Wonders of Water Solubility
Our last two posts emphasized two substances—salt and water, two of the most vital substances on Planet Earth. Water is the most common liquid on Earth while salt water is the most common aqueous solution on the planet. Scientific knowledge concerning water is plentiful. Unique properties and characteristics of water are well known. We published seven posts on water in 2012, including this one:
When water acts by itself it manifests changes in density related to temperature and phase, cohesion and adhesion characteristics, and thermal properties related to weather such as specific heat and heat of vaporization. Another all-important characteristic is solubility—its ability to form solutions when other substances dissolve in it. We believe the properties mentioned above, along with its ability to dissolve various other substances, is a product of divine design by the Creator/Designer of All Things. Water, the universal solvent, dissolves thousands of substances. More substances dissolve in water than in any other known liquid. Water is able to dissolve many substances at the same time.
The solubility of many substances in water is a physical characteristic making possible many chemical changes on which our lives depend. Most chemical reactions occur in solutions. If water did not possess unique properties such as solubility, other necessary life processes would be impossible. “Ordinary” water is a compound whose molecules are composed of two hydrogen atoms bonded to one oxygen atom. Water is an example of a polar compound. Each water molecule has a positive charge on one side and a negative charge on the other. This fact is merely the beginning of a fascinating, complex story. Water’s polarity results in its ability to dissolve many substances.
Why is the water solubility characteristic so important? Our bodies’ digestive processes function to convert food into usable, absorbable forms. This means combining the food with materials that convert it to soluble substances. In digestion, food nutrients are altered to soluble substances which are then absorbed through the walls of the small intestine and into our blood stream for transport to trillions of body cells. Our cells metabolize food, synthesizing proteins and creating energy. Soluble waste products from cell activity are later carried to the kidneys to be filtered out of the blood and later removed from the body. CO2 is also a waste product dissolved in blood and must travel to the lungs to be exhaled.
The human body is 60-70% water. Human blood is about 92% water, about 55% of which is plasma. Oxygen is dissolved in plasma after absorption in the lungs and quickly becomes dissolved in the water of plasma and red blood cells. The oxygen combines with hemoglobin molecules. The oxygen is then carried to human cells via hemoglobin. This exemplifies the solubility of gases in water. Solubility includes water’s ability to dissolve solids, other liquids, or gases.
Studying a physical property such as water solubility and the solubility of gases, solids and other liquids in water may seem tiresome or even boring. Reviewing this topic and researching related issues triggered renewed personal interest in a rather mundane topic. We all have experiences with the subject of solubility—for example, when we prepare meals in our kitchens. Perhaps we did not realize how important the topic was in relation to human body systems and bodily processes in all living things.
We link one more post from our 2012 series on water. Our prayer is that readers will acquire a heightened interest in the multiple design features of our universe. These features are not chaotic, random, or incoherent. When we study multiple physical systems and the orderly physical laws governing our lives, our conclusions concerning God’s creative works are inescapable.