Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The power and beauty of water

Irrefutably, water is adaptable and subject to change. Today’s experiment demonstrated that depending on the object water comes into contact with, the characteristic of water will vary. We explored the effects water has on various materials. Our materials included a purple sponge, clay, sand, a slinky, and string. For instance, when we combined the sponge and water, the sponge became heavy, wet, soft and even changed color. The sponge and the water is a perfect example of cohesion: when water molecules stick to one another. When filling up a bin with water, and placing a sponge on the water’s surface, the surface tension--caused by the cohesion between the water molecules--holds up the sponge until enough water flows into it. At this point, due to water's properties of adhesion, the water works its way through the sponge until all the porous spots of the material are filled. While adhesion is at play here, the idea that the water is filling the sponge also represents water’s characteristic of mass flow.  As water is poured into the sponge, more and more water molecules stick to each other inside of the sponge--causing the sponge to increase in size.


On the other hand, when we introduced the water into clay, its change in shape was very interesting. The clay became a darker color, and it was easier to change the shape of the clay itself using the fingers. While playing with the clay, we inquired if such change in shape happens in all types of clay. Subsequently, when we played with water and a slinky, water demonstrated its ability to change shape and adapt. Water began to circle and break around the slinky, showing that hydrogen bonds are temporary and easily broken. Water does not follow a straight path when it came in contact with the slinky. Lastly, the characteristic of adhesion in hydrogen bonds was demonstrated with the sand and water. “Water is the most effective biological solvent.” We tested this statement when we saw that the sand completely dissolved in water, causing some sort of change in physical state from liquid to gas water. However, water and sand also demonstrate adhesion--the idea that water molecules stick to other things (the bottom of the flask).


We concluded that water indeed chiefly influences the environment depending on the objects it comes into contact with. Second, water does in fact have weak hydrogen bonds. When water comes into contact with a hard surface, the water molecules tend to break apart and scatter across the room. However, it is the very same hydrogen bonds that keeps water together when it flows down a piece of slinky for instance.

This lab is very hands on. It requires students to get their hands wet and occasionally dirty.
However, the lab demonstrates how water molecules enjoy being together which cause them to flow as one unit. However, this unit can easily be broken when it is subjected to a hard surface causing the hydrogen bonds to break apart and scatter in different direction. But, most importantly the lab showed us that water can be exposed to high pressures that may cut or dissolve through certain matter like clay. Under intense pressure the water began to form an indentation within the block of clay.

Likewise, this lab helps make mass flow and the surface tension of the water visible. We observed this by the sponge experiment, with the sponge showing the how much weight the surface of the water can hold before it breaks. Mass flow is visible here because the dry sponge filled with water after being placed on top of the water.

In terms of patterns, this experiment exhibited a pretty interesting one as the water didn’t act in a “normal pattern”, but rather acted according to the characteristics of mass flow and cohesion to other water molecules. In other words, the water moved in as a single connect unit and filled the sponge’s empty pores when we placed the sponge in the water. Patterns interact in the sense that they move as one and the same characteristics are exhibited at all points of the water. Therefore, the water will be cohesively bonded to itself throughout the entirety of its body and it will act as a surrounding and or dominating soluble.  

Abstract signals on their own don’t mean anything. It’s interpreting those signals together that it becomes an understandable system. In a scientific narrative, a strong example is water, which gains its properties by its connection of water molecules.  It takes more than one water molecule to achieve the beauty and power of a waterfall. Similar to how a cell becomes a living entity from millions of molecules, water is only considered water to us once it’s been “built.” Once the invisible water molecules become a visible to the naked eye, a mass composed of millions of hydrogen bonds.

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