
http://www.atmos.illinois.edu/earths_atmosphere/wind_formation.html

[6]National Weather Service
Origin of Wind
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/synoptic/wind.htm

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