The Long-Run Economic Trend Is Our Friend

Live from the Roasterie: You know, I do sometimes wish I understood things--like the very basics of the physical chemistry of water…

Water--H2O--has a molecular weight of 18, compared to a molecular weight of 32 for oxygen and 28 for nitrogen. So why does water boil at 100°C rather than at something lower than the boiling point of nitrogen and oxygen, which are, respectively, -196°C and -183°C? And don't tell me it's the asymmetry of the molecule so that the hydrogen ions hanging off the end are attracted to the unshielded pieces of the negatively-charged electron cloud surrounding the oxygen, : ammonia is an asymmetric molecule with hydrogens hanging off of the central atom too, and ammonia's boiling point is -33°C.

Comments