What are airplane contrails made out of? Today’s Video of the Day comes from the American Chemical Society’s Reactions series and features a look at how airplane contrails form in the sky.
Though many conspiracy theories have questioned whether some airline contrails contain dangerous chemical agents, known as “chemtrails,” the majority of airplane contrails consist mostly of water.
Jet fuel is mostly comprised of hydrocarbons, which are chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen attached. When jet fuel is burned, these bonds are broken, and when they encounter oxygen in the sky, it forms carbon dioxide and water.Depending on the temperature and humidity at the altitude the contrails form, they may be visible for only a few seconds or minutes, or may persist for hours and spread to be several miles wide, eventually resembling natural cirrus or altocumulus clouds. What are airplane contrails made out of? well shown above in the video shows exactly how.
Persistent contrails are of particular interest to scientists because they increase the cloudiness of the atmosphere. Therefore the clouds are formally described as homomutatus, and may resemble cirrus, cirrocumulus, or cirrostratus, and are sometimes called cirrus aviaticus. Some persistent spreading contrails contribute to climate change.
By Rory Arnold, Earth.com Staff Writer
Video Credit: American Chemical Society