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Structure of Water

Some of the abnormal properties of water can be explained by structural consideration. The water molecule, H2O, has an angular bent structure with H-O-H bond angle of 104.5° as shown in the below figure. Oxygen is strongly electronegative and so its atoms pull the electrons. that make up the O-H bond toward themselves at the expense of hydrogen atoms. The water thereby develops a slight positive (d +) and negative (d -) polarity . Consequently some head-to-tail intermolecular attraction, i.e. hydrogen bonding, develops resulting in the associated molecules. This bonding comes into play when a hydrogen atom takes up a position between two strongly electronegative atoms. Hydrogen bonding is much stronger than the Van der Waals attractions. Exceptionally higher melting and boiling points of water compared to those of the other hydrides of the group (H2S, H2Se, etc.), are due to hydrogen bonding in former.

When water freezes, its molecules get arranged in a three-dimensional geometric pattern as shown in the below figure. The oxygen atoms are arranged similar to the carbon atoms in diamond, and the hydrogen atoms lie between the oxygen atoms.

The structure of ice consists of a regular three dimensional arrangement of water molecules, with each oxygen surrounded tetrahedrally by hydrogen atoms. Two of these are bonded to the oxygen atom by a normal O-H bond, two are held by hydrogen bonds.

Structure of Ice

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