Liquid Water at Room Temperature
Name: Aaron L.
Why is water a liquid at room temperature? At first this
question seemed easy enough, but research on the Internet has not
provided me any help. Can you help?
Your question is a special case of a more general one: "Why does substance
X melt at its melting point?" The answer, which is not much help, is no one
knows. An "answer", which really begs the question is that a substance
melts when the thermal energy is sufficient to cause molecules to move from
their location in the crystal lattice. However, predicting what that
temperature is, is not solved.
The hydrogen bonds in water are chemical bonds that form between molecules
containing a hydrogen atom bonded to a strongly electronegative atom. In
this case, this strongly electronegative atom is oxygen. It is this
hydrogen bonding that makes water from a liquid at room temperature. I
hope that this helps.
Click here to return to the Chemistry Archives
Update: June 2012