A very special substance

As laymen one assumes that there are liquid and solid substances. Within the category of liquids there are some which have a fresh and lively flow, whereas others are very slow-moving. However, in physics there is an enormous number of deviations, but in particular, water proves to have a number of anomalies, that often create mysteries for scientists.

The surface of liquids acts similar to a spread out foil and this characteristic is called surface tension. The only other liquid to have such surface tension as high as water is mercury. This characteristic allows water to form drops and the fact that insects can walk on water. The surface tension is a decisive factor when it comes to transporting water from the root in the treetop - which actually works against gravity.

A further deviation can be found in the melting and boiling point of water, which is relatively high. If one compares water with other molecular masses, the boiling point should actually lie at minus 80 degres Celcius. However, we know that it lies at 100 degrees Celcius. It is similar with the melting point, that lies at 0 degrees Celcius, but, should really begin at 100 degrees when compared to molecular masses.

If water corresponded to the normal rules of molecular masses, then it should be present as a gas at room temperature rather than as a liquid.

The fact that humans and certain animals can cool their bodies through transpiration can be attributed to the high vaporization warmth behaviour of water.

Water has a very high, specific heat capacity. That means that water can take on a lot of energy without significantly increasing its temperature in the process. This characteristic is the foundation for the heat-balancing effect of water in one's body. If this were not the case, then it would be dangerous for humans to be in the heat of the south as well as the cold of the north.

A very interesting fact is that under certain conditions water can remain in liquid form even in temperatures up to minus 44 degrees Celcius. This is referred to as super-cooled water. This can, however, freeze explosively as soon as the slightest piece of dirt comes in contact with it, such as a piece of dust.


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