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Water is said to have unique properties. Explain what these are and show in what ways these properties are so important to life.

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Water is said to have unique properties. Explain what these are and show in what ways these properties are so important to life. Water is a vital component in order for living organisms to survive, due to its unique physical and chemical properties. A human body is made up of approximately 60 per cent water, with a single human cell containing 80 per cent water. All biochemical reactions take place in water, as it provides the appropriate medium. This transparent liquid is the source of life on Earth, and even provides a home for some organisms. The Unique Structure of Water Water is a polar molecule (it has an unsymmetrical distribution of electron density, with both positively charged and negatively charged areas). It is made up of two positively charged hydrogen atoms and one negatively charged oxygen atom, joined by single covalent bonds. The polarity and structure of water molecules: The polarity causes adjacent water molecules to become attracted to each other, and as a result, they bond to one another. Oxygen atoms are slightly negatively charged, allowing the polar bonds to become closer to the oxygen side of the molecule. The hydrogen atom of one molecule has a slightly positive charge and becomes attracted to the slight negative charge of an oxygen atom of another molecule. ...read more.


Many organisms have evolved to allow them to spread their body over a large surface area to prevent breaking water's surface tension. Turgidity, Support and Movement Water helps plant cells to remain turgid, which is essential for maintaining maximum leaf surface area for absorption and photosynthesis to take place. It also helps to maximise pollination and seed dispersal. Leaves will also wilt if they do not have sufficient supplies water, which will decrease their surface area. This would result in light absorption, temperature and water loss. Water-filled tissues also provide skeletal support in animals. Water is the major component found in the fluid situated in the coelum, where muscles can act against it in organisms such as annelids, which have a hydrostatic skeleton. Therefore, water also contributes to movement within many organisms. Transport The uptake of minerals from soil through the root hairs by plants takes place in a solution. A further example of transport, involving water is the transpiration stream and the water-based movements of hormones, sugars and amino acids in the phloem. The cytoplasm, blood, tissue fluid and plasma in animals, which are all involved with transport, are all water-based. Water as the Universal Solvent Water can dissolve almost anything, making it an ideal environment for chemical reactions to occur. ...read more.


The structure that is formed by hydrogen bonds in ice: For this structure to form, the water molecules spread out and expand to allow maximum bond formation. Water freezes from the top and progresses down, causing ice to float and act as an insulator, meaning that many organisms can survive below the ice surface. Organisms maintain a constant body temperature, due to evaporation, which allows sweating or panting to take place. This is because when water molecules manage to escape during evaporation, a lot of energy is also released, providing a good cooling procedure. Water has a number of unique properties, making it vital for organisms to survive. Without it, life would not ever have evolved. It provides surface tension, allowing many organisms to support themselves and move efficiently. It provides the perfect environment for chemical reactions to take place, due to the fact that it is a universal solvent. Water also has a very high heat capacity, allowing organisms to maintain the appropriate body temperature, which is vital for their survival. Finally, water has a unique structure, involving polarity and hydrogen bonding. By considering these examples and the many others that have also been discussed, it is clear to see how unique and important the chemical and physical properties of water are to all living organisms. ...read more.

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