Water and Solutions
26/08/2010 § 1 Comment
In class, today, we talked about the different characteristics that water molecules have. We learned a lot about what water is made out of, how they stick to surfaces, how they stay together and even more. During the class, we also learned little bits about ions started talking about acidic substances and a little bit about what happens to solutions and such.
We basically reviewed the textbook section that we were instructed to read, but it was helpful, of course, to be given a proper lesson about what we read. For me, today’s lesson only helped a little bit in the process of answering our very important essay question, (just to state it once again): How does complexity emerge from simplicity? Personally, today’s lesson about how water works and water’s abnormal properties simply provided as an example about how simplicity slowly becomes complexity.
Firstly, it’s easy to say that water is water because of the billions of molecules. (I learned that a glass of water has an average of a billion water molecules today, too). We were given a couple of examples as to how water was all just a very, very large collection of molecules that had joined hands and were moving all together.
But how did they move together and didn’t just break apart? This, I think, was the more complex part of the lesson; when learned about hydrogen bonds. To clarify, hydrogen bonds are the bonds that are made between different molecules to connect them. They are usually very weak bonds and can break many times. An example of this was water (as we saw today. Apparently, water molecules can be thought of as very ADHD little children, always bouncing and moving around), and the hydrogen bonds explained how water always moved around and didn’t stay together as one solid block (like anything solid, not liquid).
All in all, that’s how water works. Yes, there are little tweaks and additional twists that come with the properties of water, but in terms of our essay question and involving complexity and simplicity, I understand a little more about how little molecules become such large bodies of ocean. It makes more sense to me now how in the Pacific Ocean or in the Atlantic ocean, the water stays together because of the hydrogen bonds and there are bound to be a thousand groups of millions and billions of water molecules in just a small portion of the Pacific Ocean, if there are a billion molecules in a glass of water. Those numbers, I think, give us more of an idea how small simplicity really is.
Also: basic chemistry and biology that we learned today was not all that difficult to comprehend but in genuine honesty, it took some effort to get my mind wrapped up around the whole topic. Eventually though, I got to start understanding that molecules can be like people … in relationships. Within one water molecule, for example, there is one oxygen molecule and two hydrogen molecules. Each hydrogen molecule, as we’ve learned, yearns for just one more electron while one oxygen molecule needs two. If two hydrogen molecules can attach itself to an oxygen molecule, then all three molecules would be the ideal ones. I’m absolutely clear with that now.
Next, there’s the fact that those three molecules have bonded over covalent bonds but not just any covalent bonds but polar covalent bonds. I think we learn more about how simplicity borders on slightly complicated because we were enlightened about the topic of negative and positive molecules, which will then lead to multiple different bonds that might form in the process of attractions that are similar to magnetic attractions.
I’m still not perfectly clear with definitions on atoms, elements, and a few other vocabulary but that would be because we haven’t discussed the topics enough in class. We were told today that our essay question is a difficult one but with enough information from our textbook, biology students our level might just be able to begin understanding the answer to that question, whatever it may be.