STEMAcademiaAgriculture & FarmingHumanitiesSocial Sciences

5 Properties of Water

Updated on June 13, 2016

What are the Main Properties of Water?

This article will discuss the five main properties of water:

  1. Its attraction to polar molecules
  2. High-specific heat
  3. High heat of vaporization
  4. The lower density of ice
  5. High polarity

1. Water's Attraction to Other Polar Molecules


Cohesion, otherwise known as water's attraction to other water molecules, is one of the major properties of water. Water's polarity lends it to be attracted to other water molecules. The hydrogen bonds in water hold other water molecules together. Due to water's cohesiveness:

  • Liquid water has surface tension. This allows for insects, such as Water Striders, to walk on water.
  • Water is a liquid at moderate temperatures, and not a gas.


Water's attraction between molecules of a different substance is called adhesion. Water is adhesive to any molecule it can form hydrogen bonds with. Due to water's adhesiveness:

  • Capillary action occurs. For example, when you have a narrow tube in water, the water will rise up the tube because of water's adhesiveness to the glass "climbing" up the tube.

2. Water's High-Specific Heat

Water can moderate temperature because of the two properties: high-specific heat and the high heat of vaporization.

High-specific heat is the amount of energy that is absorbed or lost by one gram of a substance to change the temperature by 1 degree celsius. Water molecules form a lot of hydrogen bonds between one another. In turn, a lot of energy is needed to break down those bonds. Breaking the bonds allows individual water molecules to move freely about and have a higher temperature. In other words: if there are a lot of individual water molecules moving about, they’ll create more friction and more heat, which means a higher temperature.

The hydrogen bonds between water molecules absorb the heat when they break and release heat when they form, which minimizes temperature changes. Water helps maintain a moderate temperature of organisms and environments.

Water takes a long time to heat up, and holds its temperature longer when heat is not applied.

3. Water's High Heat of Evaporation

Water's high heat of vaporization is the other property responsible for its ability to moderate temperature.

Water's high heat of evaporation is basically the amount of heat energy needed to change a gram of liquid into gas. Water also needs a lot of energy in order to break down the hydrogen bonds. The evaporation of water off a surface causes a cooling effect. Much like among humans—when we get hot, or energy inside our body is breaking chemical bonds, we sweat as a cooling effect. In this case, the same process occurs: as the water evaporates off the the surface of the skin, it cools down the surface.

4. The Lower Density of Ice

At cooler temperatures, the hydrogen bonds of water molecules form ice crystals. The hydrogen bonds are more stable and will maintain its crystal-like shape. Ice—the solid form of water—is less dense than water because of the hydrogen bonds being spaced out and being relatively apart. The low density is what allows icebergs to float and are the reason that only the top part of lakes are frozen.

5. Water's High Polarity

Water is a polar molecule that has a high level of polarity and attraction to ions and other polar molecules.

Water can form hydrogen bonds, which make it a powerful solvent. Water molecules are attracted to other molecules that contain a full charge, like an ion, a partial charge, or polar. Salt (NA+ CL-) dissolves in water. Water molecules surround the salt molecules and separate the NA+ from the CL- by forming hydration shells around those two individual ions.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Dang 16 hours ago

      This comment section is trash. :/

    • profile image

      hola 7 days ago

      cbdfmgbgc xcfbgxbkxcjbvhkjzxcvbkxzjcghkjvnxcm,bnmcbvfjdkghjkxn,dsfgkjxchgjdhfkjxngfjfhbkcnvgkfdjhkdfxhkfjhgkdfjhgjkdfghjfkhkjdfaghkjdhjfdkdfhgkj

    • profile image

      the U of D Jesuit Scholor Athlete of the Year 2 weeks ago

      this is great for my bio class it is basically what my teacher is teaching in class rn

    • profile image

      Logan n mitch 2 weeks ago

      Why is water so wet?

    • profile image

      Itz yr boy joseph 2 weeks ago

      Very good but it too long

    • profile image

      N I G G E R D I K 2 weeks ago

      Water makes me so wet 3=========D

    • profile image

      vividucks808 2 weeks ago

      LOVE learning about water and other WET things. -go ducks!

    • profile image

      this helps thank u 2 weeks ago

      this helps thx

    • profile image

      George 2 weeks ago

      This help. Thanks :)

    • profile image

      John Cena 3 weeks ago

      wow who would've known I like orange cream pie??

    • profile image

      ramsey printup 3 weeks ago

      this website didnt help me learn how to drink water

    • profile image

      Marc 3 weeks ago

      Very good but make it short

    • profile image

      Rissa Wolfe 3 weeks ago

      Thanks this helped me a lot.

    • profile image

      jojo 3 weeks ago

      thank you

    • profile image

      slim shady 3 weeks ago

      thank you this website helped so much in biology class.

    • profile image

      me 3 weeks ago

      ty i just dont understand how water could be this good of a meme hit me line if u tryna blow tht vapor

    • profile image

      Bent Dover 4 weeks ago

      Thanks mate, because of you , Im going to ace my biology test. Good Stuff

    • profile image

      james 4 weeks ago

      great content

    • profile image

      Laurel 4 weeks ago

      This helped so much. Thanks :)

    • profile image

      Billy Mays 4 weeks ago

      Is this what caused IRMA?

    • profile image

      Billy Cliton 4 weeks ago


    • profile image

      Brandon 4 weeks ago

      Hello! This helped me in my lab in biology tank you.

    • profile image

      Ismael 5 weeks ago

      which water property is important for shape of eye for vertebrates animals

    • profile image

      Mr mugabi 6 weeks ago

      Well explained

    • profile image

      Tronald Dump 6 weeks ago

      So what happens if I build a wall around a droplet of water? And maybe deport it? Will it still stay in a droplet?

    • profile image

      mr. mysterious 6 weeks ago

      it t'was beautiful

    • profile image

      student 6 weeks ago


    • profile image

      Lp 7 weeks ago

      Thank you for the information, It was very much needed.

    • profile image

      Student 8 weeks ago

      Is waters ability to form droplets caused by it's attractions to polar molecules from hydrogen bonds?

    • profile image

      matthew 2 months ago

      how does a water strider float on top of water

    • profile image

      febin 3 months ago

      water moves in a circular path when pressure exerts on it.

    • profile image

      Rohit padme 3 months ago

      Help me in bio mechanical modalities thank you

    • profile image

      Chris Bajao 3 months ago

      what are the three properties of water that makes it vital to our health?

    • profile image

      Parvez 4 months ago

      I like it

    • profile image

      harsh 4 months ago

      this is very nice discusstion about the properties of water

    • profile image

      naddy wat wat 6 months ago

      I did a mock exam and a question on the properties of water was on it and I did not know shit about it as we have never done it this is really helpful

    • profile image

      Darnold Trump 7 months ago

      Believe me it's a good article

    • profile image

      bleach 8 months ago

      Very nice I like it

    • profile image

      Angelis55 8 months ago

      I think this is a good way to learn more about the properties of water.

    • profile image

      Hi 8 months ago

      This is awesome - this just gave me all my homework answers.

    • profile image

      ha 10 months ago

      ha ha

    • profile image

      emma waudby 10 months ago

      very good very nice i like it

    • profile image

      yay 10 months ago


    • profile image

      sheila 10 months ago


    • profile image

      Christian 10 months ago

      It helps me a lot

    • profile image

      Lucy 11 months ago

      Very good very nice i like it

    • profile image

      titty 11 months ago

      Donald trump is going to start world war 3.

    • profile image

      Anthony Tarantino 11 months ago

      Very good Very nice I like it

    • profile image

      James Pakhomou 12 months ago

      This thing really helped me. So AWESOME!

    • profile image

      lol wat 12 months ago

      i love how theres more than 4 comments that say

      "very good very nice i like it!"

      but yea i used this for homework thanks :D

    • profile image

      Pinky boo 12 months ago

      You need to put it in sentences which are helpful not to say that the answer s are very helpful though thanks any way

    • profile image

      queation 12 months ago

      describe how waters poalarity effects 2 of the major properties of water

    • profile image

      RainbowPuppyFace 13 months ago

      its good information for my school project in science class

    • profile image

      kim daisy 13 months ago

      i love it

    • profile image

      Eyob Tesfaye 13 months ago

      very good very nice i like it !!!

    • profile image

      Jackson 13 months ago

      Very good very nice I like it

    • profile image

      Daniel 13 months ago

      Very good very nice I like it

    • profile image

      George 13 months ago

      Very good very nice I like it

    • profile image

      Jack Willy 13 months ago

      Just what I needed for study, this article is extravagent!!!

    • profile image

      dommkopf 14 months ago

      This help me with many things...

    • profile image

      selina ramos 2 years ago

      what are two properties of water that are related to hydrogen water

    • profile image

      noor ud din 2 years ago

      more informative and well writeded..

    • ArockDaNinja profile image

      ArockDaNinja 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I love technical writing. I'd say 95 percent of what I read is technical and informative. Voted up, useful, and interesting. Welcome to Hubpages! I look forward to reading more.