Properties of Water

1212 words 5 pages
Properties of Water

Water is essential for life as we know it on earth. It is used by plants and animals for basic biological processes which would be impossible without the use of water. The origin of all life can be traced back to the water in the
Earth's precambrien seas. Water is also the universal solvent. It reacts with more elements and compounds than any other substance known to man. Water is a polar molecule made up of on atom of hydrogen and two atoms of oxygen. It is attracted to itself by hydrogen bonds. Hydrogen bonds are weaker than covalent bonds, but collectively these bonds hold water together and give it its cohesiveness. These bonds are also very important to water's ability to absorb heat, as without
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Water's properties allow it to be the focal point of many cellular functions, primarily because of its reactive abilities. Ionization is one example of these reactions. This occurs when a water molecule in a hydrogen bond with another one loses an atom of hydrogen. The remaining particle is a hydroxl ion. Micromolecules with different charges than water can cause ionization to happen as well. During the process of ionization water realeases an eaqual number of hydrogen (H+) and hydroxyl (OH-). This dissociation process involves only a few water molecules at once. The actual number is about 10-7 moles/liter). Acids [L. acidus, sour] are molecules that release the hydrogen ions in the dissociation process. Strong acids, such as hydrochloric, dissociate almost entirely in water. Bases are molecules that take up these extra hydrogen ions. Water passes through pores easily. Cells take advantage of this by having ³channels² -- tiny holes in the cell membrane. These are exactly the right size that water can get through them, while larger particles are held inside. Osmosis [Gk. Osmo, pushing] is defined by the Sylvia Mader textbook as ³ the diffusion of water across a differentially permeable membrane². This process is caused by a fluid attempting to seek equilibrium by going from a high pressure situation into a lower pressure one. This pressure that causes this operation is known as osmotic pressure. Another interesting state that

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