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    Water Experiments

    Water Background Information

    Definition

    Water is a ubiquitous chemical substance that is composed of hydrogen and oxygen and is vital for all known forms of life.

    Basics

    Water is the most common liquid on Earth. It covers 70% of Earth's area. Pure water has no smell, taste, or color. Lakes, oceans, and rivers are made of water. Rain is water that falls from clouds in the sky. If water gets very cold, it freezes and becomes ice. Frozen rain can be ice or snow if conditions permit. If water gets very hot, it boils and becomes steam.

    Plants and animals (including people) must drink water to live. It gives a medium for chemical reactions to take place, and is the main part of blood. It keeps the body temperature the same by sweating from the skin. Water helps blood carry nutrients from the stomach to all parts of the body to keep the body alive. Water also helps the blood carry oxygen from the lungs to the body. Saliva helps animals and people digest food. Water helps make urine. Urine helps remove bad chemicals from the body. The human body is 60–70% water.

    Water is the main component of drinks like milk, juice, and wine. Each type of drink also has other things that add flavor or nutrients, things like sugar, fruit, and sometimes alcohol. Water that a person can drink is called "potable" (or "drinking") water. The water in oceans is salt water, but lakes and rivers usually have unsalted water. There is only about 3% fresh water on earth, the rest is salt water.

    Water is a molecule made of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. Its formula is H2O. Water has a surface tension. So a little water forms drops on a surface, rather than spreading out to wet the surface. Water can also be called aqua.

    Water becomes ice when it is very cold. Liquid water freezes and becomes solid ice at a temperature of 0° Celsius (32° Fahrenheit or 273 kelvin).

    Steam is the name given to water when it is a gas. Steam is always seen as a string of cloudy translucent mist. But, that is only the result of the steam condensing on the surface of dust in the air, which means the steam that you touch would not be very hot. The steam that is really 100 degrees Celsius is invisible.

    Rain are droplets of water falling from clouds in the sky that are bigger than 0.5 mm. Droplets of water that are about 0.2mm to 0.5mm big are drizzle. Rain is a kind of precipitation. Precipitation is any kind of water that falls from clouds in the sky, like rain, hail, sleet and snow. Rain is part of the water cycle.

    Topics of Interest

    In typical usage, water refers only to its liquid form or state, but the substance also has a solid state, ice, and a gaseous state, water vapor or steam. Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface. On Earth, it is found mostly in oceans and other large water bodies, with 1.6% of water below ground in aquifers and 0.001% in the air as vapor, clouds (formed of solid and liquid water particles suspended in air), and precipitation. Oceans hold 97% of surface water, glaciers and polar ice caps 2.4%, and other land surface water such as rivers, lakes and ponds 0.6%. A very small amount of the Earth's water is contained within biological bodies and manufactured products.

    Water on Earth moves continually through a cycle of evaporation or transpiration (evapotranspiration), precipitation, and runoff, usually reaching the sea. Over land, evaporation and transpiration contribute to the precipitation over land.

    Clean, fresh drinking water is essential to human and other lifeforms. Access to safe drinking water has improved steadily and substantially over the last decades in almost every part of the world. There is a clear correlation between access to safe water and GDP per capita. However, some observers have estimated that by 2025 more than half of the world population will be facing water-based vulnerability. A recent report (November 2009) suggests that by 2030, in some developing regions of the world, water demand will exceed supply by 50%. Water plays an important role in the world economy, as it functions as a solvent for a wide variety of chemical substances and facilitates industrial cooling and transportation. Approximately 70% of freshwater is consumed by agriculture.

    Water (H2O) is the most abundant molecule on Earth's surface, constituting about 70% of the planet's surface. In nature it exists in liquid, solid, and gaseous states. It is in dynamic equilibrium between the liquid and gas states at standard temperature and pressure. At room temperature, it is a nearly colorless with a hint of blue, tasteless, and odorless liquid. Many substances dissolve in water and it is commonly referred to as the universal solvent. Because of this, water in nature and in use is rarely pure and some of its properties may vary slightly from those of the pure substance. However, there are many compounds that are essentially, if not completely, insoluble in water. Water is the only common substance found naturally in all three common states of matter—for other substances, see chemical properties. Water is essential for life on Earth. Water usually makes up 55% to 78% of the human body.

    Water can dissolve many different substances, giving it varying tastes and odors. Humans and other animals have developed senses which (more or less) enable them to evaluate the potability of water by avoiding water that is too salty or putrid. Humans also tend to prefer cold water to lukewarm water since cold water is likely to contain fewer microbes. The taste advertised in spring water or mineral water derives from the minerals dissolved in it: Pure H2O is tasteless and odorless. The advertised purity of spring and mineral water refers to absence of toxins, pollutants and microbes.

    Water in the universe: Much of the universe's water may be produced as a byproduct of star formation. When stars are born, their birth is accompanied by a strong outward wind of gas and dust. When this outflow of material eventually impacts the surrounding gas, the shock waves that are created compress and heat the gas. The water observed is quickly produced in this warm dense gas. Water has been detected in interstellar clouds within our galaxy, the Milky Way. Water probably exists in abundance in other galaxies, too, because its components, hydrogen and oxygen, are among the most abundant elements in the universe. Interstellar clouds eventually condense into solar nebulae and solar systems such as ours.

    Strong evidence suggests that liquid water is present just under the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus and on Jupiter's moon Europa where it may exist as a 100 km deep ocean covering the whole moon which would amount to more water than is in all the Earth's oceans.

    Water is widely distributed on Earth as freshwater and salt water in the oceans. The Earth is often referred to as the "blue planet" because when viewed from space it appears blue. This blue color is caused by reflection from the oceans which cover roughly 70% of the area of the Earth.

    The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth. Since the water cycle is truly a "cycle," there is no beginning or end. Water can change states among liquid, vapor, and ice at various places in the water cycle. Although the balance of water on Earth remains fairly constant over time, individual water molecules can come and go.

    Water resources are sources of water that are useful or potentially useful to humans. Uses of water include agricultural, industrial, household, recreational and environmental activities. Virtually all of these human uses require fresh water.

    97% of water on the Earth is salt water, leaving only 3% as fresh water of which slightly over two thirds is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps. The remaining unfrozen freshwater is mainly found as groundwater, with only a small fraction present above ground or in the air.

    Fresh water is a renewable resource, yet the world's supply of clean, fresh water is steadily decreasing. Water demand already exceeds supply in many parts of the world and as the world population continues to rise, so too does the water demand. Awareness of the global importance of preserving water for ecosystem services has only recently emerged as, during the 20th century, more than half the world’s wetlands have been lost along with their valuable environmental services. Biodiversity-rich freshwater ecosystems are currently declining faster than marine or land ecosystems. The framework for allocating water resources to water users (where such a framework exists) is known as water rights.

    Seawater is water from a sea or ocean. On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5%. This means that every kilogram (2.2lb), or every litre, of seawater has approximately 35 grams (1.2 oz) of dissolved salts (mostly, but not entirely, the ions of sodium chloride: Na+, Cl−). The average density of seawater at the ocean surface is 1.025 g/ml; seawater is denser than freshwater (which reaches a maximum density of 1.000 g/ml at a temperature of 4 °C (39 °F)) because of the salts’ added mass. The freezing point of sea water decreases with increasing salinity and is about −2 °C (28.4 °F) at 35 g/l.

    Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the rotation of the Earth and the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun. The tides occur with a period of approximately 12 and a half hours and are influenced by the shape of the near-shore bottom.

    Effects on life: From a biological standpoint, water has many distinct properties that are critical for the proliferation of life that set it apart from other substances. It carries out this role by allowing organic compounds to react in ways that ultimately allow replication. All known forms of life depend on water. Water is vital both as a solvent in which many of the body's solutes dissolve and as an essential part of many metabolic processes within the body. Metabolism is the sum total of anabolism and catabolism. In anabolism, water is removed from molecules (through energy requiring enzymatic chemical reactions) in order to grow larger molecules (e.g. starches, triglycerides and proteins for storage of fuels and information). In catabolism, water is used to break bonds in order to generate smaller molecules (e.g. glucose, fatty acids and amino acids to be used for fuels for energy use or other purposes). Water is thus essential and central to these metabolic processes. Therefore, without water, these metabolic processes would cease to exist, leaving us to muse about what processes would be in its place, such as gas absorption, dust collection, etc.

    Aquatic life forms: Earth's waters are filled with life. The earliest life forms appeared in water; nearly all fish live exclusively in water, and there are many types of marine mammals, such as dolphins and whales that also live in the water. Some kinds of animals, such as amphibians, spend portions of their lives in water and portions on land. Plants such as kelp and algae grow in the water and are the basis for some underwater ecosystems. Plankton is generally the foundation of the ocean food chain. Aquatic animals must obtain oxygen to survive, and they do so in various ways. Fish have gills instead of lungs, although some species of fish, such as the lungfish, have both. Marine mammals, such as dolphins, whales, otters, and seals need to surface periodically to breathe air. Smaller life forms are able to absorb oxygen through their skin.

    Effects on human civilization: Water fountainCivilization has historically flourished around rivers and major waterways; Mesopotamia, the so-called cradle of civilization, was situated between the major rivers Tigris and Euphrates; the ancient society of the Egyptians depended entirely upon the Nile. Large metropolises like Rotterdam, London, Montreal, Paris, New York City, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Tokyo, Chicago, and Hong Kong owe their success in part to their easy accessibility via water and the resultant expansion of trade. Islands with safe water ports, like Singapore, have flourished for the same reason. In places such as North Africa and the Middle East, where water is more scarce, access to clean drinking water was and is a major factor in human development.

    Health and pollution: Environmental Science Program, Iowa State University student sampling water.Water fit for human consumption is called drinking water or potable water. Water that is not potable can be made potable by filtration or distillation (heating it until it becomes water vapor, and then capturing the vapor without any of the impurities it leaves behind), or by other methods (chemical or heat treatment that kills bacteria). Sometimes the term safe water is applied to potable water of a lower quality threshold (i.e., it is used effectively for nutrition in humans that have weak access to water cleaning processes, and does more good than harm). Water that is not fit for drinking but is not harmful for humans when used for swimming or bathing is called by various names other than potable or drinking water, and is sometimes called safe water, or "safe for bathing". Chlorine is a skin and mucous membrane irritant that is used to make water safe for bathing or drinking. Its use is highly technical and is usually monitored by government regulations (typically 1 part per million (ppm) for drinking water, and 1–2 ppm of chlorine not yet reacted with impurities for bathing water).

    Water Human uses: Agriculture, water as a scientific standard, drinking, hygiene, chemical uses, heat transfer fluid, water sport, water industry, industrial applications, food processing.

    Drinking water: or potable water is water of sufficiently high quality that it can be consumed or used without risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually consumed or used in food preparation.

    Water law is the field of law dealing with the ownership, control, and use of water as a resource. It is most closely related to property law, but has also become influenced by environmental law. Because water is vital to living things and to a variety of economic activities, laws attempting to govern it have far-reaching effects.

    Water right in water law refers to the right of a user to use water from a water source, e.g., a river, stream, pond or source of groundwater. In areas with plentiful water and few users, such systems are generally not complicated or contentious. In other areas, especially arid areas where irrigation is practiced, such systems are often the source of conflict, both legal and physical. Some systems treat surface water and ground water in the same manner, while others use different principles for each.

    Water crisis is a term used to refer to the world’s water resources shortage relative to human demand. The term has been applied to the worldwide water situation by the United Nations and other world organizations. Others, for example the Food and Agriculture Organization, claim there is no water crisis. The major aspects of the water crisis are allegedly overall scarcity of usable water and water pollution.

    Water politics, sometimes called hydropolitics, is politics affected by the availability of water and water resources, a necessity for all life forms and human development. The first use of the term, hydropolitics, came in the book by John Waterbury, entitled Hydropolitics of the Nile Valley, Syracuse University Press, 1979

    Water in Religion: Water is considered a purifier in most religions. Major faiths that incorporate ritual washing (ablution) include Christianity, Hinduism, Rastafari movement, Islam, Shinto, Taoism, and Judaism. Immersion (or aspersion or affusion) of a person in water is a central sacrament of Christianity (where it is called baptism); it is also a part of the practice of other religions, including Judaism (mikvah) and Sikhism (Amrit Sanskar). In addition, a ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions including Judaism and Islam. In Islam, the five daily prayers can be done in most cases after completing washing certain parts of the body using clean water (wudu). In Shinto, water is used in almost all rituals to cleanse a person or an area (e.g., in the ritual of misogi). Water is mentioned in the Bible 442 times in the New International Version and 363 times in the King James Version: 2 Peter 3:5(b) states, "The earth was formed out of water and by water" (NIV). In the Koran it is stated that "Living things are made of water" and it is often used to described Paradise.

    Water in Philosophy: The Ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles held that water is one of the four classical elements along with fire, earth and air, and was regarded as the ylem, or basic substance of the universe. Water was considered cold and moist. In the theory of the four bodily humors, water was associated with phlegm. The classical element of Water was also one of the five elements in traditional Chinese philosophy, along with earth, fire, wood, and metal.

    Water is described in many terms and contexts:

    According to state:

    • solid - ice
    • liquid - water
    • gaseous - water vapor
    • plasma

    According to meteorology:

    Liquid precipitation:

    • rain
    • freezing rain
    • drizzle
    • freezing drizzle
    • dew
    Solid precipitation
    • snow
    • snow pellets
    • snow grains
    • ice pellets
    • frozen rain
    • hail
    • ice crystals
    • hoarfrost
    • atmospheric icing
    • glaze ice

    According to occurrence:

    • groundwater
    • meltwater
    • meteoric water
    • connate water
    • fresh water
    • surface water
    • mineral water – contains many minerals
    • brackish water
    • dead water – strange phenomenon which can occur when a layer of fresh or brackish water rests on top of denser salt water, without the two layers mixing. It is dangerous for ship traveling.
    • seawater
    • brine

    According to uses:

    • tap water
    • bottled water
    • drinking water or potable water – useful for everyday drinking, without fouling, it contains balanced minerals that are not harmful to health.
    • purified water, laboratory-grade, analytical-grade or reagent-grade water – water which has been highly purified for specific uses in science or engineering. Often broadly classified as Type I, Type II, or Type III, this category of water includes, but is not limited to the following:
    • distilled water
    • double distilled water
    • deionized water

    Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

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