water science

On August 14th, 2017

Why Water is Awesomely Weird: Reasons H2O Will Astound You

Water is Weird!

It is everywhere, and we bathe in it. We happily drink it, and without it, we could not live. Although we will search and search for fresh water, we are easily enticed to jump into the salty sea quickly. What is this strange stuff? It is water, H2O, and it is awesomely weird!

Water is a Shapeshifter!

Water is flexible, and it will change to any shape that it desires. It shapeshifts into three states of matter: liquid as water, solid as ice, and gas as vapor! As a part of its life cycle, it likes to evaporate into a gas, saying hello to the sun, and then falls upon Earth as droplets of liquid, saying hello to you. It enjoys turning, at times, into solid chunks that fall from the heavens. Chicken Little would be very afraid! Current experiments show that water may have yet another state of matter, an extra liquid state. Since it moves back and forth from state to state, water just will not stay still!

Water is Sticky

What? I have felt water, and it feels smooth. It cannot possibly be sticky. It slides right off our bodies, cars, and into anything with a basin. Strangely enough, it is sticky. How would you feel if everything that you touched stuck to you? Well, water enjoys it! The molecules in water love each other so much that they stick together, which we call cohesive forces, as much as possible. Water molecules are so sticky that they will find any other water molecule that is nearby and combine with it.

Water is an Alien from Outer Space?

I thought only little green men come from outer space. The water you drank this morning could have come from far away in the universe. Evidence is pointing towards water visiting Earth as ice comets from space. Well, this is awkward. If water is from outer space and we are around 60% to 70% water, are we part alien? Weird!

Mpemba What?

Mpemba? Does water have strange names? Perhaps, but the Mpemba effect is named Erasto Mpemba. What did this man with an interesting name figure out? Well, hot water can apparently freeze faster than cold water. How does that make sense? Shouldn’t cold water freeze quicker than hot water? Sometimes, water will fool you, and hot will freeze faster than cold.
Everyone that heard his strange theory, which common sense contradicts, insulted Mpemba and called him names. Thankfully, he persisted and proven correct; hot water can freeze faster than cold water. However, water still has not given up this secret. While we have a few good guesses, we have no idea how this happens. Why water? It is 2017! Why are you so awesomely eccentric that we have yet to figure you out?

Water Loves My Weight

What is the biggest animal you have seen? Maybe you saw a 6-ton elephant or 2.5-ton rhinoceros. Now, what is the largest water dwelling creature that you have seen? Maybe a whale, weighing 150 tons, or a shark, weighing 100 tons. How could a former 100-ton shark live in water? What about a 150-ton whale? The mass, or weight, of water and land creatures, is so very, very different! What happened? Water simply being itself, weird, is what happened.

While land creatures must deal with gravity, water resists it by having buoyancy push up against it. While we all know that heavier things sink and lighter things float, this basic explanation is only a part of the reason, a potentially inaccurate one. How can one person sink and another float? While gravity presses down and buoyancy presses up against an object, it must displace more water than its mass to remain stable. If there is more buoyancy than the mass of an object and the gravity that acts upon it, the object will float. If these forces are equal, the object will remain neutral, or stable, and will float, or stay where it is in the water. If the buoyancy is greater than the mass of an object and the exerting gravitational influence, it will sink to the bottom. Archimedes’ Principle explains this mathematically.

For instance, a submarine works by adding or removing water and air from the inside. When it simply moves through the water, it is in a neutral state. When the submarine rises, the buoyancy is forcing it to go upward. If the submarine sinks, the weight of it and gravity overcome buoyancy.

Water the Sojourner?

We see water moving, and it becomes a natural idea in our mind that it moves. We take this for granted, but have you ever thought about water traveling from one location to the next? The water that you are drinking, where did it originate? Water will travel anywhere. If there is an open spot, water wants to claim it. It travels from one place to another and the water you drink today could be from across the world! Water is even smart, as it uses gravity to travel faster. Have you ever heard of a smart liquid? Perhaps we overlook and forget about water too much in our daily lives.

Water Becomes Beautiful

Water turns to ice as it freezes. One type of ice is so beautiful that we sing songs about it. We put it under a microscope and find exquisite symmetrical structures with lovely patterns. This ice is snow. What makes Christmas more beautiful? Snow. What makes you want to sit by a log fire with a warm drink? Snow. What do we hate to clean off the reads but love to see it fall? Snow. It is unique in that there are many different snowflake types, allowing for a broad range of shapes and sizes. I am special and unique, like a snowflake. What about you?

Water is Old

Our water is old. Water is so old that you may be drinking water that dinosaurs enjoyed. You may wish to become a dinosaur; sadly, drinking their water will not help. I wonder if our water tastes like a dinosaur. I guess we will never know. What we do know is that water gets even stranger. Science currently dates the sun to an approximate age of 4.6 billion years. Shortly afterward, the Earth formed around 4.4 billion years ago. Logically, the sun must be older than water on Earth. Nope, some water on Earth may be older than the Sun. If an icy comet formed before Sun and crashed into Earth, the water is older than the Sun. I hope the Sun doesn’t feel bad. If you find yourself on another planet, watch out for the interstellar ice!

Water, Water, Water

Water, we often forget about you. Throughout our daily experiences, we never pay attention to you. It is strange that beverages contain more of you than other ingredients. Pure water has a pH of 7, making it neutral. We need around 12 gallons of you just to raise one chicken. It is peculiar how you use capillary action to move up against the force of gravity. It is odd to think that when I am thirsty, I have lost around 1% of you. You make up around 25% of our bones. We would not exist without you. Thank you, water, for being so awesomely weird!

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