And we just take it for granted.
Water is unlike nearly every other substance. Consider:
- It can dissolve or dilute nearly everything, and one way or another you can get water back again.
- It exists naturally in solid, liquid and gaseous states
- It forms up to 78% of our bodies
- It covers 71% of Earth’s surface
- It has a cycle that keeps the amount of water 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.
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.
Water 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. Why not have a glass of it now?! Cheers!
Pictures: hydrogen bonds with water from wikipedia; interference waves on the Gironde coast (mine); mist, sea, ice and mountains at Svalbard (mine)