The Importance Of Water To Life On Earth

933 words - 4 pages

Intro Sample...


Water is the most important substance in our evolution and our daily lives. Without water,
life as we know it would not have been possible. This essay will examine the water molecule
in order to ascertain how it brought about Earth's thriving ecosystem and how important it
is to us today.

Each water molecule consists of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. The oxygen atom (or
the apex of the water molecule) bears a slight electronegative charge while hydrogen
possesses a more positive one1 (figure a). Because opposite charges attract, the water
molecules are drawn together. When an oxygen atom is linked to a neighboring molecule's
hydrogen atom, a bond called a hydrogen bond is formed2. In an ice crystal the... View More »

Body Sample...




Water has a very high heat capacity. Most of the heat introduced to water is used not to set
water molecules in motion (giving them kinetic energy and causing their temperature to
rise), but to move hydrogen atoms around between neighboring oxygen atoms9. If all of this
heat was used solely to warm the water, living cells would boil in their own heat. Every
action in a living cell releases some heat. If the heat was not dissipated by the water, all
living things would cook themselves.

In order for water to evaporate from the surface of liquid water, a certain amount of
energy must be expended to break its hydrogen bonds. Because these hydrogen bonds are so
strong, water requires a lot of heat to boil (100øC). When water vaporizes, it takes along
all of the heat energy required to break its bonds thus having a powerful cooling effect on
the original body of water 10. It takes very little water loss to cool water substantially.
If humans had no way of perspiring, their body temperatures would rise about 70øC in one
single day11.

Water is very important because it is as close as we can get to a "universal solvent." When
a crystal of salt is dropped into a glass of water, the water begins to surround the sodium
and chloride atoms in the salt in what is called a hydration sphere12. The atoms interact
with the water molecule and leave the surface of the salt crystal, until the entire crystal
is dissolved. This has two effects: the salt is dissolved and the water molecules are
disturbed. When the water molecules are altered in this ...

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