Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The ways of water

In this lab, we spent time playing with different materials to get a better sense of biological properties of water.  There were many various different materials we could have used including: salt, clay, metal, and sponge. Our job was to find out how these materials could create differences within the water. Again it helps to show the tangible effects of water even if it’s not visible. We then put the products into the water and saw how it affected the water. We then gave time to observe and record our results.

In this lab it connected to our water lectures because we talked about the different elements of water. We played with clay, salt, sand and sponges. Through these materials we saw covalent cohesion and adhesion bonds, which we learned in our lecture. We got to see how the bonds work after hearing about it in our lecture. With the clay we got to see cohesion and adhesion because the water stuck to itself, but it also stuck to the clay. It also changed the color of the water.

When we added the water to the pile of salt, the water immediately became murkier because as time went by, the salt began to dissolve as a result of the hydrogen bonds forming between the polar salt and water molecule which, tearing the salt particles apart. You could see it creating a bubble around and on top of the water due to surface tension. Although the pile was small the instant we poured water on it you could see the mass flow of the water through the salt.

This type of learning gave us a hands on approach and an opportunity to explain scientific things in regular human terms. It also gave us the chance to connect the scientific terms we learned during lecture and apply them to what we were looking at and discovering.
We chose the power of play. This connects perfectly with today’s experiment because we were allowed to choose which object or objects we wanted to manipulate the water with and we also got to choose what way we saw was best to manipulate it. There was a lot of freedom and room for play and experimentation. It allowed for learning outside the boundaries of what a professor might anticipate with an experiment with less freedom.

An exploration of water

In this water exercise, each of the members at our table used different materials to manipulate with water. For example, some of us chose to work with salt. When you added the water to the beaker, it mixed with the salt creating an opaque appearance. However, when you let the mixture sit for a few seconds the salt travels to the bottom. Once the salt is at the bottom, you can see it is starting to disintegrate and become thinner. Before you add water, the salt particles were thick and solid and after the water was added, the salt becomes thin and flaky, almost dissolving completely.  It is important to mention what happens to the surface tension of water when salt is applied.  Some of the tension was temporarily broken when the salt was poured in, but it was quickly re-established.  This is evidence of hydrogen bonds being relatively weak, temporary, and easily broken.

The salt divides up into positively and negatively charged ions that exist independently from the solution. The salt and water creates a solvent solution, the water being the solvent and the salt being the solute. Moreover, as more time goes by, the water at the top of the beaker starts to become clearer.

After finishing this lab, we were able to understand how different things can mix with water and become something else. The fact that we needed to make the solutions ourselves allowed us to see step by step how water changes the texture and properties of things that we put in it. This lab helped us see the different properties of water that we discussed in lab. We all experienced different outcomes with the water during this lab. Collectively we realized the different characteristics of water and how we can easily recreate nature in a controlled environment.

This lab helped us understand the lectures on water, in this lab we were able to see the different properties of water and how water reacts to certain substances in real life instead of just reading about these concepts in a text book. Going back to our subject on patterns, we are able to define the natural process of water in molding and adapting itself the different environmental conditions. By combining the clay and salt into the beakers we were able to observe the different techniques which water can adapt itself to the different materials added.

Separation and Connection: The Continuance of Water and Hydrogen Bonds

Questioning whether or not evolution has a final product relates to the connection between hydrogen and oxygen bonding to create water molecules. As Professor Hammer discussed in lecture, the special properties of hydrogen are due to the fact that hydrogen exists between water molecules. The water molecules are connected, but only temporarily. Water molecules are easily broken, and therefore directly relates to the question posed in the previous lab in week one. In evolution there is never a final product, similarly, water molecules go through a constant cycle of change when they come together and separate. There are both constraints and innovations in the exploration of water that could be examined and re-examined.

What we found was overall pretty interesting. In the cup with salt and water, we saw that the salt had the tendency to sink down to the bottom, regardless of its initial mixing. The water separated from the salt without mixing. However, we saw the adhesive properties of water at work when looking at the cup with the sand. The sand mixed with the water and formed a mud like substance, something you would find in a tide pool or right after the tide has gone out at the beach. The third cup, mixing clay and water, produced results that combined the first two results. Similar to the sand, part of the clay became adhesive with the water. On the other hand, there was a big block of clay still in the cup not becoming adhesive like the salt was. Our group concluded that over time, the salt and the clay would  probably dissolve into the water. In our exploration of water, our findings helped us to understand the constraints and innovations in water and the constant reoccurrence of bonds. Experimenting with different substances (i.e. salt, sand, and clay) the properties and characteristics were exposed.

The natural science of water

We realized we knew how a lot of the objects we had reacted to water, so we decided to figure out unique ways to observe the water by combining a lot of the objects. For example we made a clay pot where we added water and salt to it. We didn’t exactly know what was going to happen with all three objects, but we only predicted that the salt would dissolve in the water. Yet, we were surprised to find out that a lot of the sand attached to the clay pot on the bottom.

So, initially we molded a wall out of clay and we put the wall in the tray; put water on the wall; saw how it adapted to wall; then more water mixed with sand and shake the tray. Straying sand particles flowed with water; a lot of it clumped

In another experiment we molded a wall out of clay.  Once the water was poured near the clay wall we realized the clay acted as a barrier to the water. When sand was added to the water, we shook the tray to see if mass low applied in this situation. Some straying sand particles followed the water in mass flow, while other sand particles clumped together. Cohesion and adhesion apply here; cohesion with the sand particles sticking together and adhesion with the straying particles in water mass flow
            Our various experiments demonstrated the properties of adhesion, cohesion, and mass flow. When we soaked the sponge up with water the water molecules adhered to the sponge’s surface, and soaked through the whole sponge. But inside the sponge the water is demonstrating cohesion because the molecules are sticking together. Another mini experiment we conducted was making a clay pot, and pouring salt inside. Then we poured water on top, and saw the water in the pot got cloudier as the water was dissolving the salt. Water breaks down salt because the salt has positive ions, and hydrogen has negative ions. Slowly the hydrogen molecules break apart the salt ions, but to have the salt completely dissolve the salt would need to sit in the pot of water for more time. Lastly, we saw mass flow when we poured water on top of a pile of sand because the water moved as one to disperse the sand throughout the plastic tub.

This experiment showed us how water is more powerful than we assumed because even in small doses the water was able to dissolve salt, and adhere to a sponge. Characteristics of water seem invisible when we do not take time to stop and notice, but when we take a closer look we see water’s strengths.

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.

Engaging with water

In this water exercise, we focused on the manipulation of water and how the properties of water changed as we worked with it. We used resources like clay, salt, sand and various sponges to see how the properties of water varied as we changed our scenarios. Some properties like cohesion, adhesion, and solvent properties emerged in our observations. In our past lectures, we discussed the properties of water including surface tension, Turgor pressure, cohesion and adhesion. Similarly, we also observed scenarios of water in nature and found that some of the properties seen in nature were also seen in our own experimentation.

The water molecules stick to all of the materials in little droplets. The molecules stick to all objects except for the sponge which absorbs the water. Using something different this time, the metal ring, we observed surface tension again as the molecules stuck together.  When using the dish washing sponge we saw that cohesion was present. When water hit the sponge, cohesion began and with time, surface tension broke and water flowed through the object, no longer one unified mass. Once the water drained through the pad of the blue sponge, surface tension and cohesion were present in the green tub of water. The rope seemed to only absorb the water when left in the water for a long time. The texture changed from coarse to slightly soft with the addition of water to the rope. Similarly, the texture of the orange sponge changed as well; as it expanded in size it became plush in texture with the addition of water. With clay, water adheres to the material but cohesion is not present as the water molecules do not become one unified whole on the clay material. We have concluded that the water does not change the composition of the material, rather it changes the texture and how the material sometimes feels. The water doesn’t change other than the new presence of cohesion, adhesion, absorption or surface tension. The materials change in texture and sometimes in size rather, as the water acts as one unified cohesive unit with the addition of materials, unless separated by the absorption of molecules.

To manipulate the flow of water, we held a dishwashing pad over a green tub, and poured water through the pad. The first thing we noticed was the change in the flow of water: instead of flowing as one stream, the water conformed to the shape of the pad, some of the water flowed off of the side of the pad, and began to flow through the tiny holes in the pad. However, the material didn’t absorb the water, it just changed the way the water flowed together, while maintaining the same texture, only becoming wet. The most evident properties of water in this experiment were adhesion and cohesion. For instance, after the water flowed through the pad, one still saw remnants of water, through the few water droplets left on the pad, this is due to adhesion. However, the reason that the water formed droplets instead of laying flat is due to Turgor pressure, where water molecules push so strongly against each other, that they are able to maintain a rounded structure. Once the flow of water hit the green tub, you are able to see cohesive properties. Instead of flowing all over the tub, the water stuck together, creating mass flow (the phenomenon of water flowing together as a single mass) and a puddle with surface tension. To test this cohesion, we placed the pad in the puddle. While this did disrupt some of the cohesion, for the most part, the pad was unable to fully disrupt the surface tension, and upon removal of the pad, the water remained in the exact same puddle. This shows that the cohesive properties of the water may be stronger than the adhesive properties, in regards to the dishwashing pad.

This lab helped make something ‘invisible’ into something visible through the obvious presence of adhesion and cohesion. Adhesion allows us to see water molecules stick to other things, for example, a dishwashing pad. The water molecules separated when we poured the water onto the dishwashing pad as they flowed through the pad. Some droplets stuck to the pad as the rest flowed through. They then flowed onto the green pan where they gathered in a ‘puddle’ and formed as surface tension. The presence of surface tension is a visible example of the invisible hydrogen bonds coming together through cohesion. Through close observation of this behavior, and learning in lecture the cause of this behavior and how it subsequently presence itself, we were able to make minute concepts seem more present.

This lab made the properties of water that contribute to its motion and behavior much more visible. When we pour water into a glass, we don’t think about what’s happening to the actual water beyond “It is going into a glass and when it is done, I will drink it.” When we take time to specifically observe the activity, it suddenly becomes “the water is cohering to itself, adhering to the sides of the glass, and exhibiting mass flow. The necessity of observation takes an ordinary experience and turn it into a demonstration of scientific concept and exploration.

Additionally, this lab provided the visual and tactile, sensory engagement necessary to make large concepts more real. While surface tension is simple enough to explain in lecture, it’s much more beneficial to see it in action. When one sees a water droplet clinging to itself and its surface, the properties of cohesion, adhesion and surface tension suddenly become much more real.

Visibility depends on size because the scale of a process because if something is too big or too microscopic, it can be more difficult to understand. We don’t know exactly what single water molecules flowing up a xylem tube looks like, and sometimes it’s difficult to imagine exactly how water flows in mass quantities if you haven’t spent a lot of time near large bodies of water. Today, we were able to create our own scenarios of how water should move, and it was easier to see and understand because it was in a relatively normal scale. We were able to see mass flow in a controlled environment, which made it easier to visualize on the other ends of the scale spectrum.

Playing with water

When we mixed the water and salt together, we noticed adhesion. The salt clumped to the water  and preferred the water to a dry surface such as skin. It was evident that hydrogen bonds are stronger together when we tested the different ratios of salt to water. We started out testing a ratio of more salt than water and realized that the salt did not dissolve as easily. However, with more water the salt grains dissolved quicker. The salt grains became smaller which shows how water is an effective solvent. With the rope, we noticed that the water was strong enough to break the rope’s material. It separated the fibers of the rope. The fibers reminded us about the root hairs that we learned about in lecture. The rope has to overcome the surface tension in order to absorb the water. Through mass flow, the water molecules worked collectively, it was able to move through the rope. The last material we used was clay. From lecture, we learned that liquid water is more dense than solid water. We submerged a piece of clay in water and noted that the material began to break down. When we poured water over a larger piece of clay, we noticed that the water just rolled off, the clay didn't absorb the water much. The clay also changed its form. The clay became softer and more flexible. 

In this water exercise, our group divvied up the materials to experiment on. Half of us tested the effects of water on a sponge, dishwashing pad, and sand. The water absorbed fairly quickly by the sponge. This displayed an excellent example of adhesion. Water didn't change the properties of the sponge, but it definitely dampened it. If one were the squeeze the sponge, all of the absorbed water would spill out. When water was added to the dishwashing pad, there was good adhesion and cohesion that was displayed. The water stuck to the pad as well as to itself. We could see some surface tension through the pores as well. When we poured water onto the pad, a lot of the water "fell off", showing some mass flow. Finally, the sand also displayed cohesion and adhesion by the water. To the touch, the sand went from a grainy solid to a mushy liquid, despite the properties of the sand not being changed. That is the beauty of water!

Once again we noticed the power of play.We manipulate and played around with the different materials given to us. We were able to see just how strong water is and the different things it is able to do. It goes beyond just playing around with material but connects to science because we were looking for something specific. We were observing the way water worked and jotting down what we thought. For those experiment is was definitely better to work with a partner rather than alone. A partner is capable of seeing something that you may have missed. Working together, we were able to take our notes from lecture, apply them to the lab today, and deepen our knowledge of water and its properties. 

Observing the behavior of water

In this water experiment we observed mass flow through experimentation with a sponge and dishwasher pad. We filled a beaker with water, and poured it over both objects; witnessing the effects these different materials have on the flow of water. The sponge absorbed the majority of water that was poured on it, but eventually became over-saturated. Whereas, when pouring water through the dishwasher pad, the water dispersed and created a puddle underneath.
During our lecture this week we discussed the characteristics of water, and during this lab we got to observe them in action. Water coming from the faucet or out of the beaker demonstrates mass flow. Depending on what material was used, water would demonstrate adhesion to different surfaces. Surface tension explains why it would bead up on top of the different materials. Two lectures ago we discussed the different states of water. In lab today we experimented with water in its liquid state. How water was broken up after passing through different material showed its variable size and arrangement in the liquid state.
The abstract forms signals from nature can say a lot. There are endless properties of science simply by looking at nature, and the abstract forms contribute heavily to a scientific narrative. For example, when we are cooking or cleaning using water, we can use the principles of water that we have learned to understand the behind-the-scenes, scientific narratives that are at work. Furthermore, the abstract signs we can observe may lead us to raise further questions, and then the questions we raise can be answered using the emic approach learned in class.
This lab took what we learned in lecture and applied it to a hands on experience. Through this application we are actually able to see the different properties of water instead of just being lectured about it. The different activities--decision making, note taking, visualizing--involved in the experiment activates different parts of the brain. Hence, one is able to retain more information.
In terms of making the “invisible” visible, the sponges provided for this lab are a great help. By dipping a sponge in a pool of water allows us to observe the otherwise invisible mass flow. As we watched the water be absorbed by the sponge, we could apply the new knowledge we have attained about mass flow to imagine the molecules, in a state of cohesion, “climbing” against gravity and then re-forming the hydrogen bonds once within the sponge itself.
The experiments that we did today have certain constraints due to materials and environments. First the choices of materials are limited. The materials that are available for our experiments are far less than those in nature. Also we cannot create real conditions such as tide, river or waterfall. Therefore, our experiments have constraints.

Our subtopic from last week is "constraints and innovations". Although water has no life, we can consider it as a form of evolution. When we pour water on dishwashing pad, sponge, and beaker; we observe that water will change its physical shape to flow through the space as a whole group (It's still in liquid form and water molecule itself doesn't change).