Water and its PropertiesWater is most essential for life. Most animals and plants contain more than 70% water by volume. Without water life would probably never have developed on our planet Water...

Water and its Properties

Water is most essential for life. Most animals and plants contain more than 70% water by volume. Without water life would probably never have developed on our planet

  1. Water has a very simple atomic structure with two hydrogen atoms bonded to one oxygen atom. The hydrogen side of the water molecule has a slight positive charge. On the other side of the molecule a negative charge exists. This molecular polarity causes water to be a powerful solvent with an electrical dipole moment. This dipolar nature favors adhesion to other materials.Water is a tasteless, odorless liquid at standard temperature and pressure.
  2. The  color of water and ice is a very light blue, although water appears colorless in small quantities. 
  3. Substances that dissolve in water are known as hydrophilic (water-loving) substances, while those that do not mix well with water are known as hydrophobic (water-fearing) substances.
  4. Water in a pure state has a neutral pH. As a result, pure water is neither acidic or basic.
  5. Water has a high surface tension. Water's high surface tension allows for the formation of water droplets and waves, allows plants to move water (and dissolved nutrients) from their roots to their leaves, and the movement of blood through tiny vessels in the bodies of some animals.
  6. Water molecules tend to move from a region of higher water concentration to one of lower water concentration. This process is described as osmosis.

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

If you think about how much of our body is water, it makes sense that we need water to be healthy. There are some interesting statistics here, including that 74% of us are chronically dehydrated. It also says that in 37% of people the thirst mechanism is weak, so they think they are hungry whey they are thirsty. That stood out for me because my mother used to tell me that I was thirsty, not hungry, when I said I was hungry. Here is the site: http://www.waterkoolah.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44&Itemid=2
lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Two properties of water are adhesion and cohesion. Adhesion is waters attraction to other substances, cohesion is its attraction to itself. There is also surface tension and capillary action, surface tension relates to cohesion and capillary action is possible due to the property of adhesion.

lynn30k's profile pic

lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

If this is just a discussion about interesting water facts, here is my favorite. Most substance decrease in volume as the temperature is lowered; for the same weight of a substance, the gas takes up more space than the liquid, and the liquid more than the solid. The solids are the most dense form of a substance in other words. Water is different because of the crystalline structure that ice takes--ice is LESS dense than water. This is why it floats. If this was not true, it is very possible there would be no life on earth because ice would sink to the bottom of lakes, rivers, etc, instead of floating. It would not have a chance to melt as it does now, and our world could very well be ice-covered.

enotechris's profile pic

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

Water from the ocean contains dissolved salts, as opposed to freshwater found in lakes and streams.  Freshwater is derived from the ocean evaporating, condensing in the clouds, and returning to the land or ocean by rainfall.

Different species have adapted to these environments; however, it's interesting to note that some species of fish can survive in both fresh and salt water, determined by where they are in their life cycle.

shiojia's profile pic

shiojia | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Two properties of water are adhesion and cohesion. Adhesion is waters attraction to other substances, cohesion is its attraction to itself. There is also surface tension and capillary action, surface tension relates to cohesion and capillary action is possible due to the property of adhesion.

  Have you tried the penny experiment?  It is a fun way for students to see these properties for themselves.  I have my students hypothesize how many drops of water can fit on a penny (they typically predict less than 5).  Then, I have them use eyedroppers to drop the water on the penny.  To mix it up, I give some groups soapy water, and there is a difference of about 20 drops less with the soapy water (soap breaks up the hydrogen bonds in water).

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Previous posts have provided lot of information about water. I would like to add one point not covered so far and add some comments on another made in post #4 above.

While we all are so familiar about water, there is another form of water, called heavy water, that is not so common. It is composed of heavier isotopes of hydrogen called deuterium, rather than the common hydrogen atoms. Heavy water freezes at 3.82 degrees C and boils at 101.42 degrees C. It is used in some kind of nuclear reactors as moderator and coolant.

I find the property of water to expand rather than shrink while when cooled between temperature of 4 degrees C to 0 degrees C, really fascinating. Water is the only substance in the Universe that displays such property. This exceptional quality of water has done so much to make our earth a habitable place for the humans and other forms of life, that it appears to me as if this quality has been imparted by someone to water specifically for serving such purposes.

If water behaved as all other materials in the universe behave, as the water on surface of the oceans cool and convert in ice the ice will settle on bottom of oceans, reducing the rate at which the geothermal energy of the earth is conducted to the oceans, while the oceans will loose more heat to the environment, resulting in cooling of all the oceans and along with that all the world. Also as ice formed sinks into the bottom of oceans, the water level in the oceans will rise submerging large parts of the land areas of the world. Thus the human life would have been very difficult or even impossible on earth without this special quality of water.

It is also interesting to note that about 90 percent of our body consists of water.

giorgiana1976's profile pic

giorgiana1976 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

To explain the peculiarities of water as:  maximum density at 40C, volume increase at the passage of water from liquid to solid form, the high values of latent heat of melting and vaporization, etc.. It is recognized that water molecules are bounded by H2 links.

In nature water is not chemically pure. Natural waters contain varying amounts of different substances: gases and dissolved salts, organic substances and bacteria.When they contain small amounts of dissolved salts are called soft waters, and when they contain large amounts of dissolved salts, especially calcium and magnesium, are called hard water.

Rainwater is the cleanest of all natural waters. But being in prolonged contact with air, it contains dissolved its components such as air impurities, such as: carbon dioxide, ammonia, nitric acid, and in industrial areas or to large cities, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, etc.

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