Is Water a Chemical?I was doing a discussion in school and a girl said that water and air were chemicals that affects her life. I disagree, so am I right?

Expert Answers
wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Technically, water is a chemical substance.  It has a specific make up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.  It is used in specific chemical processes and formulas.  We can recognize it's chemical formula and make-up.  By strict scientific definition, water is a chemical.  However, most people do not think of water as a chemical.  I would argue that most people think of water as an element. 

Air, on the other hand, is not a chemical.  It is made up of many different chemicals.  This is easy to see when we realize that air can have many different compositions.  Air in one area might not be the same as air in another.  Air is a term that we apply loosely to many different combinations of chemicals.

trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Water is most certainly a chemical compound consisting of two atoms of hydrogen bonded to one oxygen atom. It is an important chemical compound that life depends on. It is the universal solvent and living cells consist mainly of water, with other substances dissolved in the cytoplasm. Water is necessary for photosynthesis and the process of hydrolysis depends on water.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, as the others have said.  However, although water is technically a chemical we do not think of it as one.  After all, it is not man-made.  It exists in nature.  So by the scientific definition it may be a chemical, but not by the layman's definition.

astrosonuthird | Student

Thanks hell boy.

hell-boy- | Student

The scientific name for water is actually hyrdroxide. Its made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms which are bonded together by a covalent bond. Covalent bonds are non-metals/gases which share outmost electrons. Like all elementsthey want to get to a full outer shell; hydrogen has 1 already and needs 1 more, oxygen has 6 already and needs 2 more. Thats how it becomes a water molecule (H2O) so not only is it a chemical substance but also a molecule and a compound. 

d-kong | Student


astrosonuthird | Student

Salty water can conduct electricity better.

luiji | Student

Water is in theory two hydrogens and an oxygen atom bonded together, but it also hold many ions. That's why water can conduct electricity. However, distilled water is water in its purest form.

astrosonuthird | Student


astrosonuthird | Student

What is hydrolysis?

richon | Student

Water is a chemical as it is made of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. Air however is a bunch of chemicals so it isn't an actual chemical.

astrosonuthird | Student

Yes it is. Hydrogen + oxygen = water.