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The importance of water as a medium for life.

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Biology Essay: 12th September 2003 The importance of water as a medium for life: Water is a very important liquid found on the Earth's surface and makes up 60 to 90 % of the fresh mass of all living things and is very important for cells. It is also an important habitat for animals such as fish and other aquatic organisms. It consists of 2 hydrogen atoms, covalently bonded to an oxygen atom. When discussing what makes water such an important medium for life, I must consider properties, such as its dipolar charge, its ability as a solvent, its thermal properties, its density, its high surface tension and its cohesion. An important feature of water is that it has a dipolar (uneven) charge. This occurs because of the covalent bonds shared between the 2 hydrogens and the oxygen atoms. When these covalent bonds are formed, the oxygen nucleus attracts electrons more then the hydrogen nuclei do, due to oxygen having 8 protons opposed to hydrogen's 1 proton. ...read more.


Another benefit of water's thermal properties is that it needs a very high amount of energy to evaporate it into a gas (100� c boiling point). This makes sweating very effective for cooling the body. In contrast to this, water also needs a high amount of energy to be transferred away from it to make it freeze. This is important in making sure that living organisms, particularly aquatic creatures don't freeze up. An unusual property of water compared with many other liquids is that its solid form (ice) is a lot less dense than its liquid form. We know this because ice tends to float on top of water. As this occurs in ponds and streams, the ice that forms on top of water insulates the liquid below it, ensuring that life beneath the ice survives. This is an important property of water, which ensures that aquatic animals don't have their environment constantly fluctuating at different temperatures. ...read more.


This is due to many important properties that it holds. One of these properties is a dipolar charge, which causes hydrogen bonds to attract to each other and cause cohesion, which is important for transport. Another important property is the fact that it is an excellent solvent. This means that many biochemical reactions are able to take place in water, which is why 60 to 90% of the fresh mass of living things are made up of H2O. Water is also good for its thermal properties which insulate the bodies of living organisms, making it easy for them to keep a constant temperature. Another unusual property is that the density of water decreases when it's a solid, which protects the organisms in lakes and ponds in extreme weather conditions. Each of these properties make water a very important substance for living in, whether we need it as an environment, to whether we need it for biochemical reactions in or bodies to take place. In conclusion, without water, the earth would be a very inhabitable place to live in for living organisms. ...read more.

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