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Water is made up of two hydrogen molecules and an oxygen molecule, attached to the hydrogens with covalent bonds. This is due to the fact that the oxygen wants to fill up its outer shell with electrons and is willing to steal them from the hydrogens. There is around a 104 degree angle between the two branching hydrogens; this is because the electron pairs repulse one another due to their charges, making a bent shape. Also, polar water molecules can connect with other water molecules via hydrogen bonds. This is because hydrogen, which has a positive charge, is attracted to the other oxygens and their negative charge.
The shape and structure of water leads to many unique properties. One of these properties is the fact that unlike many other substances, water is less dense in its solid form than in its liquid. The structure of water’s solid form, when formed together, creates an open space within to create less density. The bonds do not overlap in this state, unlike the liquid form. An example of this can be seen in nature when ice floats on water.
Water also has a very high specific heat in comparison to other liquids. This is because of the hydrogen bonds. It requires a large amount of energy to break the bonds between the molecules. There must be enough heat to excite the molecules enough to break them. In nature, this can be seen when water might take longer to bring to a boil than other substances, such as alcohol.
Also included in these properties is the fact that water has a high surface tension. The hydrogen bonds between water molecules are very strong due to its polarity. This causes the water molecules to cling to one another. They are hard to separate and often pool together. This property occurs in nature when a container is filled to the brim with water. The container will actually look like it is overflowing, but the water molecules still keep it together.
In water, capillary action can be easily observed. The liquid goes up in a tube or material while clinging to the sides. In this case, the polarity of the water is also attracted to the polarity of the sides, drawing the two together. The water will then pull up other water molecules because of its cohesive nature. The adhesion to the walls overcome the cohesion of the water molecules together, and the water will climb up the material. In nature, water will naturally climb into a tube or thin container if it is placed inverted into the liquid, often even going higher than the actual water line.
Water is a universal solvent because of the fact that it can dissolve many other substances or materials.Water is polar, with the oxygen having a positive charge and the hydrogens being negative. Other molecules will them become attracted to the different parts of the water. The water will often override other forces and pull substances apart because of its high attractiveness, effectively dissolving it. Placing salt, or NaCl, in a glass of water and stirring it is a good example of water’s solvent abilities. It will appear as if the salt had completely disappeared as it had been pulled apart!
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