Water is one of the weirdest substances on the planet – nay, the universe.
It’s not just because water is scarce. Earth is the only planet that we’ve ever found in which we have stable bodies of water on the surface. (Other planets and moons could have water underneath the surface, which is really cool in and of itself.)
There are other reasons why water is weird. Let’s discuss.
Water Floats on Itself
Take a look at a glass full of ice water the next time you drink one. (We hope you’re drinking six to eight glasses a day.)
Notice that the ice is floating in the water. Ice is just frozen water, or water in its solid state. So what you’re seeing, basically, is water floating on itself.
No other substance does that. When you melt wax and put it in a liquid state, then stick a wax candle in it, the wax candle sinks – not floats. The same thing goes with metal. Solid metal doesn’t float on molten metal.
But water floats on itself. Why? Because when water freezes, it does something interesting: it expands. This allows the ice to float, where other substances would flounder.
Water Probably Shouldn’t Exist
If water behaved like other substances, it wouldn’t exist in its liquid form.
Take the chemical composition of water – two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom in every molecule of water. Other chemicals with hydrogen atoms and atoms of something else are gases, like hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and hydrogen chloride (HCl).
But water in its base form is a liquid. So, if it obeyed the same rules as H2S and HCl, it’d be vapor – and there would be no oceans, and no water in your glass to drink.
Water Has Fantastic Surface Tension and Stickiness
If you’ve ever noticed how some insects can skim along the surface of a lake or pond – or how you can skip a rock across the same surface – then you’ve seen surface tension in action. The more surface tension in a liquid, the more stable the liquid will be. So the insect stays on top instead of sinking.
Water has a lot more surface tension than other liquids, even though other liquids can be heavier. It’s due to how water molecules bind so tightly to each other.
Put simply, each hydrogen atom in a water molecule wants to bond with the oxygen atom in another water molecule. So you have all these molecules wanting to clump together with powerful strength. This makes water “sticky.”
Water being sticky is really important. It allows our blood to transfer oxygen through our body despite gravity. It allows water to go through our garden hose when we turn it on. It lets us pour things and pump things and move things around.
Water will also stick to just about anything. It’ll dissolve so many things that it’s almost a universal solvent. This means water is extremely corrosive, but it’s also extremely beneficial. Nutrients can become dissolved in water and be transferred throughout a system – such as a flower, a tree, a dog, or a human body.
Water Is Really Cool
All of this means that water is extremely cool. We may be biased, because we deliver drinking water to homes and offices, but we think water being weird is a good thing – especially in light of the fact that water is absolutely essential to life.
So, the next time you drink up, reflect on how weird water is – and be thankful!
Water Way supplies fresh, clean, and tasty drinking water to homes and offices. Contact us for more information.