# Polarity of Water: Exploring Electrical Neutrality

• Tam Le
In summary, the molecule H2O is considered electrically neutral because the net charge on the molecule is zero, even though the distribution of charges may not be uniform. This means that for every excess positive charge in one area of the molecule, there is an equal amount of negative charge in another area. Electrically neutral is defined as having a total charge of zero, and even if a molecule is electrically neutral, it can still have non-uniform charge distribution and interact with other electrically neutral molecules through dipole-dipole interactions.
Tam Le
I understand that, in the molecule H2O, O has a slight negative charge while the two H's have a slight positive charge. However, I do not understand why the molecule as a whole is considered electrically neutral.

Also, how is electrically neutral defined? Does it mean that the electrical forces of attraction and repulsion negate each other?

For example, in this drawing, the attraction between the O and the positively charged object would equal the repulsion between the H's and the positively charged object. Is this what being electrically neutral means?

the oxygen atom is written as [O][/2-] while Hydrogen ion is [H[/+] so the net charge on the molecule will be zero, hence nuetral.

Electrically neutral means - total charge is zero.

Actually that's the starting point here, not the other way around. We know water molecule is electrically neutral, so we know even if the charge distribution is not uniform, whatever excess of positive charge is present in some place (or some places) of the molecule, identical amount of negative charge is present in other places. In the case of water molecule it means that the negative charge on the oxygen atom is twice as large as the positive charge on each hydrogen atom.

Even if a molecule is electrically neutral it can have non-uniform charge distribution, and it can attract other electrically neutral molecules. We call it - in the simplest form - dipole-dipole interaction.

Tam Le

## 1. What is the polarity of water and why is it important?

Water is a polar molecule, meaning it has a slightly positive end and a slightly negative end. This is due to the unequal sharing of electrons between the hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The polarity of water is important because it allows it to form hydrogen bonds, which give water unique properties such as surface tension and the ability to dissolve polar substances.

## 2. How does water maintain electrical neutrality?

Water maintains electrical neutrality through the balance of positively charged protons from the hydrogen atoms and negatively charged electrons from the oxygen atom. The attraction between these opposite charges creates a dipole moment, which keeps the molecule electrically neutral.

## 3. What is the role of polarity in the solubility of substances in water?

The polarity of water allows it to dissolve polar substances, such as salts and sugars, because the positive end of the water molecule can attract the negative ions of the substance and the negative end can attract the positive ions. This breaks apart the substance and allows it to mix evenly with the water molecules.

## 4. How does the polarity of water affect its boiling and freezing points?

The polarity of water makes it difficult for the molecules to break apart and change states, resulting in high boiling and freezing points. The hydrogen bonds between water molecules must be broken in order for it to boil or freeze, which requires a significant amount of energy.

## 5. How does the polarity of water contribute to its role in living organisms?

The polarity of water allows it to form hydrogen bonds with other polar molecules, which is essential for many biological processes. Water's ability to dissolve and transport substances, regulate temperature, and provide structure in cells is all due to its polarity. Without water's polarity, life as we know it would not be possible.

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