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Water’s Unique Characteristics Essay

Water, with its unusual bonding to hydrogen, is an invaluable resource to the Earth, wildlife, and the environment. Due to water’s hydrogen bonding, it has developed many unique characteristics that many other liquids do not possess. Some of these characteristics are the following: adhesion, cohesion, and surface tension. These three characteristics alone allow for the attachment of water to its self and to other molecules for the movement of water it self.Cohesion is the ability of water to attach to itself to move opposite the force of gravity. While adhesion is the ability of water to attach to something other than water molecules, this allows for water to move with out having to have a force behind it. Surface tension is the measure of how difficult it is to break the surface of a liquid. Water has an exceptionally high surface tension due to the fact that water molecules are intermixed with air and bonded to other water molecules beneath it; thus, causing an almost invisible shield.Other qualities that water possesses are high specific heat, evaporative cooling, and a high boiling point. A high specific heat means that it takes a longer time for one gram of water to heat up by one degree Celsius. Due to this, water will change its temperature less when it absorbs or loses heat. Evaporative cooling happens because hot molecules leave, or escape into a liquid or gaseous state, before cool ones and thus prevents overheating. Also, another important attribute of water’s is its density while in solid and liquid forms. Compared to other liquids, water is less dense in its solid state than in its liquid state.This happens because when the hydrogen bonds are being frozen they bond with four other molecules at an “arm’s length” rather than closer to the hydrogen. This allows for the ice, or solid form of water, to be 10% less dense than the liquid stage. However, one of the most important benefactors of water is its universality. It can be used to dissolve just about any substance. For this reason, solutions have been donned either hydrophobic, water fearing, or hydrophilic, water loving. In these two instances, the solution either can dissolve in water, hydrophilic, or is insoluble in water, hydrophobic.These unique characteristics allow water to be one liquid with its own abilities; however, it is what these abilities allow in nature and in the environment that make water so unique. The purpose of adhesion and cohesion basically has to deal with the watering and nurturing of plant systems. Cohesion is used to pull the water up the stems of plants to the top to nurture; on the other hand, adhesion is used to help keep the water in place even though it is being pulled down by gravity. Another example of how adhesion is used is in the vessels of human blood systems; adhesion is used to pull the blood up versus the strength of gravity.Surface tension is used to allow bugs or other animals to walk across the top of water to allow for escape or for the capture of food. Water’s high specific heat allows for it to absorb a large amount of heat without changing its temperature much. This allows for in the summer months, the beaches to be cooled off and in the winter months to be heated up. This also, stabilizes ocean temperature, creating a more stable life for marine life, and it allows for temperature fluctuations on land but keeps the water within limits that permit life.Evaporative cooling of water contributes to the stability of the temperature of the lakes and ponds and also prevents animals, and other mechanisms, from over heating. Evaporative cooling also helps with plant life; it keeps the tissues in the leaves from becoming too warm in the sunlight. Moreover, water’s density is a better attribute to the environment. As a solid, water’s density is less than when it is a liquid this allows for only the tops of lakes, etc to become frozen rather than the bottoms. If a lake were to freeze from the bottom up, then virtually the whole Earth’s water system would freeze up in only a matter of time.However, because this does not happen, the frozen layer on top insulates the bottom portion of water and allows for marine life to live during the winter months rather than die. Water’s universality, however, is its biggest asset. This characteristic allows water to be an easily accessible lab partner all around the world. Without water as a universal solvent, scientists would have to create a solvent that could potentially cost too much money and only allow for limited experiments. However, because water is cheap, and readily available, scientists have no problem with conducting the experiments they feel are necessary.

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