Properties of Water

The article below offers insight into water’s unique properties that differentiate it from other liquids. Explanations, in terms of the molecular chemistry, are provided to support each factual affirmation. A mere acquaintance with various chemistry terms and terminology is necessary to fully comprehend the behavior of water. The structural characteristics of covalent and hydrogen bonds are the two main concepts that must be comprehended.

Properties of Water

1. Water is an excellent solvent:
In a water molecule, the Oxygen atom exerts a stronger pull on the shared electrons than does each of the hydrogen atoms, thereby creating two polar covalent bonds. Water molecules are able to dissolve ionic substances due to the occurring interaction between the ionic substances and the poles of the polar water molecules. Substances that dissolve in water are called hydrophilic and those that cannot dissolve are called hydrophobic because they lack charged poles.

2. Water has high heat capacity:
Heat capacity is the extent to which a substance changes its temperature when heat is loss or applied. Since water changes its temperature very slowly when heat is applied to it, it has a high heat capacity. Such a sustaining capability allow the temperatures of large bodies of water to remain stable and thus supporting the existence of diverse organisms and the occurrence of various biological processes.

3. Water’s abnormal density:
As water freezes, it expands and thus possessing a greater volume. In its solid state, it is less dense than when it exists as a liquid. Owing to such a fact, ice is able to float on liquid water. In cold climates, such ability facilitates the existence of aquatic organisms as the ice insulates the water beneath to facilitate a constant temperature.

4. Water has strong cohesion and a high surface tension:
Owing to the polar covalent bonds that exist between the oxygen atom and the hydrogen atoms and the interacting hydrogen bonds between water molecules, water is able to remain unified. Such cohesion between water molecules results in a high surface tension, creating a firm surface that allows insects to walk upon it without plummeting.

5. Water has strong adhesion:
Owing to the partially positive-charge of each of the hydrogen atoms at the end of a water molecule, water is able to form hydrogen bonds with other substances and adhere to their surface area.