Water has some incredible properties. We introduced some of them in Ben’s previous blog post. It got us asking questions such as why it is present in such a great quantity in our bodies, why it is essential for life and why it is this particular chemical instead of another.
For starters, we see water in all of it’s states at Earth temperatures. If it didn’t behave the way that it did, many species worldwide could not exist. Ice is a classic example. Water forms a crystal lattice when it freezes which makes it less dense than water in liquid form. This very property means that ponds don’t freeze from the bottom up and the ice that forms at the top acts as an insulator, allowing the wildlife beneath it to survive.
Water is known as a universal solvent. In our body, it is largely contained in our cells. It is part of what forms their shape as well as their ability to contain many molecules that are important for our bodies.
Water has some brilliant thermal properties. It has a high specific heat capacity. This means that large bodies of water require vast amounts of energy to heat. On a sunny day, the sea still feels cool. The result is a much more stable and consistent temperature for the various organisms that inhabit it.
Stay tuned for another part on this incredible molecule.