Monday, 23 August 2010
The Importance of Water to Life
Water has several qualities that have strongly affected life on Earth. It is a powerful solvent, being able to dissolve more compounds in greater amounts than any other liquid.
Water has a great capacity to absorb and retain heat. Because of this, the oceans act as buffers for the earth, thus stabilizing Earth's temperature.
Water cannot break down hydrophobic compounds, which is why oil and water don't mix.
Compounds that do interact with water are polar or carry an electric charge and are called hydrophilic compounds.
Life is possible under the ice! Water is unusual in that its solid form (ice) is less dense than its liquid form. This means that ice floats, and this in turn means that life can flourish in cold-weather aquatic environments.