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Water's Hydrogen Bond Strength

Water's Hydrogen Bond Strength,Martin Chaplin

Water's Hydrogen Bond Strength   (Citations: 1)
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Water is necessary both for the evolution of life and its continuance. It possesses particular properties that cannot be found in other materials and that are required for life-giving processes. These properties are brought about by the hydrogen bonded environment particularly evident in liquid water. Each liquid water molecule is involved in about four hydrogen bonds with strengths considerably less than covalent bonds but considerably greater than the natural thermal energy. These hydrogen bonds are roughly tetrahedrally arranged such that when strongly formed the local clustering expands, decreasing the density. Such low density structuring naturally occurs at low and supercooled temperatures and gives rise to many physical and chemical properties that evidence the particular uniqueness of liquid water. If aqueous hydrogen bonds were actually somewhat stronger then water would behave similar to a glass, whereas if they were weaker then water would be a gas and only exist as a liquid at sub-zero temperatures. The overall conclusion of this investigation is that water's hydrogen bond strength is poised centrally within a narrow window of its suitability for life.
Published in 2007.
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