Saturday, 6 June 2009

Rocks And Sand

Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one's bath like a lump of sugar.
- Pablo Picasso

A teaspoon of water contains about 200, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 water molecules. In typical interstellar space we find only one molecule per cubic centimetre. On Earth, air molecules are typically 0.3 nanometers in diameter, and the average seperation between them is around 3 nm. The number of molecules in the air is about 1000 times less than the number of molecules in water. The average distance between water molecules is somewhere in the order of 0.1 nm - which is a little odd when you think about it - water, like air, also has empty spaces between molecules, it's just that these empty spaces are much smaller.

There's an experiment which "reveals" the empty spaces between the molecules in a fluid. If 50 ml of water are added to 50 ml of ethyl alcohol (ethanol), you don't get 100 ml of solution, you get something around 98 ml. Where then has the 2 ml "disappeared" to? If we imagine the alcohol molecules as basketballs in a box, then we can think of water molecules as marbles which fill up the spaces (though I'm not sure this is anatomically correct). Small alcohols, typically ones with less than four carbon atoms, tend to mix very well with water. As the length of the alcohol increases, the more hydrocarbon-like it becomes, and so the lower its solubility in water - until eventually the two do not mix at all.

So far, the anology of the basketballs also reminds me of how molecules are organised in the aether field, where the fluid of the aether act as marbles which not only fill up those spaces, but also move through those spaces. Which brings me around to a funny little coincidence. Ethyl alcohol is treated with sulfuric acid to produce a colorless liquid with a pleasing odour: ether. Ether is probably best remembered as a general anesthetic from the 19thC. Today though, it is more commonly used as a solvent.

I have to be careful here. I can so easily be distracted by wanting to unearth why we have the coincidence of the same name for two (very?) different substances. Not forgetting that the "mystical aether", well known throughout the ages as the very substance of the Universe itself, should somehow end-up sharing its name with a solvent for Indian rubber. If I'm not careful I could go off and spend hours trying to learn more about Paracelsus and August Siegmund Frobenius. I mean, why did Frobenius change the name "sweet oil of vitriol" to ether? Answers on a postcard please.

Back to the drawing board... oils are soluble in ethanol but not in water. Water is actually more dense than oil, oil weighs less than water, and oil weighs more than alcohol - so of the three, alcohol is the least dense liquid.

Water molecules bond with water molecules, and not at all well with oil molecules. Oil does not mix with water, and being less dense, patches of oil will form circular droplets over the surface of water. Water and oil do not mix unless an emulsifier is used, but one method which drowns the oil with salt is sometimes used in classroom experiments:

When you pour in the salt, it brings a bubble of oil down with it. The salt and the oil together are more dense than the water, so they sink. When the salt dissolves in the water, the oil floats back to the top because now it is less dense than the water.

The density of water is affected by temperature and salinity. Salt dissolves in water but not in oil. Salt water is more dense than fresh water. A greater volume of salt can be dissolved in hot water compared to cold water. When water temperature increases, the density of the water decreases. The higher the temperature the weaker the surface tension. From what little research I have mustered, salt does not appear to have a marked effect on surface tension. It is increased density which explains why objects float higher in sea water.

The addition of even a few drops of ethanol to water sharply reduces the surface tension of water. Indeed, the alcohol reduces not only the surface tension of water, but also its density. At 20 degrees C, pure water has a density of 0.9982 g/cm3 and pure ethanol is 0.7893 g/cm3. A 50 - 50 mix of ethanol and water has a density of 0.9139 g/cm3.

Density is a property of matter that is unique to each substance. It is a measure of the mass of the substance in a standard unit of volume. If we imagine the mix of water and ethanol as something like sand falling between rocks, then you'd expect the solution to have a greater density. Let's pretend we have a truck loaded-up with big rocks. Then the gaps between the rocks we shall fill with sand. The load on-board the truck should be getting more dense without increasing the volume. If we now add more ethanol to the solution, we would see the volume increase and the density decrease. The ethanol/water solution only becomes more dense if we increase the volume with water.

If we move the rocks and sand to a swimming pool, we would see the rocks and sand displace the water according to Archimedes principle - that the volume of the displaced fluid is equal to the volume of the immersed object. In the ethanol/water solution, are the molecules displacing something that we cannot see?

I think density is the result of pressures in the aether field. Molecules which are closer together will induce a higher pressure. If a 50-50 ethanol/water solution has a higher density when we increase the volume with water, then it would suggest that the molecules of water are closer together than those found in ethanol. Remember, in my Universe (not that I own it or anything) molecules are not colliding all over the place - their positions in the aether field are stationary - it is the fluid of the aether which is in motion, and it is this motion which puts atoms into a spin. A faster flow of aether, a higher pressure, would suggest a faster atomic spin.

There is something known as the iceskater effect. A skater is able to turn faster by throwing himself with his arms apart into a rotation, but then increases his speed of rotation by bringing his arms alongside his body. The way in which the skater narrows his body increases vorticity. Does the size of the molecule also effect the speed at which it rotates in the flushing fluid of the aether? The following site offers a pretty good animation of the iceskater effect:

I wondered what it must be like at the air-water interface. The number of molecules in the air being 1000 times less than those in the water. It's a collision surely, between the broader channels of the aether coursing through the molecules of the air and the more narrow, high pressure structure of the aether moving through water. I think that it's here, in the meeting of two different densities - two differing pressures in the aether field - that something is at work.

When you add salt to water, the salt dissolves into ions. The volume increases a small factor, but the mass increases by a bigger factor. Adding 200 g of salt to a liter (1000 g) of water only increases the volume of the solution by about 80 milliliters. The adding of salt to increase density fits perfectly with the analogy of rocks and sand. The salt is filling-up those empty spaces between water molecules. Higher water density compresses gas bubbles to a smaller size.

Whereas in air about one in five molecules is oxygen, in sea water this is only about 4 in every thousand million water molecules. Whereas air contains about one carbon dioxide molecule in 3000 air molecules, in sea water this ratio becomes 4 in every 100 million water molecules, which makes carbon dioxide much more common (available) in sea water than oxygen. Carbon dioxide is 60 times more concentrated in seawater than in the atmosphere. (Freshwater also absorbs carbon dioxide too - aswell as oxygen and nitrogen and other gases).

Salt water is also an electrolyte - it conducts electricity. The electrical conductivity (or specific conductance) of water depends on the concentration and charge of dissolved ions. The warmer the water, the higher the conductivity. Any electrical conductivity observable in water is the result of ions of mineral salts and carbon dioxide dissolved in it. Carbon dioxide forms carbonate ions in water. Pure water, one that does not contain any dissolved minerals or ions, will not conduct electricity.

So, dissolved gases in water could be responsible for the conduction of electricity in water. Somehow, dissolved gases and ions have a part to play in electricity. I think electricity is the electric fluid of the aether under high pressure. It would appear that the dissolved gases and ions in the water somehow induce the aether to "flow" at high pressure.

Many thanks:

Marine propellers and propulsion By John Carlton

Surface chemistry of solid and liquid interfaces By Erbil,_oxygen_bubbles.htm

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