Volume 88 Issue 28 | pp. 35-36
Issue Date: July 12, 2010

Storm In A Teacup

Water's surface is different from the bulk solution, but how remains a tangled question
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: water, air/water interface, hydronium ions, hydroxide ions, acidic, basic

The surface of water comprises the first few layers of molecules that sit on top of a lake, a glass of Evian, or even a droplet in the atmosphere. It has a chemical personality that’s quite different from the bulk liquid it covers. Make that a complex, possibly multiple, personality whose nature is still vexing scientists despite a recent flurry of theoretical and experimental research.

The question of what sits at the surface of water . . .

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