Water and Its Properties | Free Essay Example

Water and Its Properties

Words: 840
Topic: Sciences
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Abstract

Water is the most abundant liquid on the planet that makes up more than 75% of the Earth. In addition, it is the major constituents in the bodies of many organisms. It is important for life because it is a solvent, temperature buffer, metabolite, and a living environment that serves several functions. It has several chemical, physical, and biological properties that make it an important component of life among different species on the planet. Examples of these properties include solvency, buffering capabilities, and chemical reactivity. These properties make it more important to living organisms than all other liquids. Some of its uses in organisms include digestion, transportation, elimination of waste materials, and metabolism.

Introduction

Water is the most abundant liquid on the universe comprising over 70% of earth’s composition (Khublaryan, 2009). It exists in three forms namely liquid, solid, and gaseous states. Water has several properties that make it the most important liquid with regard to supporting and maintaining biological life. It is referred to as a universal solvent because many substances can dissolve in it more than any other liquid. Its importance is indispensable in the lives of all organisms including humans, animals, and plants. In living organisms, water acts as a solvent, metabolite, temperature buffer, and provides a living environment for many organisms (Water and Living Organisms, 2016).

Three of its most important properties that make it essential in all life forms include solvency, buffering capabilities, and chemical reactivity. These properties make it an important liquid that benefits many species of living organisms on the planet.

Solvency

Water is a polar molecule that possesses both positive and negative charges that attract the positive and negative charges of other polar molecules (Water and Living Organisms, 2016). This property makes it a great solvent. Water is referred to as a universal solvent because it can dissolve a wide range of substances (McKinnon, 2010). This property is important in biological systems because it aids in processes such as absorption and elimination of unwanted substances (Khublaryan, 2009).

Urea is a substance that is unwanted by the human body that is toxic if allowed to accumulate in the body. However, it is eliminated through urine that is stored in the urinary bladder. Urine is a mixture of water and numerous substances that are harmful to the body. The body is able to eliminate unwanted substances such as urea (urine) and excess salts (sweat) because these substances can dissolve in water. Water is a solvent for chemical reactions and aids in the transportation of dissolved compounds in and out of cells (McKinnon, 2010).

Buffering properties

A buffer is a substance that aids in the moderation of pH owing to the presence of acidic and bases (Water and Living Organisms, 2016). Numerous processes that take place in living organisms are highly sensitive to PH for effective execution. For example, drastic changes in pH affect these processes and as a result, alter the proper functioning of organisms (Khublaryan, 2009). In that regard, water plays the role of a buffer in living organisms whenever there is sudden changes in pH that alter biological processes. Moreover, it acts as an acid-base buffer in the blood by reacting with carbon dioxide to form carbonic acid that lowers pH (McKinnon, 2010).

Water has a high specific heat capacity that aid in buffer temperature changes for efficient enzyme activity. Chemical reactions are critical for the survival of all living organisms and can only take place under environments with optimum temperature and pH. As mentioned earlier, water regulates temperature and pH and as a result, facilitates the activity of enzymes in chemical reactions (Water and Living Organisms, 2016).

Chemical reactivity

Water is an important component in many chemical reactions that take place in living organisms (Water and Living Organisms, 2016). In that regard, water is an important metabolite. Metabolism is a term used to refer to the chemical and physical reactions that place in living organisms (McKinnon, 2010).

The chemicals involved in those reactions are referred to as metabolites. Water is a metabolite in many chemical reactions that include digestion, photosynthesis, condensation, hydrolysis, and aerobic respiration (McKinnon, 2010). This explains why it is a component of important body fluids such as blood, sweat, and tears. In human beings, the process of metabolism takes place in the presence of water. Therefore, water facilitates the breakdown of food components into compounds that can be used readily by the body.

Conclusion

Water is the most important liquid that is utilized by living organisms for processes such as respiration, photosynthesis, digestion, transportation, and metabolism. These functions are possible because of its numerous physical, chemical, an biological properties. Three of its main properties that make it an important component in the lives of living organisms include solvency, buffering capabilities, and chemical reactivity. Its solvency is due to its polar nature that comprises both negative and positive ions. On the other hand, its buffering properties make it an effective acid-base as well as temperature buffer. Water is an important liquid that benefits many species on the planet.

References

Khublaryan, M. G. (2009). Types and Properties of Water. New York, NY: Encyclopedia of Life Support systems (EOLSS). Web.

McKinnon, H. R. (2010). The Properties of Water. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). Web.

Water and Living Organisms. (2016). Web.