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Why is Water Essential for Life?

By Evangeline Bodhuri

All living things need water to survive, but what exactly makes water so important? To begin, water helps human bodies transport nutrients and oxygen. The intestines absorb the water and it, as body fluids, goes through the body to give cells nutrients and oxygen and to remove waste products. In addition, water is used to transport nutrients inside a cell, to and from different organelles.

Water is a compound made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Oxygen is more electronegative than hydrogen, which means oxygen wants to take more electrons than hydrogen. This causes the electrons to be near the oxygen molecule in the compound and this makes the water molecule to be charged negatively by the oxygen and positively at the hydrogen molecules. This is called polarity; water is a highly polar molecule and this allows it to do a number of things.

Because water molecules are polar, they are attracted to other polar molecules or to other water molecules. When water is attracted to other molecules, it is called adhesion. This is used in a number of essential processes, like bringing water from the ground through the roots of a plant and up to its leaves. The water needs to travel against gravity, so it adheres to the cell walls and travels up the xylem, the tube that carries water in plants. Water molecules are also attracted to each other because they are polar, and this helps them travel up the xylem as well because they can pull each other up.

Water is called the “universal solvent” because of this polarity. When it surrounds another polar molecule, it is able to break the bonds between the molecules apart, which is when it dissolves it. This is what allows water to transport nutrients and oxygen in the human body, as mentioned earlier.

Water also has a high specific heat, meaning more energy is required to heat water up. This means that water keeps different environments temperate, and it regulates the temperature so that it is suitable for a number of different creatures. The high specific heat also helps water to evaporate slower, giving hydration to many plants as well.

Finally, due to water’s polarity, it forms a special bond called hydrogen bonds. This is important when water freezes in lakes and other bodies of water during the winter when many organisms require water as their habitats. When water is in its frozen state, as ice, it is actually less dense than when it is in its liquid state, which is atypical. This means that the ice floats above the water, allowing aquatic organisms to reside in the water during the winter time and the ice provides a shield for them.

Overall, water has many different properties that allow organisms to survive and function. The properties of water make water an essential substance for every living thing on earth, which is why the earth contains a great amount of water and why the human body does as well.

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