September 05, 2009

From Charles Douglas Wehner:

Re: “Dance restaurant” theory of water takes shape (Aug. 14): The biggest mystery about water is why it is not a GAS.

We can take hydrogen chloride - the active ingredient in hydrochloric acid. Chlorine has an anatomic weight of 35. 4527. Hydrogen has an atomic weight of 1. 00794. Add them together for HCl, and we have 36. 4606. It is a gas.

Now we take oxygen (atomic weight 15. 9994) Add the weight of hydrogen twice. One gets 18. 0152. It is less than half the weight of hydrochloric acid vapour - yet it is a liquid.

By comparison, the vapour density of air is 14. 4. So water should be a gas that is only slightly heavier.

The story I was given when I was studying is that it is the “hydrogen bond” (mentioned in the article) that binds several molecules together to raise its vapour density, and stop it being so volatile.

However, the argument is not entirely convincing.

One could say there is a great amount to be discovered in this field. It is an exciting, and if properly managed, potentiallly profitable field for research.


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