Water for life
Water for life

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Water for life

1 The power of water

The ways in which human activities interact with the water cycle can have devastating consequences for all forms of life. These range from the very large scale - for example, the effects of the movement of large volumes of water in a tsunami - to the molecular scale and the ability of water to dissolve solids, such as agricultural fertilisers (Figure 1).

Figure 1
Figure 1 (a) A tsunami wave; (b) a bag of agricultural fertiliser; (c) white crystals of the fertiliser sodium nitrate dissolving in a beaker of water. The image in (b) is a still taken from the video sequence Elements and Compounds which you will watch in Activity 1. It shows a bag of Chilean nitrate of soda which is sodium nitrate

Much of this course is devoted to exploring the smallest water particle - a water molecule - what it is and how it gives rise to the particular properties of water. You will be introduced to the use of powers of ten and scientific notation, which give a convenient way of expressing both very large and very small numbers. There is a video sequence to watch during your study of this course.

S154_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371