Reasons why Water at Room Temperature is a Liquid


Water is a unique substance that is essential for life on Earth. One of the most intriguing properties of water is that it is a liquid at room temperature. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and delve into the science behind why water behaves the way it does.

The Structure of Water Molecules

Water is composed of two hydrogen atoms bonded to one oxygen atom, forming a molecule with the chemical formula H2O. The shape of a water molecule is V-shaped, with the oxygen atom at the center and the hydrogen atoms at the ends of the “V.” This molecular structure has significant implications for the properties of water.

Hydrogen Bonding

One of the key reasons water is a liquid at room temperature is hydrogen bonding. Hydrogen bonds are weak chemical bonds that form between the positively charged hydrogen atoms of one water molecule and the negatively charged oxygen atom of another water molecule. These hydrogen bonds give water its unique properties, including high surface tension, adhesion, and cohesion.

Polarity of Water Molecules

Another crucial factor that contributes to water being a liquid at room temperature is the polarity of water molecules. Due to the unequal sharing of electrons between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms, water molecules are polar, with the oxygen atom being slightly negatively charged and the hydrogen atoms being slightly positively charged. This polarity allows water molecules to attract and interact with each other, leading to the formation of hydrogen bonds.

Specific Heat Capacity

Water has a high specific heat capacity, which means it can absorb a significant amount of heat energy before its temperature rises. This property is essential for regulating temperature on Earth and is also why water remains a liquid at room temperature. The hydrogen bonds between water molecules require a considerable amount of energy to break, which helps to keep water in its liquid state.

Density Anomaly

Unlike most substances, which become denser as they solidify, water exhibits an anomalous behavior wherein it becomes less dense as it freezes. This is due to the formation of a crystalline structure in ice, which spaces out the water molecules, making ice less dense than liquid water. This unique property of water has important implications for aquatic life, as ice floats on water, insulating the liquid below and allowing life to survive even in extreme cold.

Cohesion and Adhesion

The cohesive and adhesive properties of water also play a role in keeping it in a liquid state at room temperature. Cohesion refers to the attraction between water molecules, which allows water to form droplets and maintain a continuous flow. Adhesion, on the other hand, is the attraction between water molecules and other substances, which allows water to climb up narrow tubes against gravity, a phenomenon known as capillary action.

Thermal Conductivity

Water has relatively high thermal conductivity, meaning it can transfer heat energy efficiently. This property allows water to distribute heat evenly, preventing rapid temperature changes that could cause it to freeze or boil at room temperature.


In conclusion, water is a liquid at room temperature due to a combination of factors, including hydrogen bonding, polarity, specific heat capacity, density anomaly, cohesion, adhesion, and thermal conductivity. These unique properties of water make it an essential substance for life on Earth and contribute to its role as a universal solvent, a medium for chemical reactions, and a regulator of temperature.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why is water considered a polar molecule?

Water is considered a polar molecule because of the unequal sharing of electrons between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms, resulting in a slightly negative charge on the oxygen atom and a slightly positive charge on the hydrogen atoms.

2. How do hydrogen bonds form in water?

Hydrogen bonds in water form between the hydrogen atoms of one water molecule and the oxygen atom of another water molecule due to the differences in electronegativity between these atoms.

3. What is the significance of water’s high specific heat capacity?

Water’s high specific heat capacity allows it to absorb and release large amounts of heat energy without experiencing significant temperature changes, making it an excellent regulator of temperature in both living organisms and the environment.

4. How does the density anomaly of water affect aquatic life?

The density anomaly of water, where ice is less dense than liquid water, allows ice to float on top of water bodies, insulating the liquid below and providing a habitat for aquatic life to survive in cold conditions.

5. Why does water exhibit cohesive and adhesive properties?

Water exhibits cohesive properties due to the hydrogen bonds between water molecules, which create surface tension and allow water droplets to form. Adhesive properties arise from the attraction between water molecules and other substances, enabling phenomena like capillary action.

6. How does water’s thermal conductivity contribute to its properties?

Water’s high thermal conductivity allows it to distribute heat energy efficiently, preventing rapid temperature changes and helping to maintain its liquid state at room temperature.

7. What role does water play as a universal solvent?

Water is known as a universal solvent because of its ability to dissolve a wide range of substances, making it essential for processes like hydration, digestion, and chemical reactions in living organisms.

8. How does the structure of water molecules contribute to its properties?

The V-shaped structure of water molecules allows for the formation of hydrogen bonds, which in turn give water its unique properties such as high surface tension, adhesion, cohesion, and specific heat capacity.

9. Can water exist in other states apart from liquid, solid, and gas?

Water can exist in other states such as plasma (ionized gas) under extreme conditions of temperature and pressure, but its most common states on Earth are liquid, solid (ice), and gas (water vapor).

10. What are some everyday applications of water’s unique properties?

Water’s unique properties find applications in various everyday scenarios, such as temperature regulation in living organisms, capillary action in plants, surface tension in insects walking on water, and the moderation of climate by large water bodies.


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