Special attributes of Water: adhesive, cohesive, surface tension, heat capacity.

Essay by JFLUniversity, Bachelor's April 2006

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The cohesive forces between liquid molecules are responsible for the phenomenon known as surface tension. With Surface tension molecules at the surface do not have other like molecules on all sides of them and consequently they cohere more strongly to those directly associated with them on the surface. This forms a surface with a type of film barrier that makes it more difficult to move an object through the surface than to move it when it is completely submersed or slightly more difficult to break through the surface.

When a small object that would normally sink in water is placed carefully on the surface, it can remain suspended on the surface due to surface tension. An example of this is the Basilisk lizard. The Basilisk lizard makes use of the high surface tension of water to accomplish the incredible feat of walking on water's surface. The Basilisk can't actually walk on water; rather, it runs on water, moving its feet before they break through the surface.

Due to the surface tension of water the Basilisk lizard is able to escape predation by other animals, and to quickly search for food.

Water has a high heat capacity. Specific heat is the measure of heat capacity. Basically it is the heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1ºC. Water, has a high heat capacity which means that changes in temperature more slowly occur than in other compounds that gain or lose energy. The heat capacity of water come directly from its hydrogen bonded structure. Hydrogen bonds play a large role in specific heat. An example of the strength of hydrogen bonding is when ice is heated. As heat is added to ice, the energy first breaks hydrogen bonds, which allows the molecules to move freely. When the...