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The mysteries of water

Water is a tiny molecule consisting of 3 atoms: two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom (H2O).

Water is vital to life on earth. Without it, there would be no animals, no humans, no plants, no trees, there would be nothing but rocks.

Although of very simple composition, it is one of the most complex and mysterious molecules.

From its molecular composition to its properties, water behaves in a very peculiar way.

For a very long time, the singularities of water have intrigued humans.

Thus, it is not surprising to note the key role played by water throughout civilizations, conferring on this simple H2O molecule sometimes magical powers, sometimes divine powers.

In religions, water plays an important role, starting with Christianity and the famous holy water.

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Nowadays, these singularities are still not all clearly elucidated by science, but only explained by more or less convincing theories.

It is difficult to say if we will ever be able to unravel all the mysteries of water, but one thing is certain: water is not done surprising us.

Many people have devoted their lives to the study of water and its characteristics, and many books have been written on the subject.

Among the diverse singularities of the water molecule, we can highlight the followings:

  • Exceptional natural solvent
  • Dilatometric anomaly
  • Boiling point

Exceptional natural solvent

Water is the most formidable natural solvent. It can dissolve more substances than any other solvent.

Thus, it is commonly referred to as a universal solvent.

On top of that, water has the particularity of being healthy for our organism.

This is vital for us, as it allows us to assimilate many dissolved substances essential to our metabolism.

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Dilatometric anomaly

The dilatometric anomaly is simply the ability of water to decrease in density when solidifying.

While normally, the opposite happens!

Indeed, the logic of the organization of the states of matter dictates that a matter which passes from the gaseous state to the liquid state, then to the solid state, becomes denser every time.

Except that in the case of water, during the passage from its liquid state to its solid state, it does not densify, it expands and not just a little!

The difference in density between water and ice is about 10%.

This is what makes the ice cubes in our glass of water float on the surface and not fall to the bottom of the glass.

In the same way, this is why ice float on water instead of sinking down.

Without this singularity, there would be no ice floes, no icebergs and no marine life in lakes exposed to freezing, because the ice floating on the surface of a lake prevents it from freezing completely, thus allowing animals to survive.

Boiling point

Although the liquid state of water is considered normal at room temperature, it is in fact an anomaly specific to water.

In fact, the boiling point of water, that is to say the temperature for a given pressure at which a substance passes from the liquid state to the gaseous state, is abnormally high compared to its low molecular weight.

At sea level, water boils at 100°C, at the top of Mount Everest, at 72°C.

It is actually fortunate that this is the case, because otherwise we would not be here to talk about it!

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