Saturday, March 25, 2023

Water doesn’t get wet and other curiosities of liquid matter

The next time we see a river, go by a lagoon or take a beach vacation, let’s stop for a moment and observe. At that moment we will be in front of one of the rarest panoramas our universe has to offer: large amounts of liquid water. In fact, and despite the fact that water is a very common substance in the universe, it is the only place on our planet where we can find it stable in all three states: solid, liquid and gas.
If I have to point to one absolutely unique substance, it is water., Due to its structure (two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom arranged at an angle of about 105º with the oxygen at the center) it has some extraordinary properties that make it almost unique. For example, its peculiar melting and boiling points. Water should be a gas at room temperature like its sister molecule, H2S., If it is a liquid, it is because the electrons are more strongly attracted by the seven oxygen protons that make up its nucleus than by the poor and lonely hydrogen protons. This way, there is a slight negative charge on the oxygen and a slight positive charge on the hydrogen: this is what is called a polar molecule in chemistry. Because of this, the hydrogen of one molecule can attract the oxygen of another, giving rise to an association between the two called a hydrogen bond, as Linus Pauling, the Nobel laureate in chemistry, described in his 1939 book described in.nature of chemical bond, This link is responsible for the fact that water remains liquid over a wide range of temperatures, from 0 to 100 ºC, and has a peculiar property that prevents some insects from sinking below the surface of the pond.

walk on water

If we fill a glass of water to the very top and very carefully place a needle on its surface, we will see that, miraculously, it does not sink. In fact, this is not a miracle but a clear example of surface tension. Inside the glass, a water molecule is completely surrounded by other molecules and held together by hydrogen bonds, which we can imagine as springs. On the surface, there is none above that molecule, but one near and one below it. So if we pull it up, the “springs” come into action and pull the molecule down. Similarly, by applying the needle we push the water molecules down and the surrounding molecules push them up to bring them to their initial position. Of course these forces are weak: as far as we know, there is only one known case of a person standing on the surface of a lake… Of course, if they were only 2% more intense than we would be in a swimming pool Unable to enter

If we fill a glass of water to the very top and very carefully place a needle on its surface, we will see that, miraculously, it does not sink.

Water drops form due to surface tension and do not spread, The water is wet, but not too wet, something we’ve all been able to verify when washing our hands without using soap. At the time of washing we need water to soak the clothes properly, we use detergent, whose job is to lower the surface tension and thus work more effectively. What’s more, this is the reason why, paradoxically, not water is used to hydrate the skin, but cream.

water doesn’t get wet

Now, all this is unnecessary if we do not have the minimum amount of water. Scientists at University College London have dedicated themselves to verifying the minimum number of water molecules we need in order for it to become wet, one of the properties of its liquid form. Got half a dozen answers. This apparently useless investigation may point to the means by which we shall understand why water dissolves substances in much greater quantities than any other; It is not in vain that it is known as the universal solvent. Furthermore, according to one of the researchers, david clary, could help us understand how water affects one of the great puzzles of biochemistry: protein folding. Let us remember that these essential macromolecules for cell function are made up of tiny, like links in a chain that are folded in on themselves in a specific way in space. Why it does this and not the other is one of the biggest questions facing scientists. Isn’t it wonderful that this leads to an understanding of why water is so little wet?

How much does it cost to heat the water?

Another distinguishing feature of the well-known liquid element is its high heat capacity, that is, the amount of heat required to raise its temperature is very high. In fact, it is the second substance, after ammonia, that has the highest heat capacity. So, if we put one vessel with water and another with alcohol on the fire, we need to keep it longer so that the temperature in both rises equally. This affects not only the time of waiting in the kitchen for the soup to be prepared, but also something more important: the Effect of global circulation of oceans on Earth’s climate, Keep in mind that a higher heat capacity also means that water will cool more slowly, as it must lose a larger amount of heat for its temperature to drop significantly. In this way, ocean currents are able to transport vast amounts of energy around the globe. Thus, the Gulf Stream helps keep northern Europe warmer than the Labrador Peninsula, even though they are at the same latitude. And not only that. This “ability” to regulate the temperature inside it, which keeps the ocean warm when the summer heat subsides, has proved essential for us to be here today: frozen seas or sudden changes in temperature stop the chemistry of life. .

The most formidable anomaly of water

Unlike most substances, ice floats in liquid water. It has been known for more than 3 centuries: liquid water does not condense when cooled at 0 °C, but does so at four degrees above. Only when the temperature rises above 4ºC does the density of water begin to develop in a “normal” way. This property makes ice or solid water less dense than liquid water. If this were not the case, the Titanic would never have sunk, because the icebergs would not have existed., Neither the pipes will burst when the frost comes, nor will the rocks break due to the freezing of water trapped in the cracks. Similarly, rivers and lakes would freeze from bottom to surface making it difficult for children to skate on them.

It’s also a lot of water. Perhaps the best way to describe it are these words from one of the few experts on the physics and chemistry of water, Felix Franks: “Of all known liquids, water is perhaps the most studied and the least understood.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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