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Like a Bridge Over Electric Waters

Like a Bridge Over Electric Waters

A wonderful demonstration of the conducting powers of water. 

Originally shared by David Amerland

The Miracle of Water

We are between 50%-65% water and 72% of the planet is covered by it, yet we have little knowledge of the structural properties of the liquid. In an eye opening experiment scientists at the Graz university in Austria, electrified two beakers full of water using high voltage currents.

Water is an excellent conductor of electricity and the hydrogen bonds within it allow something remarkable to happen, as the researchers explain: “The interaction of water with electric fields has been intensely explored over the last years. We report another unusual effect of liquid water exposed to a dc electric field: the floating water bridge.”

When exposed to a high-voltage electric field, water in two beakers climbs out of the beakers and crosses empty space to meet, forming the water bridge. The liquid bridge, hovering in space, appears to the human eye to defy gravity. Upon investigating the phenomenon, the scientists found that water was being transported from one beaker to another, usually from the anode beaker to the cathode beaker. The bridge holds stable as the beakers are pulled apart as far as 25mm one from the other. 

Even more amazing is what happens in the structure of the water bridge itself: “The bridge forms due to electrostatic charges on the surface of the water. The electric field then concentrates inside the water, arranging the water molecules to form a highly ordered microstructure. This microstructure remains stable, keeping the bridge intact.”

The essence of this is that a fundamental force, electricity, is used to manipulate and, in a way, shape a plentiful substance, water top create a microstructure. 


Have a great Tuesday 🙂 



Join the Conversation


  1. “we have little knowledge of the structural properties of the liquid”?

    I disagree.

    The conductivity of water is also dependant on temperature and mineral content. It’s not the water itself that’s “an excellent conductor of electricity” It’s the minerals dissolved in it. Pure water is a very poor conductor.


  2. To all who commented on the role of ions and electrolytes in conducting electricity: this study used pure water. The floating water bridge is generated by the application of high voltage. Yes, indeed the paper acknowledges that “Without a doubt, water is one of the most com­mon and most studied substances in the world. The properties of water at mesoscopic scale have drawn special attention lately due to their suggested importance to human physiology”.

    Here is the link to the original paper:



  3. Totally agree with what Lennox Tutoring is saying. 10th grade chemistry is standard at best. If 10th grade chemistry taught everything there was to know about chemistry/physics/materials science then there would be absolutely no use for Phd’s or research of any kind because teenagers would be correct in their assumption of knowing every damn thing.


  4. Sorry, British sarcasm. I was saying that 10th grade chemistry is standard at best. If all we had to learn was what our 10th grade chemistry teacher told us we would still believe there was only 3 states of matter, glass was a solid and  Van De waals was some kind of ram raiding crime.


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