Universal Solvent

Water has a great solvent power. This is due to the polarity and exceptional H- bonding ability. It can dissolve ionic compounds through ion-dipole forces that separate the ions from the solid and keep them in solution. Water is a non-ionic, polar molecule that can dissolve most compounds that are non-ionic and polar, like itself and most ionic compounds as well.

Non-ionic refers to the compound with no charge while polar means that there is a charge difference within the molecule. The oxygen in water is negatively charged while the two hydrogen atoms are positively charged. Both charges are very weak and this gives the molecule an overall neutral charge. Normally acid or base solutions can dissolve other solutions or compounds of a like pH, but water, being neutral, is attracted to, and therefore dissolves solutions or compounds of any pH. Thus, water can dissolve more substances than any other liquid.

As water can dissolve many substances, water is the environmental and biological solvent that forms complex solutions known as lakes, oceans, rivers and cellular fluids. Aquatic animals and plants would not be able to survive without dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide. Daily human activity such as eating, drinking, inhaling or opening doors allow toxins to be absorbed by the body. The kidney plays a role in filtering the poisons back out. Water plays an important part in this process. Water, a great solvent, washes through the kidney and removes the toxins that were collected from the tissues. Without a solvent, the kidney would not be able to extract the toxins collected and cause harm to itself. Hence, water is called the “universal solvent” because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid. This means that wherever water goes, either through the ground or through our bodies, it takes along valuable chemicals, minerals and nutrients.

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