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Density of liquid water

Temp (°C) Density (kg/m3)[17][18]


+100 958.4
+80 971.8
Density of water and ice +60 983.2
+40 992.2
The density of water is approximately one gram per +30 995.6502
cubic centimeter. More precisely, it is dependent on +25 997.0479
its temperature, but the relation is not linear and is
+22 997.7735
not even monotonic (see right-hand table). When
cooled from room temperature liquid water +20 998.2071
becomes increasingly dense, just like other +15 999.1026
substances. But at approximately 4 °C, pure water +10 999.7026
reaches its maximum density. As it is cooled +4 999.9720
further, it expands to become less dense. This 0 999.8395
unusual negative thermal expansion is attributed to −10 998.117
strong, orientation-dependent, intermolecular −20 993.547
interactions and is also observed in molten silica.[19] −30 983.854
The values below 0 °C refer to supercooled water.
The solid form of most substances is denser than
the liquid phase; thus, a block of the solid will sink in the liquid. But, by contrast, a block of ice
floats in liquid water because ice is less dense than liquid water. Upon freezing, the density of
water decreases by about 9%.[20] The reason for this is the 'cooling' of intermolecular vibrations
allowing the molecules to form steady hydrogen bonds with their neighbors and thereby
gradually locking into positions reminiscent of the hexagonal packing achieved upon freezing to
ice Ih. While the hydrogen bonds are shorter in the crystal than in the liquid, this locking effect
reduces the average coordination number of molecules as the liquid approaches nucleation. Other
substances that expand on freezing are silicon, gallium, germanium, antimony, bismuth,
plutonium and other compounds that form spacious crystal lattices with tetrahedral coordination.

Only ordinary, hexagonal ice is less dense than the liquid. Under increasing pressure ice
undergoes a number of transitions to other allotropic forms with higher density than liquid water,
such as high density amorphous ice (HDA) and very high density amorphous ice (VHDA).

Water also expands significantly as the temperature increases. Its density decreases by 4% from
its highest value when approaching the boiling point.

The melting point of ice is 0 °C (32 °F, 273 K) at standard pressure, however, pure liquid water
can be supercooled well below that temperature without freezing if the liquid is not mechanically
disturbed. It can remain in a fluid state down to its homogeneous nucleation point of
approximately 231 K (−42 °C).[21] The melting point of ordinary hexagonal ice falls slightly
under moderately high pressures, but as ice transforms into its allotropes (see crystalline states of
ice) above 209.9 MPa (2,072 atm), the melting point increases markedly with pressure, i.e.
reaching 355 K (82 °C) at 2.216 GPa (21,870 atm) (triple point of Ice VII[22]).

A significant increase of pressure is required to lower the melting point of ordinary ice —the
pressure exerted by an ice skater on the ice would only reduce the melting point by
approximately 0.09 °C (0.16 °F).[citation needed]
These properties of water have important consequences in its role in the ecosystem of Earth.
Water of a temperature of 4 °C will always accumulate at the bottom of fresh water lakes,
irrespective of the temperature in the atmosphere. Since water and ice are poor conductors of
heat[23] (good insulators) it is unlikely that sufficiently deep lakes will freeze completely, unless
stirred by strong currents that would mix cooler and warmer water and accelerate the cooling. In
warming weather, chunks of ice float, rather than sink to the bottom where they might melt
extremely slowly. These phenomena thus may preserve aquatic life.

Polarity and hydrogen bonding

Model of hydrogen bonds between molecules of water

An important feature of water is its polar nature. The water molecule forms an angle, with
hydrogen atoms at the tips and oxygen at the vertex. Since oxygen has a higher electronegativity
than hydrogen, the side of the molecule with the oxygen atom has a partial negative charge. An
object with such a charge difference is called a dipole. The charge differences cause water
molecules to be attracted to each other (the relatively positive areas being attracted to the
relatively negative areas) and to other polar molecules. This attraction contributes to hydrogen
bonding, and explains many of the properties of water, such as solvent action.

A water molecule can form a maximum of four hydrogen bonds because it can accept two and
donate two hydrogen atoms. Other molecules like hydrogen fluoride, ammonia, methanol form
hydrogen bonds but they do not show anomalous behavior of thermodynamic, kinetic or
structural properties like those observed in water. The answer to the apparent difference between
water and other hydrogen bonding liquids lies in the fact that apart from water none of the
hydrogen bonding molecules can form four hydrogen bonds either due to an inability to
donate/accept hydrogens or due to steric effects in bulky residues. In water local tetrahedral
order due to the four hydrogen bonds gives rise to an open structure and a 3-dimensional bonding
network, resulting in the anomalous decrease of density when cooled below 4 °C.

Although hydrogen bonding is a relatively weak attraction compared to the covalent bonds
within the water molecule itself, it is responsible for a number of water's physical properties. One
such property is its relatively high melting and boiling point temperatures; more energy is
required to break the hydrogen bonds between molecules. The similar compound hydrogen
sulfide (H2S), which has much weaker hydrogen bonding, is a gas at room temperature even
though it has twice the molecular mass of water. The extra bonding between water molecules
also gives liquid water a large specific heat capacity. This high heat capacity makes water a good
heat storage medium (coolant) and heat shield.

[edit] Cohesion and adhesion

Dew drops adhering to a spider web

Water molecules stay close to each other (cohesion), due to the collective action of hydrogen
bonds between water molecules. These hydrogen bonds are constantly breaking, with new bonds
being formed with different water molecules; but at any given time in a sample of liquid water, a
large portion of the molecules are held together by such bonds.[33]

Water also has high adhesion properties because of its polar nature. On extremely clean/smooth
glass the water may form a thin film because the molecular forces between glass and water
molecules (adhesive forces) are stronger than the cohesive forces. In biological cells and
organelles, water is in contact with membrane and protein surfaces that are hydrophilic; that is,
surfaces that have a strong attraction to water. Irving Langmuir observed a strong repulsive force
between hydrophilic surfaces. To dehydrate hydrophilic surfaces—to remove the strongly held
layers of water of hydration—requires doing substantial work against these forces, called
hydration forces. These forces are very large but decrease rapidly over a nanometer or less. They
are important in biology, particularly when cells are dehydrated by exposure to dry atmospheres
or to extracellular freezing.[34]

[edit] Surface tension

Main article: Surface tension


This paper clip is under the water level, which has risen gently and smoothly.
Surface tension prevents the clip from submerging and the water from overflowing
the glass edges.

Temperature dependence of the surface tension of pure water

Water has a high surface tension of 72.8 mN/m at room temperature, caused by the strong
cohesion between water molecules, the highest of the non-metallic liquids. This can be seen
when small quantities of water are placed onto a sorption-free (non-adsorbent and non-
absorbent) surface, such as polyethylene or Teflon, and the water stays together as drops. Just as
significantly, air trapped in surface disturbances forms bubbles, which sometimes last long
enough to transfer gas molecules to the water.[citation needed]

Another surface tension effect is capillary waves, which are the surface ripples that form around
the impacts of drops on water surfaces, and sometimes occur with strong subsurface currents
flowing to the water surface. The apparent elasticity caused by surface tension drives the waves.

[edit] Capillary action

Main article: Capillary action

Due to an interplay of the forces of adhesion and surface tension, water exhibits capillary action
whereby water rises into a narrow tube against the force of gravity. Water adheres to the inside
wall of the tube and surface tension tends to straighten the surface causing a surface rise and
more water is pulled up through cohesion. The process continues as the water flows up the tube
until there is enough water such that gravity balances the adhesive force.

Surface tension and capillary action are important in biology. For example, when water is carried
through xylem up stems in plants, the strong intermolecular attractions (cohesion) hold the water
column together and adhesive properties maintain the water attachment to the xylem and prevent
tension rupture caused by transpiration pull.