Water: The Universal Solvent
Water is said to be a universal solvent because of its ability to dissolve the greatest variety of substances.

In fact, it is partly due to this solvent quality that water is so important in our lives, since no matter what path it takes, it will carry nutrients, minerals or chemical substances. This means that no matter what it comes into contact with (minerals, organic matter, molecules in the air), the molecules will dissolve in the water.

Its solvent quality comes from the fact that its polarity is opposite at its ends. In other words, the arrangement of water molecules is such that they have positive charges on one side (H+) and negative charges on the other (O2-).

The bonds between the hydrogen (H+) and the two oxygen atoms (O2-) are often much stronger than the bonds that allow the formation of certain substances. Salt, for example, is formed from NaCl.

When this is added to water, the attraction of the salt molecules to those of the water is so strong that the bonds between Na+ and Cl- are broken. In other words, the Na+ will lodge near the oxygen. While the Cl- will find itself next to the hydrogen. This is the reason why salt dissolves in water.

 

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