What property makes water unusual?

1 Answer
Jan 10, 2017

Water has several unusual properties. 1. it expands when cooled to a solid. 2. it has an unusually large liquid range. 3. It can dissolve both ionic and covalent molecules.


  1. Water is unique in that when it turns into a solid from a liquid it expands. Almost all compounds expand when turning from a solid to a liquid.

This property is essential to life in that water then freezes from the top to the bottom. The ice is less than dense than the liquid water and floats on top making life possible under the surface of the ice.

If ice was more dense than liquid water the ice would sink to the bottom. The lake or ocean would fill up with ice and the organisms in the liquid water would freeze solid and die.

  1. The liquid range of water is 100 degrees C or K. This is an extremely large liquid range. This allows water to remain liquid at both cold temperatures and hot temperatures.

With a smaller liquid range, life would not be possible or would have to rely on a different solvent.

  1. Water is unusual in the range of solutes that water in the liquid state is able to dissolve. Water is able to dissolve covalent molecules like sugar and alcohol, as well as ionic molecules like sodium chloride Living things need both salts and covalent molecules to maintain life.