You are here:

# Physics/Natural frequency of the water molecule

Question
Water has many fascinating properties, some well know and others less so. One of the properties of water is its molecular natural frequency. This seems though to be a not so well know property of water. What is the natural frequency of the water molecule?
Also, does the three states of water have an influence on the molecular natural frequency of the H2O molecule?

There's not just one "natural frequency" for water.  There's a whole spectrum of them.  Rather than re-invent the wheel, I searched for a reference and this one seems to have the basics down:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_absorption_by_water
If you're talking about resonant macroscopic sound frequencies, those are much too low.  You may have seen widely discredited work on the internet to the contrary, but there's a reason that research is not considered credible by real scientists.  To convert wavelength to frequency for light, just divide the speed of light (3*10^8 m/s) by the wavelengths mentioned in meters.  For sound, you'd have to find the speed of sound for the particular (solid, liquid, vapor) type of water you're talking about.  There are many rotational and vibrational processes in water, and they're different depending on the form of the water (solid, liquid, vapor).  Those differences, to answer your question (see the first graph on that reference page, the caption explains) about the state of the water having an effect on its resonant absorption frequencies.  The forces between the molecules are different for the different states, so intermolecular forces are responsible for the differences in the graphs, of course.

Physics

Volunteer

#### Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

##### Expertise

I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

##### Experience

I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Education/Credentials
Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.