Physical Science - Other

Why Water Molecules are Polar

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Water molecules are polar because of their shape (it is a bend molecule). The molecule has one side that is charged positively and one side that is negatively charged. Water molecules are made up of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. The bonds between the atoms are called covalent bonds. This is due to the fact that the atoms share electrons. There is one electron in each hydrogen atom.

Since the electrons are shared with the oxygen atoms, they stay close to the oxygen atoms. The outside of the hydrogen atom tends to be positively charged. There are eight electrons in the oxygen atom. The electrons tend to stay away from the hydrogen atoms. They are also responsible for causing the outside of the oxygen atom to be negatively charged.  

The polar forces work to pull the water molecules together when two of them get near each other. Several hydrogen atoms will bond to the oxygen atom of a water molecule .

Water molecules have a polarity property that helps them stay together by using a force called cohesion. Polarity also give the molecules the ability to bond with molecules of other substances by using a force called adhesion. Adhesion, cohesion and polarity are extremely important to all life. Tiny tubes called "xylem vessels" are the means the water molecules use to help transport water up in trees. These "xylem vessels" are shaped like tiny tubes.

While the hydrogen bonds of the water molecules are not as strong as covalent bonds they are strong enough to help the water molecules bind together. Water is extremely dense when it is in its frozen state and it can dissolve any substance. The hydrogen bonds are what gives water its unique characteristics. Around 20 percent of the water molecules are separate from their hydrogen bonds. This enables them to hydrate other materials that are in the water. Another of water's unique physical characteristics is the relatively high melting and boiling temperature that is required to break the hydrogen bonds between the molecules.

The polar qualities of water make it easy for it to dissolve such substances as salts, acids and alcohols, as they are soluble. Most oils and fats are non-polar substances and therefore are not water soluble.

Without a doubt water is an amazing substance. There could be no life on earth without it. The polar properties it possesses, allow it to sustain life.

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