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Hydrogen Bonding in Water

Liquid water is "special" in that it exhibits a high degree of order due to a network of hydrogen bonds. This network readily adjusts to incorporate other molecules capable of hydrogen bonding but "rejects" molecules where hydrogen bonding cannot occur.

Build a "cluster" of water molecules. Click on and select sp3 oxygen (a "water molecule"). Hold down on the Insert key and click 30-40 times at different locations on the screen. Rotate the structure every few "clicks" to make certain that it is "three-dimensional". Don't "click" too close to an existing water molecule (or you will make an OO bond). Click on .

The resulting "water cluster" should be roughly spherical and you should be able to identify numerous H2O - - -H­OH hydrogen bonds.

Replace one of the water molecules in the "middle" of your cluster with an ammonia molecule. Select sp3 nitrogen from the model kit and double click on the oxygen atom (not a free valence) on the selected water molecule. Click on .

Only modest reorganization is required in order to accommodate the ammonia molecule inside your cluster.

Replace the ammonia molecule by a methane molecule (select sp3 carbon from the model kit and double click on the nitrogen in your structure). Click on .

Methane does not "fit" inside your cluster. The surrounding water molecules spread out to give it room.


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