How Do Water Molecules Act Like Little Magnets?

One of the most interesting phenomena that you can see is the way water molecules behave near each other. The fun fact to note is that water molecules H2 itself looks like a Mickey Mouse head, since it has 2 ears at 10 and 2 o’clock. The base is oxygen, whereas the “ears” are hydrogen ions.

Mickey Mouse in H20
Do you see the Mickey Mouse in the Water molecule H2 ?

Why do water molecules behave like a magnet?

Every ion in a water molecule has its own, specific purpose. In the case of hydrogen ions, they are the ones carrying a positive charge. And then you have the oxygen ion which comes with a negative charge. The entire water molecule arrangement is giving this molecule a net polarity. That makes it very similar to a magnet. The arrangement is also offering some great properties, ranging from being a solvent to being less dense as a solid when compared to a liquid. Water molecules have a high boiling point and also maintain cohesion too.

When it comes to magnetic attraction, it’s important to keep in mind that the water molecule is neutral from an electrical standpoint. However, it has poles, pretty much the way a regular magnet would have. Because of that, you have the negative side being attracted to the positive side. This phenomenon has a name, and it’s called hydrogen bonding.

Even if the hydrogen bonding won’t break any of the bonds that maintain these molecules together, some things do happen. You will encounter some anomalous behavior, and that’s one of the traits that make water different when compared to any other liquid out there.

READ  How Do You Know If A Magnet Is Neodymium?
Water Drops

Is it normal for a water molecule to behave like a magnet?

Water is polar in nature, and because of that the oxygen atom will attract protons. Oxygen atoms are partially negative when it comes to their charge. Because of that, atoms with positive charge like protons will be attracted to oxygen. Hydrogen itself has a partial positive charge, so it attracts the oxygen found in water molecule or any negative atom.

When you bring the opposite poles of a magnet close to another magnets, they attract each other. That’s exactly what you get in the case of water molecules, the atomic charge will attract other atoms, and hence you get that magnetic effect. Even if the strength is nowhere nearly as powerful as a magnet, it’s still in that vein, hence this very common comparison.

Another aspect to think about here is that water molecules are also able to form clusters. Because of that, they are used in the role of a solvent for multiple reactions. In case the water molecule structure is linear, then the dipole moment is 0. However, water molecules have some dipole moment, due to the bent structure. In the end, it’s safe to say that due to its nature and composition, water does feature some magnetism. Yet it’s just between its molecules.

With that in mind, it’s still a wonderful phenomenon to see the water molecules being attracted to each other just like magnets would. It’s a one of a kind thing that you rarely get to see anywhere else, and that’s the thing that makes water molecules incredibly unique and distinctive.

READ  How Far Do Magnets Reach?


Water molecules are incredible, and they clearly show just how powerful the oxygen and hydrogen combination really is. In fact, whenever water freezes, the electrostatic properties are developing a lattice structure. This is the reason why you have water less dense in its solid state. That’s why ice floats when you put it on water. There are still many things to discover as researchers study water and work with water molecules. But one thing is certain, there are still a lot of things we need to learn about water, and we are amazed every time by its extraordinary properties!

Recent Posts