Why is it that water is called universal solvent?

Philippines
January 25, 2007 3:15am CST
What do we mean when we say universal solvent? And why is it that water is called universal solvent? Can you discuss it further to me? Thanks.
4 people like this
14 responses
@kavita23 (2996)
• India
30 Jan 07
solute means which dissolve & solvent means one which dissolve solute. so, universal solvent means one who has ability to dissove any solute. & the most important thing is both ion are present in water(+,-) deionised or distill water are used to dissolve most of the solute. & also Because it will dissolve any polar solute. When that term originated, it did not really take into account nonpolar solvents like oils, but it is still a useful term. Water is an extremely effective solvent used all over the world. A polar molecule is one in which the charge of one end is different than the charge of the other. Hydrogen bonding is a type of interaction between a hydrogen that has been covalently bonded with a very electronegative element and has almost been stripped of its two electrons. Thus, it acts almost as a lone proton and "hydrogen bonds" or attracts particles with negative charge. Adhesion is the sticking of a substance onto another. Cohesion is the sticking of a substance to itself. Water is polar. Having an HOH structure, the two H ends are positively charged and the O is negatively charged. Thus, these charges are attracted to their opposites in other polar (or ionic) molecules. The result is that the water molecules surround the other molecules by matching their end to the molecules' oppositely charged end. After water molecules stick themselves onto each molecule of the solute, the substance is said to be dissolved. Adhesion is similar to its properties as a solvent. These same poles of the water molecule interact with the poles of other molecules and cause it to "stick" to them. For instance, if you pour water onto a glass pane held at an angle, the water will run down the length of the bottom of the pane instead of pouring right off of it. The water actually sticks to the glass because of adhesion. Cohesion is where hydrogen bonding comes in. Cohesion is when the exposed H(+) atoms stick to the opposite pole of neighbouring water molecules. The result is a long inter-linked chain of the exposed hydrogens sticking to the exposed oxygens of other molecules, and the ultimate result is something called cohesion which accounts for the slightly viscous nature of water. so, water is called universal solvent. good luck & have a nice day.
3 people like this
• Philippines
31 Jan 07
Wow, that is nice. I think you have research it for me my friend. By the way, where did you got that response?
1 person likes this
@kavita23 (2996)
• India
31 Jan 07
yeh!!! it belong to my subject & that is important for me . well thnx for selecting me as good response. good luck & have a nice day.
2 people like this
• India
31 Jan 07
Nice copy and paste from wikipedia...
@sweetie88 (4560)
• Pakistan
30 Jan 07
Water is universal solvent due to its unique chemical and physical properties. Actually, due to bonding it can solve all most all elements in it so that's y it is called universal solvent. I had a chapter in my course last year about water in Chemistry but i did n't tell about it to u briefly bcuz many ppl've already told u the exact answers and i just told u the main reason.
• Philippines
31 Jan 07
I see. That is why water is called universal solvent because due to its unique chemical and physical properties. Can you give furthermore reasons about this my friend? Can you support your response further?
1 person likes this
@sweetie88 (4560)
• Pakistan
2 Feb 07
Water is a substance that can almost dissolve anything. Salts such as sodium chloride (NaCl), dissolve in water by dissociating as each ion becomes surrounded by the polar water molecules . Shielded by a shell of water molecules, the ions stay in solution because they are no longer affected by attractive forces from other ions. Enough now??? I think that u've got an ideal answer already.
• India
31 Jan 07
Member since: November 27, 2006 Total points: 965 (Level 2) Points earned this week: 1 14%Best answer 233 answers Best Answer - Chosen By Voters A polar molecule is one in which the charge of one end is different than the charge of the other. Hydrogen bonding is a type of interaction between a hydrogen that has been covalently bonded with a very electronegative element and has almost been stripped of its two electrons. Thus, it acts almost as a lone proton and "hydrogen bonds" or attracts particles with negative charge. Adhesion is the sticking of a substance onto another. Cohesion is the sticking of a substance to itself. Water is polar. Having an HOH structure, the two H ends are positively charged and the O is negatively charged. Thus, these charges are attracted to their opposites in other polar (or ionic) molecules. The result is that the water molecules surround the other molecules by matching their end to the molecules' oppositely charged end. After water molecules stick themselves onto each molecule of the solute, the substance is said to be dissolved. Adhesion is similar to its properties as a solvent. These same poles of the water molecule interact with the poles of other molecules and cause it to "stick" to them. For instance, if you pour water onto a glass pane held at an angle, the water will run down the length of the bottom of the pane instead of pouring right off of it. The water actually sticks to the glass because of adhesion. Cohesion is where hydrogen bonding comes in. Cohesion is when the exposed H(+) atoms stick to the opposite pole of neighbouring water molecules. The result is a long inter-linked chain of the exposed hydrogens sticking to the exposed oxygens of other molecules, and the ultimate result is something called cohesion which accounts for the slightly viscous nature of water.
3 people like this
• Philippines
31 Jan 07
I see. So that proves that water is a universal solvent right my friend? By the way, from what source did you get this my friend?
1 person likes this
@AKRao24 (4248)
• India
30 Jan 07
Water is an essential thing or most important thing that is required for the sustainance or maintainance of a life form only after the oxygen which is required at the first place. No living form can live without water.This implies that water is having a major role of nourishing the body.Maintaining the body temperature, body turgidity etc are the secondary things to be considered . but the prime and basic thing is that water supplies nutients to each and every corner of the body of a living thing. That means it dissoves almost all the elementals in one or other form, that are required by the body for the sustainance of life. Plants they preparae the food in presence of Sunlight, Carbondioxide and water. That means the food prepared by the plants is derived from soil and the water is playing as a vehicle to carry all the require nutients in various forms from the soil to the plant leaves where the starcgh is manufactured.Thus water is capable of dissolving almost all the things, in one or other form, perhaprs fats and some elements in pure forms can be some exceptions.If we taste the Sea water, that is salty, this means the water carried into the sea in the form of river has accumulated many salts and chemicals enrouted to dissolve them in it and finally they are addede to the Sea.This nature of water to dissove almost everything in it must have given the name of univerasl solvent to it. In daily life we see practically any thing which we eat except for fats and solid materials which are riuch in fibre content, almost every thing gets dissolves in water to form solution. Examples are sugar, salt, vineger etc. I think because of the above qualities of dissolving almost everyt thing in it for the sustainance of life form without which, no life could have been possible on the earth water is said to be the 'Universal Solvent"!
• Philippines
31 Jan 07
I see. BEcause mainly of its neutralizing factor and it can be a substance for many chemical reactions that is happening in our world. Water also is one of the main ingredients that all things will be needed and that is why it is called universal solvent. NIce one.
1 person likes this
@stvasile (7317)
• Romania
30 Jan 07
Organic molecule - Organic molecules are not always solubile in water
Water is considered to be the universal solvent because it is able to dissolve the most (even if some in small quantities) anorganic chemical substances. The organic sustances have variouse response when mixed with water, many of them not being solubile.
3 people like this
• Philippines
31 Jan 07
I see. It is called universal solvent because mainly water are the main ingredients in dissolving many things and it can be used as a good substances in many chemical reactions. Nice answer. What else my friend are your knowledge about water?
1 person likes this
@Wanderlaugh (1625)
• Australia
25 Jan 07
It is a universal solvent. Water contains chemical and atomic properties that allow it to interact with almost anything. Because it can bond with so many forms of material, and change their chemical composition, it's a reasonable description. It can do unexpected things. It can form (temporarily) ice crystals at its own boiling point. I read recently that water can even find its way through glass. Not quite a solvent for everything, though. More accurately, sea water is a universal solvent. It will even dissolve gold. It's even more chemically active, contains the radioactive version of itself, tritium, and literally forms a solution out of any material in time.
• Philippines
26 Jan 07
I see, that is why it is called universal solvent because also of what you've said. Thanks for that response my friend. Good luck.
@sureshmoe (974)
• India
31 Jan 07
Our body contains 95% of the water...we can live some days without food...And we can't live somedays without water...Also it is used for many purpose..So hence named universal solvent..
2 people like this
• Philippines
31 Jan 07
Is it true my friend that our body contains 95% or 75%?
1 person likes this
@Idlewild (6105)
• United States
31 Jan 07
Yeah, I think it's more like 75% water. If it was 95% humans would just be like big walking water balloons!
1 person likes this
• Philippines
2 Feb 07
That's right my friend, or maybe suresmoe just only misqouting the 95% instead of 75%.
• Brazil
31 Jan 07
sometimes not is... =D have one case the water not is the "Universal Solvent"
2 people like this
• Philippines
31 Jan 07
What is your reason my friend of saying that water is NOT a universal solvent? Do you have any evidences and formulas that invented that you will concludidly come to a point that water is NOT a universal solvent? Can you prove to us my friend?
1 person likes this
@jmp824 (741)
• Philippines
31 Jan 07
It's called a universal solvent, cos it liquidifies almost all basic substances. And i think almost half of the world is covered with water. :). Thats all i can say since, everything i can find on the net,why water is considered as a universal solvent is already copied and pasted on this thread. :)
2 people like this
• Philippines
31 Jan 07
I see. But you are feel free to say more myfriend about your ideas so that we can discuss, together with you the importance of water in our life.
1 person likes this
@tictac714 (976)
• United States
31 Jan 07
Water molecules are polar (electrically charged) and so water dissolves most substances. Mainly, it will dissolve all materials except those that are nonpolar. For this reason it is called a universal solvent.
• Philippines
31 Jan 07
I see. You have a good point my friend. But can you explain to us further what is polar and what is nonpolar materials? And why is it that it can dissolve all materials except those that are nonpolar? Kindly site your reasons my friend.
1 person likes this
@usman400 (1588)
• Pakistan
31 Jan 07
Simply because water can absorbe any kind of metal, and it will desolve it day by day, thats why it is called the universal solvent
2 people like this
• Philippines
31 Jan 07
I see. The metal, when it is touched the water, will turn easily be decayed because of its power to soften the hard. You have the point my friend.
1 person likes this
@Debs_place (10551)
• United States
1 Feb 07
I didn't think that there was such a thing as a universal solvent. If there was, it could not be contained. Water can be contained in glass and plastic and metal, therefore it really is not a very potent solvent at all.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
2 Feb 07
HOw can you say that my friend? Do you understand the meaning of what we called universal solvent? I think my friend, you gonna learn more about chemistry. Try to search it my friend in the internet and as long as you've searched it, then share to us the meaning of that kind of word. More power to you my friend and i hope that you will post more and more quality discussion here in the mylot.
@Lydia1901 (16354)
• United States
31 Jan 07
I think water is called that because it helps with everything that we need it for. We need water in our bodies, to cook with and use it to do whatever we can with it.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
2 Feb 07
YOu have a point my friend. It is called universal solvent because it can be used everywhere and anywhere and anytime. YOu have the point my friend. More power to you and you may post more quality discussions here at my lot. Let us help mylot.
@inovator (603)
• Philippines
3 Feb 07
maybe because water is a cleansing thing....