Two Hydrogen atoms covalently bonded to one Oxygen atom. One of the more common compounds on the surface of the earth.

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118
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Surviving under water in air bubble

An incredible news story today is about a man who survived for two days at the bottom of the sea (~30 m deep) in a capsized boat, in an air bubble that formed in a corner of the boat. He was ...
51
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3answers
2k views

What causes insects to cast large shadows from where their feet are?

I recently stumbled upon this interesting image of a wasp, floating on water: Assuming this isn't photoshopped, I have a couple of questions: Why do you see its image like that (what's the ...
43
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4answers
4k views

Being in a solid state, why is ice slippery? [duplicate]

Saying that ice is slippery is like saying that water is wet -- it's something we've known for as long as we can be said to have known anything. Presumably, humans as a species knew ice was slippery ...
39
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4answers
3k views

Why is water clear?

Water appears transparent to visible light, yet most other objects are opaque. Why is that? Is there an explanation why water appears transparent? Is water transparent at all wavelengths, or are ...
29
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2answers
4k views

Before a once-warm lake starts to freeze, must its temperature be 4°C throughout at some point?

This is a problem I just started puzzling over, and I felt this would be a good forum to check my reasoning. So here are the relevant observations followed by my question: Water achieves its maximum ...
28
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6answers
4k views

Why is jumping into water from high altitude fatal?

If I jump from an airplane straight positioned upright into the ocean, why is it the same as jumping straight on the ground? Water is a liquid as opposed to the ground, so I would expect that by ...
24
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4answers
2k views

Why does wet skin sunburn faster?

There is a popular belief that wet skin burns or tans faster. However, I've never heard a believable explanation of why this happens. The best explanation I've heard is that the water droplets on the ...
24
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1answer
3k views

Was Titanic's captain's decision correct?

I just saw a documentary on Titanic. Someone in that documentary told Captain Smith "Shall we close the water tight doors, sir?" and the Captain replied "No, let it be open. Let the water ...
22
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6answers
3k views

Is it possible to “cook” pasta at room temperature with low enough pressure?

It is known fact, that boiling point of water decreases by decreasing of pressure. So there is a pressure at which water boils at room temperature. Would it be possible to cook e.g. pasta at room ...
21
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9answers
2k views

How can water evaporate at room temperature? [duplicate]

Boiling point of water is 100 degree Celsius. The temperature at which water in liquid form is converted into gaseous form. Then how it possible for water to evaporate at room temperature?
19
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4answers
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Why does boiling water in the microwave make a cup of tea go weird?

When I boil water in the kettle, it makes a nice cup of tea. Sometimes I need to use a microwave because a kettle isn't available. I boil the water in the mug and it looks pretty normal, but when I ...
17
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6answers
3k views

Why does ice form on bridges even if the temperature is above freezing?

So with this "arctic blast" continuing, I've noticed that for my area, the temperature drops below freezing just long enough to cause freezing rain, but then the sun comes out and the temperature ...
17
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5answers
8k views

Why do tsunami waves begin with the water flowing away from shore?

A sign of a tsunami is that the water rushes away from the shore, then comes back to higher levels. It seems that waves should be both + and - polarized and that some tsunamis should go in the ...
17
votes
4answers
276 views

Why is lightning more rare during snow storms than rain storms?

Lightning and thunder during a snow storm is uncommon. As far as I know, more uncommon than during a typical rain storm. Why is this? I speculate it might be one, or both, of the following two ...
16
votes
5answers
31k views

How does water evaporate if it doesn't boil?

When the sun is out after a rain, I can see what appears to be steam rising off a wooden bridge nearby. I'm pretty sure this is water turning into a gas. However, I thought water had to reach 100 ...
15
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is boiling water loud, then quiet?

Water in my electric kettle makes the most noise sixty to ninety seconds before the water comes to a full boil. I have been fooled many times by the noisy kettle, only to discover that the water was ...
14
votes
1answer
394 views

Could there be a body of water the size of a planet?

My friend and I were reading the news of the discovery of a black hole spewing huge amounts of water vapor into space, and it got us thinking: could there be a blob of liquid water in space the size ...
14
votes
1answer
502 views

Why is boiling water the second time more quiet than boiling it the first time?

First of all: This is a different question than Why is boiling water loud, then quiet?, although the answers might be similar. When I wake up, I boil some water for a cup of tea. It happens quite ...
14
votes
1answer
898 views

Is there some way to narrow down the Leidenfrost point for water?

Cooks sometimes use the Leidenfrost effect to estimate the temperature of a frying pan by flicking a few drops of water onto the heated pan. I had no idea, before looking into this, that this could be ...
13
votes
3answers
620 views

Why don't I feel pressure on my body when swimming under water?

If I put a couple of lead bricks on my foot, there would be a definite sensation of a heavy, perhaps even painful, force. Calculating the pressure for $20 kg$ of lead over a $100 cm^2$ area of my ...
13
votes
3answers
901 views

How to freeze the Niagara waterfalls?

Here is a picture of the usual vigorous Niagara Falls (in the winter). Here is the picture of Niagara Falls frozen in 1933 (in the very cold winter). Here is the picture of Niagara Falls frozen in ...
12
votes
2answers
960 views

Why doesn't water come out of tap/faucet at high pressure when I turn it on?

(tap=faucet) When I turn a tap on full and then put my thumb over the spout covering, say, 90% of it, then the water spurts out. If I turn it on to, say 10%, then the water dribbles out. What's the ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are snowflakes symmetrical?

The title says it all. Why are snowflakes symmetrical in shape and not a mush of ice? Is it a property of water freezing or what? Does anyone care to explain it to me? I'm intrigued by this and ...
12
votes
2answers
129 views

What would happen to wet laundry in the vacuum of space?

Imagine for a second that I was in a college dorm room frustrated that all the dryers were broken or in use. I'm impatient and not a jerk so I don't wait or take out someone else's laundry, I shoot it ...
11
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3answers
1k views

A water drop in vacuum

Let's imagine the following situation: At an initial moment $t=0$, a large water drop with diameter for example $D=10\ \text{cm}$ is placed in deep space (Say an astronaut is experimenting). Let's ...
11
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5answers
20k views

jumping into water

Two questions: Assuming you dive head first or fall straight with your legs first, what is the maximal height you can jump into water from and not get hurt? In other words, an H meter fall into ...
10
votes
1answer
399 views

Sandstone getting soaked with water

I have seen someone putting a sandstone in water. With only about 10% of the stone sitting in the water. One could see the stone getting soaked with water. So there must be a force, which lets the ...
10
votes
2answers
648 views

What is the status of Mpemba effect investigations?

There is this puzzling thing that is called Mpemba effect: paradoxically, warm (35°C) water freezes faster than cold (5°C) water. As a physisist, I've been asked about it several times already. And I ...
10
votes
3answers
9k views

Why does adding solutes to pure water lower the the specific heat?

We found that water with salt, sugar, or baking soda dissolved in it cools faster than pure water. Water has a very high specific heat; how do these solutes lower it? We heated a beaker (300ml) of ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a way to fill Tank 2 from Tank 1 through Gravity alone?

I am a newbie in water system design but I am currently faced with the exact situation below on my land, and I need to know whether gravity alone is sufficient in order to fill Tank 2 from Tank 1, as ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Thermodynamics of supercooled water

Now that it's been freezing outside for the last few days, I experimented a bit with supercooling. I've left a bottle of clean water outside for a few hours, and behold, when I shook the bottle, the ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is there more steam after a pot of water *stops* boiling?

I have a pot of vigorously boiling water on a gas stove. There's some steam, but not alot. When I turn off the gas, the boiling immediately subsides, and a huge waft of steam comes out. This is ...
8
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4answers
3k views

Waves in water always circular

I have had a question since childhood. Why do we always get circular waves (ripples) in water even when we throw irregularly shaped object in it?
8
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4answers
2k views

Are water waves (i.e. on the surface of the ocean) longitudinal or transverse?

I'm convinced that water waves for example: are a combination of longitudinal and transverse. Any references or proofs of this or otherwise?
8
votes
2answers
3k views

273 + degree Celsius = Kelvin. Why 273?

Temperature conversion: 273 + degree Celsius = Kelvin Actually why is that 273? How does one come up with this? My teacher mentioned Gann's law (not sure if this is the one) but I couldn't find ...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

Why does water pouring from a glass sometimes travel down the side of the glass?

If you have a glass of water, say, three quarters full and you pour it at an angle of say, $45^{\circ}$ with respect to the the table, the water comes out of the glass and goes directly down towards ...
8
votes
1answer
624 views

Why does the water in the toilet move around so much on stormy days?

On calm days, the water in the toilet looks completely still. But when it's rainy and windy out, the water looks like it moves and pulsates. Why is this?
8
votes
1answer
1k views

water flow in a sink

When one turns on the tap in the kitchen, a circle is observable in the water flowing in the sink. The circle is the boundary between laminar and turbulent flow of the water (maybe this is the wrong ...
8
votes
1answer
323 views

What determines bubble locations in boiling water?

Something a little different to our usual fare. I was boiling a pan of water for cookery the other day, and got to wondering what caused the location of the bubble streams from the bottom of the pan. ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does water flow out of an upside-down bottle? (Rayleigh Taylor Instability)

I am currently reading the excellent book An Indispensable Truth: How Fusion Power Can Save the Planet by Francis F. Chen and I came across this explanation. The Rayleigh–Taylor Instability ...
8
votes
5answers
427 views

What can wavy patterned sand tell about the Fluid that formed it?

Sand on the bottom of the ocean as well as sand on the low-tide beach often forms wavy patterns. Do the parameters of these wavy patterns have any relation to the water and waves that formed them? If ...
8
votes
4answers
509 views

Zigzag flow of water along a vertical glass window

I've observed this behavior many times. When it rains, the rainwater will form vertical channels along a glass window. The flow of water is mostly confined within these vertical channels and the ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Eyes open under water

Yesterday I looked underwater with my eyes open (and no goggles) and I realized I can't see anything clearly. Everything looks very, very blurry. My guess is that the eye needs direct contact with air ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Why does water make a sound when it is disturbed?

When I disturb a body of water, what causes the familiar "water moving" sound?
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Sauna thermodynamics

Why does it get hotter (feel hotter) in a sauna when one pours water over the hot stones? Wikipedia says that the water condenses onto the skin, but the actual air humidity is so low that I doubt ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

Why does the water level equalize in a series of tubes?

Say I have a series of tubes (not the internet) looking like this, where w represents water: ...
7
votes
1answer
198 views

Why water wont leak out in this case? (Picture provided)

just curious why the water in the aquarium tank would not leak out as shown in the picture provided below? The question is in the red circle. The water level in the aquarium tank is definitely higher ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does ice have a lower density than water?

Can someone explain me why is ice lighter than water? As I know, all solids are usually heavier than the liquids (correct me if I am wrong).
7
votes
2answers
255 views

How to model the form of a surface water wave?

Normal surface water waves, as generated by wind, do not have sine form but wave peak is higher and shorter than wave trough with different wave steepness. What parameters characterize such a surface ...
7
votes
1answer
77 views

How plausible is a subsurface ocean on Pluto?

According to this article on physorg.com, it's likely that Pluto has a subsurface ocean of liquid water. It suggests that the ocean would be about 165 km deep, under an equally deep crust of solid ...