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What will happen when these two water molecules approach each other?

See the Water Dimer Page for a Flash Animation.

What did you observe?

What are some properties of a single water molecule?

Each color represents a different atom type. What type of atom is red? white?

The following images show a single water molecule after it has been rotated 90, 180, 270 and 360 degrees.

Does water show any symmetry?

Water is formed when two atoms of hydrogen combine with one atom of oxygen. The single electrons in the hydrogen atoms are drawn to oxygen which only has 6 electrons in its valence shell. How will this affect the charge on the water molecule?

In physics you learned that like charges repel and unlike charges attract. The above animation shows what happens when two water molecules approach. What would expect might happen if we surround a single molecule of water with four other molecules of water? Take a look at this image frozen in time.

click on image for pattern

Do you recognize any familiar geometric pattern? What distances might each water molecule be from each other?

Can you predict the pattern for 8 water molecules? Take look at the structure in motion Flash Movie

The above simulations were all performed at very low temperatures (below the freezing point of water. At higher temperatures molecules are in rapid motion. What would you expect the motion to look like at a higher temperature, say at room temperature?



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