The Magic of Water

MelRussoBy Carmelo “Mel” Russo

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Water is a polar molecule. It has a partially negative pole at the oxygen end, and two partially positive poles at each of the hydrogen ends. This polarity of the water molecule is caused by the unequal sharing of electrons between the atoms, oxygen getting the best of it. It is for this reason that ionic substances such as table salt, phosphates, and nitrates as well slightly polarized materials like sugar and alcohol will dissolve in water.

The resulting attraction between the oppositely charged ends of the water molecules allows this substance to exist as a liquid at temperate atmospheric conditions even though this molecule is much lighter (H2O,18 amu’s) than temparate gases like carbon dioxide (CO2, 44 amu’s)* and sulfur dioxide (SO2, 64 amu’s). The extra, inter-molecular attraction of water molecules is also responsible for the extra energy required to change the phase of the water from solid to liquid (40 cal/g) and from liquid to gas (240 cal/g). In the first instance, ice to liquid, the crystal lattice mus be broken. In the second, liquid to steam, the molecules must be separated to a greater distance, using more energy to break the intermolecular attraction.

There is, however, a more interesting quality of this unusual, earthly substance. Nearness to trickling streams, rivers, lakes, and especially waterfalls is naturally magical to humans and probably other animals. This is because H2O, particularly when moving, creates a type of harmless electromagnetic radiation known as “negative ions” or an “ionization” of the air in the immediate vicinity of this liquid. The presence of these infinitely tiny, charged particles in the air around water invokes an uplifting sensation lending to a sense of well-being.. An additional benefit and most significant benefit is that these ions cleanse the air of positively charged particles including harmful bacteria, viruses, allergens, and spores.

So, besides covering more than 70% of the earth’s surface, being essential for life, constituting 70% of your body mass, and being a unique material in itself, water is a magical substance that makes you feel good, by just hanging out with it.

*Amu = atomic mass unit

 

Some Idyllic Falls from Around the Finger Lakes:

Photos courtesy of FingerLakes1.com