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Essential Elements

28 29 WatEr acIdS making a splash Water is the most common molecule in the universe. One oxygen and two hydrogen atoms, H2O is two thirds of you. The water molecule is polarised. The pull from the oxygen atom gives the hydrogen atoms a slight positive charge top left and extensive networks of hydrogenbonded molecules carve six fold snow crystals opposite, cause surface tension and create the fluctuating liquid crystal lattice we drink below. Waters polarity allows it to easily unsettle and dissolve other polarised molecules into ions, water itself dissociating into H protons and hydroxides, OH. Acids are compounds which donate protons in solution, attacking metals to liberate hydrogen gas. Bases are compounds which accept protons, and include metal oxides, hydroxides and amines. Soapy and bitter, they combine with an acid to form a salt and water. For example hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide make salt and water HCl NaOH NaCl H2O. Other Lewis acids and bases respectively accept or donate an electron pair subject to the solvents used, and not all acids need water. Two slightly different acid reactions power the electron flows of the batteries lower opposite that light up Mr. Frosty.
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