Water is different from all liquids we know - and now we know why

Water is fundamentally different from all other liquids known to mankind, primarily because of its physical properties. It is an ideal solvent, has a monstrously strong surface tension, does not shrink, and when cooled and transformed into a solid form, it does not become denser and heavier, but, on the contrary, decreases its density. Scientists at the University of Bristol and the University of Tokyo believe that the reasons for this unusual behavior lie in the molecular structure of the water.

At room temperature and in the form of ice, water molecules combine into tetrahedrons - roughly like pyramids of four molecules each. These tetrahedra tend to merge into one structure with a common central molecule, while otherwise they do not intersect with each other. It is not easy to destroy such an architecture, which explains the ability of water to withstand various influences.

The researchers simulated a situation on a supercomputer when a tetrahedron from water molecules turned into other shapes. Any change leads to "degradation" - such water immediately loses most of its key properties. And it becomes much closer to other liquids, which allows us to conclude: it is the molecular structure in the form of united tetrahedra that is the main distinguishing feature of water.

These properties of water have made our world, planet Earth, as we know it. Molecules do not approach each other, retain their structure, and therefore light ice drifts on the surface of liquid water. And reservoirs freeze from top to bottom, rarely freezing to the very bottom, which allows them to survive. Water easily flows into cracks in rocks, where it expands after freezing and splits them - this is how huge layers of rock turn into small stones and form different types of relief.