Interesting Facts About Water
Water is invariably a fundamental necessity in our day to day lives. Not a day goes by where a living thing on earth doesn’t utilize water in at least a few of its activities. We drink water as effortlessly as we breathe air, well, almost. Even our breath consists of water content in the form of water vapor. Most of us are aware that boiling of water produces steam and freezing it produces ice. It dissolves a whole lot of solids, some liquids, and even a few gasses. The fish that live underwater breathe in dissolved oxygen and the carbonated water that we know as soda is actually carbon dioxide dissolved in water. Well, there is a lot more to this undisputed necessity than these most commonly known facts mentioned above. Here are some interesting and yet less widely known facts about this resource.
1) Drinking too much water can be fatal -
One of the most frequently heard advises is to drink plenty of water. But as we all know, too much of anything is too bad. Unfortunately, it is true even for drinking water. Drinking too much of water can lead to water intoxication (water poisoning), a potentially fatal condition where the brain functions are disrupted due to the presence of excessive water in the cells of the brain causing it to swell up inside the skull causing too much pressure. It leads to symptoms such as severe headaches, difficulty in breathing, coma and ultimately even death.
2) Water is the “universal solvent” -
Water is the only known liquid which can dissolve a maximum number of substances we know today and hence it is called the “universal solvent”. That is, in part, why it plays such a vital role even in sustaining life forms as it carries minerals, nutrients, and vitamins for all bodily functions. Increasing the temperature of water allows it to dissolve a little more of any water-soluble substance.
3) Water expands on heating as well as freezing -
A commonly known fact is that any material expands on heating whether it’s a solid, a liquid, or a gas causing it to slightly increase in volume. The more the heat, the higher is the percentage increase in volume. While this is true even for water, interestingly the liquid also seems to expand on freezing. When cooled below 4 degrees Celsius, water expands by about 9% of its volume as it freezes. Consequently, ice has a reduced density when compared to its liquid form and that is why ice floats on water.
4) Persistent consumption of pure water can lead to a reduced lifespan -
Pure water consisting of just water molecules, also known as distilled water, seems ideal for consumption due to the absence of any kind of extrinsic components be it biological or chemical. While it is apparently safe to drink distilled water because of its intrinsic nature, potentially it can be harmful if consumed over long periods of time. Freshwater, or the water that is fit for consumption, has a lot of indispensable minerals essential for biological functions. Hence, we get the most rudimentary amounts of these minerals from the water we drink. Deficiencies of these minerals can lead to high blood pressure levels and aggravation of health conditions that lead to premature aging.
5) Approximately 75 to 80 percent of the body weight of a newly born infant is water -
Most of us do know that about 60% of the body weight of an adult human being is comprised of water. But a newly born baby, however, has a more water-rich body weight of about 75 to 80 percent. This is usually the case in most new-borns including premature babies. Nonetheless, in the subsequent months, this percentage reduces gradually with random fluctuations and becomes steady over the years. Infants consume over 5 times more water in their first 6 months than an average adult.
6) We breathe out about a glass of water every day -
Every breath that comes out of our body is rich in water vapor. All of us would have, at some point, tried breathing on a mirror just for the sake of it and observed water droplets settling down on its surface. Breathing is a process that generates energy in our body and thus helps maintain our body temperature. Since our body weight is over 60% water, our body temperature causes water to evaporate and escape from our lungs as water vapor through exhalation. On an average, we breathe out about 240ml (a glass) of water every day.
7) Total water on earth is estimated to be around 326 million trillion gallons -
As many of us know water covers about 71% of the earth’s surface and is the most abundant resource found on the earth’s surface of which over 95% is unsuitable for consumption. The total amount of water present on earth is estimated to be around 326 million trillion gallons (1 gallon = 3.785 liters). Now that’s a lot of water. This estimate accounts for water contained in all sources including lifeforms.
8) Hot water freezes faster than cold water -
Although this happens only under specific circumstances, hot water freezes faster than cold water as a lot of us might already know. One might try to explain this with an argument saying the rate at which hot water loses energy is fairly higher than that at which cold water does. But the fact remains that it is still unclear as to why this happens. This is called the Mpemba effect as it was first discovered by Erasto Batholomeo Mpemba in Tanzania in the year 1963.
9) Water is the only substance that is naturally found in all the 3 states of matter on Earth -
Water exists in the form of solid, liquid and gas on earth and is the only substance to be found existing naturally on the planet in all the three states of matter. At room temperature water is supposed to be in vapor form. The water molecules are known to be sticky, they stick on to any kind of material easily and also like to stick around themselves. This bond is what keeps the water molecules together even at room temperature. The clouds we see in the sky are all rich in water content. Water is also present everywhere in the atmosphere in its vapor form. Near the poles of the earth, water in its solid form (ice) can be found in copious amounts.
10) Earth has the same amount of water now as it did a million years ago -
Evaporation and condensation of water is an everlasting process and is the only means by which it is naturally recycled. This process happens every second, even as you are reading this. A lot of water might have traveled great distances or even exist in a different physical state than it did a million years ago. But the amount of water on earth now is roughly the same as a million years ago.
Water is a natural reflection of the beauty of nature— Prashanth Lakshmana
These are just some of the most intriguing facts about water, a magical liquid to all life forms and a versatile substance that exists most abundantly on earth.
© 2018 Prashanth Lakshmana