Tuesday, August 4, 2009

15 Cool Facts About Water

Water. Image:steve_steady64

Water is something that is absolutely required for life. We use water in almost every task we do: washing, drinking, bathing, swimming and so on. We take water to be a simple substance that is very useful, but in fact, there are a number of very interesting and strange facts about water. Here are 15 of them.

1. The chemical formula of water is H2O.

The chemical formula, and shape, of the water molecule, H2O.

2. The H2O molecule has a special, bent-planar shape, which is crucial for life.

3. Water has its greatest density at 4 degrees Celsius. This makes it the only substance whose liquid form is more dense than its solid form.

4. Less than 1 percent of all the water on this planet is freshwater (water that is drinkable).

5. Your brain is made up of approximately 85% water. A watermelon is almost all water (92% water). An earthworm is about 80% water.

6. Water has a high heat of vaporisation (the amount of energy required to transform a liquid into a gas). This means that water can absorb a large amount of heat, and experience only a small increase in temperature. This is ideal for humans and other living creatures, as the water in their bodies can help maintain a constant temperature.

7. Letting the tap run while you brush your teeth wastes up to 5 gallons of water every time.

8. The atmosphere holds so much water that if all of its water was allowed to fall down as rain, the whole of the Earth would be covered with about 2.5 cm (250 mm) of water.

9. A family of five uses approximately 326,000 gallons of water a year.

10. There are two basic kinds of water: hard and soft. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium ions. Hard water doesn’t lather easily with soap, while soft water does.

California Redwood tree. These can grow to heights of more than 100 meters.

11. Water molecules have amazing cohesive properties. Water molecules can stick to other water molecules (hydrogen bonding) (just run a tap and see a “stream” of water flowing). This is particularly important in plants: water molecules in a xylem vessel form a long, continuous chain of water that can be as high as a hundred meters.

12. It takes 5 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of milk.

13. To feed one person, in the United States, for a year, it requires approximately 1,726,000 gallons of water.

14. An average person drinks more than 15,000 gallons of water in their lifetime.

15. Water has an unusually high boiling point (100 degrees Celsius) for such a small molecule. This is because of hydrogen bonds between water molecules that keeps the molecules together, and thus increases the amount of energy required to separate the molecules.

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