Henry's law and its effect on Nitrogen in the ocean

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The_Govenator_1
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Henry's law and its effect on Nitrogen in the ocean

Postby The_Govenator_1 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:48 pm UTC

I have a quick question regarding Henry's law.

This law stipulates that the solubility of a gas in liquid is directly proportional to the pressure that the particular gas exerts on said liquid.

In the case of Co2, which in the atmosphere comprises approximately 400 ppm, the equivalent value in the ocean is roughly 30 ppm.

Whilst in the case of nitrogen, which comprises approximately 780 000 ppm in the atmosphere, the equivalent value in ocean water is only 1 ppm.

How can that be, knowing what we know about Henry's law? Shouldn't the nitrogen content in the ocean, taking this law into consideration, be a lot higher and at least greater than the Co2 content?

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ucim
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Re: Henry's law and its effect on Nitrogen in the ocean

Postby ucim » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:08 am UTC

It's proportional, but doesn't necessarily have the same constant of proportionality for each gas. Some gasses are more soluble than others.

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The_Govenator_1
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Re: Henry's law and its effect on Nitrogen in the ocean

Postby The_Govenator_1 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:14 am UTC

Thank you very much for your answer.

Yes, I guess that makes sense. It would also tend to suggest that Co2 is very easily absorbed when it comes into contact with water.

Also, is there a chart or formula that shows solubility of the various gasses?

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Flumble
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Re: Henry's law and its effect on Nitrogen in the ocean

Postby Flumble » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:58 am UTC

Have you heard about our lord and saviour Wikipedia? It has a small table and a footnote link to a large table for these constants.

The_Govenator_1
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Re: Henry's law and its effect on Nitrogen in the ocean

Postby The_Govenator_1 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:33 pm UTC

Thanks for the link.

I tried to find some articles on the matter before I posted here, but I couldn't find anything. I have no formal qualifications in science, just a curious mind ;-)

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pogrmman
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Re: Henry's law and its effect on Nitrogen in the ocean

Postby pogrmman » Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:50 am UTC

The_Govenator_1 wrote:Thank you very much for your answer.

Yes, I guess that makes sense. It would also tend to suggest that Co2 is very easily absorbed when it comes into contact with water.

Also, is there a chart or formula that shows solubility of the various gasses?


Yep -- CO2 is really soluble -- partly because it reacts with water to convert into carbonic acid. This allows a lot more CO2 to dissolve than it would otherwise.

So, not only is it more soluble than N2, it also is taken out of solution by that reaction.

CO2's solubility isn't solely determined by Henry's law -- but also by the constant for its reaction with water.


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