W 2019Water. The stuff of life.  It’s my pick from the posts of the last seven A to Zs, as my theme for this anniversary year is flashbacks.

It is also the proper place for Flashback Friday posts – the meme originally invented by Michael d’Agostino and carried on by myself and Rebecca Douglass.  We’d love some more people to join us – see the details here.

So now, step back to 2015 when my theme was ‘natural phenomena’.

interference waves

Water (2015)


I can’t remember just at what point in my studies around 1998-2005 I discovered what a truly amazing thing WATER is.

And we just take it for granted.

Water is unlike nearly every other substance.


  • It can dissolve or dilute nearly everything, and one way or another you can get it back in its pure state again.
  • It exists naturally in solid, liquid and gaseous states
  • Water forms up to 78% of our bodies
  • It covers 71% of Earth’s surface
  • The watercycle that keeps the amount on Earth more or less constant – clouds, rain, streams, river, sea, clouds…   with little extras like groundwater and ‘drinking’ for most living things on the planet too.
  • Its surface tension enables it to act as a solvent – lifting off dirt from clothes, for example.
  • Its high heat capacity makes it immensely important as a regulator of Earth’s temperature – keeping most of it in a range ‘comfortable’ for life.


Why water washes well

As you know, water is made from two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen, hence its chemical formula H²O  (that two should be dropped below the line, but that’s the best I could do).

The bond between the hydrogen and oxygen atoms leaves it with a slightly positive charge, which is what helps it bond weakly with other substances and with other water molecules.   Adding e.g. washing powder, or increasing the electrostatic charge through using wash balls, changes the surface tension and makes its washing capacity more efficient.  It took me ages to understand why these wash ball gizmos work.  They also help reduce the deposition of limescale in your washing machine, if you’re in a hard water area.

sea ice Advental fjord ThursdayWater is not easily compressed, which is why it is brilliant for use in pumps and for hydraulic engineering.

And water, one  way or another, features in nearly all of my A to Z posts this year [2015].  Why not have a glass of it now?!  Cheers!

More amazing stuff on the subject at wikipedia.

Pictures: hydrogen bonds with oxygen from wikipedia; interference waves on the Gironde coast (mine); mist, sea, ice and mountains at Svalbard (mine)

What a truly amazing thing WATER is and we just take it for granted. Water is unlike nearly every other substance. Find out more ... #atozchallenge W is for Water #science Share on X

Don’t forget to enter my A to Z Challenge giveaway, replicating the one I did in 2015 – but with new and better prizes!

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W is for Water #atozchallenge #flashbackfriday
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