Water's "unusual" properties

We often think of a molecule as simply the sum of the atoms it contains, but it is more. It has emergent properties, in much the same way that an organism is more than the sum of its molecules or its cells.


The arrangement of atoms in water leads to a number of unique properties. Water differs rather dramatically from other molecules of similar size.

You can appreciate these differences by comparing the physical and chemical properties of water and carbon dioxide.


Many of the properties of water are a direct consequence of the ability of water molecules to interact with one another.

A partially positively charged H of one water molecule can interact electrostatically with a partially negatively charged O in another. This type of interaction is known as a hydrogen or H-bond.

H-bonds are much weaker than a standard covalent bond (such as the O-H bond within a water molecule), but strong enough to dramatically alter the properties of bulk water.


Use Wikipedia | revised 17 December 2004