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Name: Veronica
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: NY
Country: N/A
Date: April 2006

How does water behaves in 0 gravity?


Good question! Since water is normally affected by gravity, it will find the lowest point in any container that it can. This can be a bottle, or if that bottle has a hole in it, then the floor. Under zero-gravity, however, there is no gravity to hold the water in bottom of the container. Therefore it will float around like spacemen do in the movies. The water will still be cohesive with itself, for the most part, meaning that you won't ever get a fine mist of water without a lot of work. The water bonds to itself and if one droplet runs into another, there is a good chance that they will combine and move together. (There are a lot of situations that will determine whether the droplets will actual combine or not, but let's just assume they are moving slow enough and in approximately the same direction.) Other than this, it will float around until it interacts with something else. Remember that water is still a liquid, in zero-gravity or not, so when it runs into solids, it will try to take the form of the solid (like with a bottle).

Matt Voss

From the few videos I've seen of astronauts playing with water in space, it tends to form into large, floating drops. The reason it doesn't just spread out all over the place is surface tension. If you've ever overfilled a glass just slightly, you may have noted the water forms a slight dome, instead of just running over the side like you'd expect. This surface layer of water has a small amount of tension to it, like a rubber balloon. Water drops readily form into larger drops, because a larger drop has more volume and can hold more water for it's surface area. Any slight force acting on the super large floating drops of water though, and they can be torn apart.

Ryan B.

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