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This may be a silly question but why is water wet? All the previous questions on water do not explain the reason why is water wet. They assume that its a natural property. However we need to understand why is it wet in the first place. This could apply to other liquids such as milk, juices but the essential element is water.

Similarly another basic property which we take for granted is heat caused by fire. What causes fire to be hot as an inherent property? For the purpose of discussion consider simple fire by burning wood or paper.

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    $\begingroup$ What is your definition of 'wet'? By conventional dictionary, something becomes wet when covered/soaked with water or another liquid. $\endgroup$ – Jerry Dec 28 '13 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ I'll let Richard Feynman answer the fire portion. $\endgroup$ – Nicolau Saker Neto Dec 28 '13 at 16:28
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    $\begingroup$ Fire is hot because you're absorbing energy from a bunch of extremely high-energy electons, protons, and atoms. Water is wet because it bonds to lots of stuff and is in the liquid state. It feels cool at room temperature because our body has more energy than the water does (water is at room temp, our bodies are at a temp set by thermoregulation). $\endgroup$ – jeremy Dec 28 '13 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ Two words-surface tension en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wetting BTW, this belongs to physics SE $\endgroup$ – user80551 Dec 30 '13 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ Are an ancient Greek? Ancient Greeks believe that there are four elements that make up everything: earth, water, air, and fire. $\endgroup$ – MaxW Feb 22 '17 at 16:16
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Why is water wet?

Chemically speaking saying that water is wet has not much sense.We could, however, say that "Wetting process" is caused by the presence of a thin liquid particles layer over a material. In our specific case, this depends on the chemistry of water and the chemistry of skin. So the main causes of the fact that water is wet, is its wetting properties determined by a force balance between adhesive and cohesive forces over the skin. Mercury, although is a liquid, will not "wet" you because it has a strong cohesive force that doesn't permit the molecules to get in touch with the sensory cells. When you touch water or a water wetted material part of the water molecules are transfer to your hands (a hydrophilic material) and so to the receptor cells giving the sensation of wet, this sensation can be caused however in some case of parasthesias even if there are no liquid particles. In fact, there is no "wet receptor" on your skin but the sensation is due to the elaboration of different stimuli from tactile, pressure and temperature receptor present in your skin. Try to play with plasticine after a while handling it your hands will become hydrophobic you will no more fell the wet sensation when you wash them even if water is still "wet"!

What causes fire to be hot as an inherent property?

Fire is an exothermic process. So energy stored in a chemical bond is released as kinetic energy and electromagnetic wave. The fire has a high temperature because the molecules have great kinetic energies when you get in touch with fire (of course wormed air could be a medium as well for short distance) this kinetic energy is transfer to your skin and so to your thermoreceptors . And you feel what human call hot. In fact, you can feel the sensation of hot even without touching the fire because it even irradiates energy as electromagnetic waves that can be absorbed by your skin and so be feel for his receptors.

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"When you touch water or a water wetted material part of the water molecules are transfer to your hands (an hydrophilic material) and so to the receptor cells giving the sensation of wet, this sensation can be cause however in some case of parasthesias even if there are no liquid particles. In fact there are no "wet receptor" over your skin but the sensation is due to the elaboration of different stimuli from tactile, pressure and temperature receptor present in you skin." Let's see, the reason that water molecules are transferred to your hands is because your hands are made of a 'water-loving' material (i.e., 'hydrophilic'). Sounds like we haven't progressed beyond Moliere (opium induces sleep because of its 'dormative' property), or Nietzsche (by reason of a 'faculty'). Or, perhaps, even Empedocles ('love' and 'strife' rule the universe). Actually, 'wetness' doesn't seem to be a property at all, but rather the name of a relation that describes a regularity without providing any explanation at all. Why is water wet? We have no idea!

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    $\begingroup$ Not an answer, but rather an extended comment on another answer. $\endgroup$ – TAR86 Nov 9 '17 at 16:19

protected by Community Jan 22 '18 at 15:29

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