april; 2, 1931SCIENCEBY DAVID DIETZ[industrial Gases Existing inj the Earth* s Atmosphere! Are Oxygen, Nitrogen, He-Hum and Carbon Dioxide./CONTRARY to the old proverb,^ you can make money out ofthe air. At least, you can out ofcertain gases that are constituentsof the atmosphere. ^The Machine Age rests in large 'part upon a number of invisible substances known as the industrial gases, some of which are to be found in the air we breathe.The most important of the industrial gases are oxygen, hydro-j gen, hehum, natural gas, neon.chlorine, carbon dioxide, and acetylene. Of that group, oxygen. nitrogen. helium, neon, and carbon aio^de exist in the earth’s atmosphere. f^|The youth of the Machine Age can be grasped when it is realized that the existence of many of these gases is extremely young. Our knowledge of oxygen and nitrogen is only a little more than 150 years old. Knowledge of helium andneon is less than forty years old.Oxygen Has Many UsesPure oxygen finds a wide variety of industrial uses, in 1919 more than 1.000.000.000 cubic feet of oxygen was used 111 industry.The chief use for oxygen is withthe oxy-actetylene torch. Strangely enough, this same torch can be used to weld metals or to cut them. The action of the flame depends upon'the amount of oxygen used.Nitrogen is the foundation of fertilizers and explosives. In this connection. it should be rememberedthat the use of explosives is not confined to war. Mining, blasting, and many peacetime activities require the use of explosives.Nitrogen and WheatTHE importance of the nitrogen industry to agriculture can begrasped from the fact that the United States grows about five billion bushels of wheat, oats, and corneach ycar.It is estimated that each bushel grown removes from the soil about 0 | nine-tenths of a pound of nitrates. These nitrates have to be put back into the soil each year in the form of fertilizers. If this was not done,the land would soon become barren.Hydrogen finds many industrial^ | uses. Lard substitutes are made by '' treating cottonseed oil with hydro- Jy.gen. The gas is also used in theoxyhydrogen blow-torch and in the fmanufacture of ammonia.Carbon dioxide, another gas pres-i ent in small amounts in the atmosphere, is used in manufacturing y j carbonated waters, washing soda,J. and baking soda.is1-i-e.