Beyond hydration: Using water’s hidden secret to feel amazing

Brandon D. Wilson
4 min readAug 15, 2023
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We take water for granted, but I’ve been learning about water’s mysterious and miraculous nature.

You probably learned the basics of water in your first science class in elementary school. Combine two hydrogen atoms with one oxygen atom, and you have H20, the chemical formula for water. That’s the first big miracle right there. Hydrogen and oxygen are both gases, and yet somehow, they become water when you combine them in this way. You probably also learned the three phases of water: solid (ice), liquid water, and gas (vapor).

In the book, The Fourth Phase of Water, Gerald Pollack presents experimental data suggesting there’s more to water than its chemical composition. He asks and answers some interesting questions about water’s behavior:

  • When you step into dry sand, you sink into it easily. When you step into wet sand near the water’s edge, you hardly sink at all. You can create large sand castles with damp sand. How does water glue sand particles together?
  • What keeps water from dribbling out of Jell-O?
  • How do diapers hold so much water?
  • Solid materials don’t slide against each other easily, except for ice. Why is ice so slippery?
  • Why does warm water freeze faster than cold water?