• Saturday June 25,2022

Water States

We explain to you what the states of water are, the characteristics of each one and how the change between one and the other takes place.

Water changes state depending on the conditions of tension and temperature.
  1. What are the states of water?

We all know what water is, and we know its three presentations, known as the physical states of water. That is: liquid (water), solid (ice) and gas (steam), the three ways in which water can be found in nature, without changing its composition at all. Mica, which is always the one that denotes its formula H 2 O: hydrogen and oxygen.

That water is present in any of these three physical states, depends on the pressure around it and the temperature at which it is, that is, on the environmental conditions. Therefore, by manipulating these conditions it is possible to convert liquid water into solid or gaseous, or vice versa.

Given the importance of water for life and its abundant presence on the planet, its physical states are used as a reference for many measurement systems and thus allow comparisons with other materials and substances.

See also: States of aggregation of matter

  1. Water properties

Insects and spiders can move along the surface of the water due to their surface tension.

Water is a colorless, tasteless, odorless substance with a neutral pH (7, neither acid nor basic). It is composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen in each molecule.

Its particles have an enormous force of cohesion, which holds them together, so that it has an important surface tension (some insects take advantage of it to "walk" on water) and it takes a lot of energy to alter their physical states.

Water is known as the "universal solvent", since it can dissolve many more substances than in any other liquid . In addition, it is a fundamental compound for life, abundantly present in all organisms. Water covers two thirds of the total surface of our planet .

  1. Liquid state

In a liquid state the water is fluid and flexible.

The state we most associate with water is the liquid, its state of greatest density and incomprehensibility, and also the most abundant on our planet.

In their liquid state, the water particles are together, although not too much. Therefore, it presents a flexibility and fluidity typical of liquids, and instead losing its own shape, to adopt that of the container that contains it.

Therefore, liquid water requires certain conditions of energy (heat) or pressure, which in our ordinary atmosphere is between 0 and 100 C . However, it is possible to exceed its boiling point, if it is subjected to higher pressures (superheated water), being able to reach the critical temperature of 374 ° C, temperature limit at which the gases can be liquefied .

Liquid water is ordinarily found in seas, lakes, rivers and underground deposits, but also contained in the bodies of living beings.

  1. Solid state

The ice that covers the lakes is less dense than the water.

The solid state of water is commonly known as ice, and is reached by lowering its temperature to 0 C or lower . A curiosity of frozen water is that it gains volume compared to its liquid state. In other words, ice has a lower density than water (which is why the first floats).

The ice is hard, fragile and transparent in appearance, throwing white and blue, depending on its purity and the thickness of its layers. Under certain conditions it can be temporarily kept in a semi-solid state, known as snow.

Solid water can ordinarily be found in glaciers, at the top of the mountains, on frozen soils (permafrost) and on the outer planets of the Solar System, as well as inside our freezer. foods.

  1. Gaseous state

When exhaling on a cold day we can see the water in a gaseous state.

The gaseous state of water is known as steam or water vapor, and is a usual component of our atmosphere, present even in every exhalation we give. In conditions of low pressure of high temperature, the water evaporates and tends to rise, since the vapor is less dense than the air .

The change to the gaseous state occurs at 100 C, as long as one is at sea level (1 atmosphere). The gaseous water composes the clouds that we see in the sky, is in the air we breathe (especially in our exhalations) and in the mist that appears on the days of cold and humidity. We can also see it if we put a pot of water to boil.

  1. changes of water's state

As we have seen in some of the previous cases, water can be carried from one state to another, simply by varying its temperature conditions. This can be done in one direction or another, and with each different process we will give it its proper name, as follows:

  • Evaporation Liquid to gaseous transformation, increasing the water temperature to 100 C. This is what happens with boiling water, hence its characteristic bubbling.
  • Condensation Reverse process: transformation of liquid gas, due to heat loss. This is what happens with water vapor when it condenses on the bathroom mirror: the surface of the mirror is colder and the vapor that perches on it becomes liquid.
  • Freezing . Transformation of liquid liquid, lowering the water temperature below 0 C. Water solidifies, producing ice, just like in our freezers or at the peak of the mountains.
  • Melting Reverse process: transformation of the liquid solid water, adding heat to the ice. This process is very everyday and we can see it when we add ice to our drinks.
  • Sublimation It is the process of transformation of solid gas, in this case of water vapor, to ice or snow directly. For this to happen, very specific temperature and pressure conditions are required, which is why this phenomenon occurs at the top of the mountains, for example, or in the droughts. Antarctica, where water is impossible.
  • Reverse sublimation . Reverse process: transformation of a solid directly to gaseous, that is, from steamed ice. We can witness it in very dry environments, such as the polar tundra itself, or on the mountain summit, where by increasing solar radiation, much of the ice is sublimated directly to gas, without going through a liquid stage .
  1. Hydrological cycle

The hydrological cycle or water cycle is the circuit of transformations that water experiences on our planet, going through its three states, gaining and losing temperature and moving around.

It is a complex circuit that involves the atmosphere, oceans, rivers and lakes, and ice deposits in the mountains or at the poles. Thanks to it, the planet's temperature remains stable, dry regions are hydrated and rainy ones are dried, maintaining a climatic balance that allows life throughout its different seasons.

Follow in: Water cycle

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