Science Starting to Understand Water's Little Understood Properties

Water is not H2O it now appears, but H-1.5-0.

Published: 21-Aug-2003

N class=body-content>(KRT) - Of all the things you learned in high school chemistry, H20 should have been the simplest. Two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, bonded together into pure, drinkable water. But H20 is an H-2-no. Water is really H-1.5-O - at least momentarily, scientists have found.

For something that makes up nearly two-thirds of the human body and three-quarters of the planet's surface, water is pretty poorly understood. But a rush of new discoveries is giving scientists something to drink down.

One new pair of studies reveals that, inside microscopic tubes, water flows virtually without friction and in a bizarre transitory state between liquid and vapor. Another set of studies shows how water dissolves a salt and neutralizes an acid - two essential tasks.

It's pretty basic stuff for such a popular fluid.

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