Water is one of our most basic needs, and a substance we encounter every day. But many of us still have questions about this common liquid. For example, if you’ve ever relaxed too long in a bath, you may wonder why your fingers prune up.
Wonder no longer. Today, our experts are putting the “science” into The Science of Water by finally answering seven of your top water FAQs.
1. Why does water expand when it freezes?
Most liquids actually shrink when they freeze, taking up less space in their frozen state. However, water is an exception. Thanks to the unusual shape of water molecules, water instead expands as it solidifies into ice, growing larger by 9-10%.
You’ve probably heard water referred to as H2O. That’s because a water molecule is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. When more than one molecule gets together, they tend to link together in a loose, erratic configuration.
But when water freezes, these molecules like to form into more stable configurations that conserve energy. This more stable structure presents as a hole-studded configuration a little bit like a crocheted blanket. The holes take up extra space, causing the molecules to spread out and expand as they freeze.
2. Why does water taste sweet?
If you’re experiencing a sweet taste from your water supply, that’s a sure sign of minerals in your drinking water.
Tap water naturally contains a variety of minerals like calcium and iron, which can produce a sweet taste in large quantities or for those with an extra-sensitive palate. This sweet taste isn’t always a pleasant surprise, though, when you’re expecting the crisp, unadulterated refreshment of pure water.
If your tap water has a noticeable flavor, consider installing a water filtration system to remove excess minerals. Plus, a water filtration system will also help protect your family from dangerous contaminants that may sneak into your drinking water without a noticeable taste. To learn more about water filtration solutions, just reach out to our pros at The Science of Water for expert advice.
3. Why does water look blue?
When you’re drinking water from a glass, it hopefully looks clear and fresh. But when we think of the vast expanses of the ocean, the water is usually some shade of blue.
This is actually due to the way water interacts with light. Water molecules vibrate at a frequency that absorbs certain wavelengths of light — specifically, those towards the red end of the spectrum. To oversimplify, as water absorbs red light, only bluer shades are left visible to the human eye. The deeper the water, the more visible this effect becomes.
4. Why does water boil quicker at higher altitudes?
If you’ve ever been mountain climbing (or live in Denver) you may have noticed that water boils faster at high elevations. But this has nothing to do with the height itself — instead, it’s all about air pressure.
At high altitudes, there is less air pressing down in the atmosphere, and thus, less air pressure. Boiling water at sea level requires heating it to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, but water’s boiling point falls by 1.8 degrees with each altitude increase of 1,000 feet. So the higher you get, the less heat is required, and the faster water will start to boil.
However, there’s a catch. Because your boiling water is actually less hot than the standard, it will require more boiling time to cook foods like pasta or boiled eggs.
5. Why does bottled water expire?
Technically, there are no laws in the US that currently require bottled water companies to print expiration dates on their products, but many brands still keep up the practice. This is good news because bottled water does have an ideal shelf life.
Though the water itself doesn’t go bad, plastic water bottles can leach chemical contaminants if stored for too long. This includes dangerous compounds such as antimony and BPA. If ingested, these plastic compounds can accumulate in your body and cause harm to your immune system, gut health, and respiratory system.
Yet one more reason to ditch bottled water for an option that is safer, more eco-friendly, and more cost-effective in the long run — such as a whole home water filtration system that can guarantee clean, fresh water for drinking, bathing, and more.
6. Why does water stop hiccups?
Hiccups are typically caused by irritation to your diaphragm, usually due to conditions in your stomach. For example, your diaphragm may be irritated by high acidity, gas, or a sudden change in your stomach’s temperature. This causes your diaphragm to contract, triggering hiccups.
For years, drinking a glass of water has been recommended as a potential hiccup cure. The thinking behind this is that cold water soothes irritation and, in essence, “distracts” your body with a different sensation, breaking the cycle of hiccups. This allows your diaphragm to calm down and resume its normal rhythms.
7. Why does water wrinkle your fingers?
Your skin is made up of multiple layers which interact with hydration differently. When you spend too long in a pool or bath, water moves through your skin layers in a process called osmosis. Hydration from lower layers of skin moves up into the surface layers, simultaneously causing both shrinking and expansion in the cells — which produces the appearance of wrinkles. Often, you’ll see this effect most clearly on thick areas of skin, which is why wrinkles appear first on the pads of your fingers and toes.
The Science of Water
Here at The Science of Water, we consider ourselves water experts. So whether you’re curious about the ins and outs of this vital resource or looking for ways to improve the water quality in your home, we’ve got the answers and solutions you need.
For clean, filtered water you can trust, our Puronics whole home water filtration systems can’t be beaten. Just contact our team for a free water test, and get a professional recommendation that suits the needs of both your home and budget.
Marketing by Joseph Studios