Artist Response to Water Pollution

Composite Paintings Water Water Pollution

Benjamin Franklin said “When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” 

Water and stardust are required for life. The body needs water to form, to live and to decay.

Every day humans increasingly contaminate water. We need clean and fresh water. 

Impurities are a motley crew. They can be quite difficult to remove and have far reaching consequences. Chemicals in the form of nitrates, phosphates, hormones, medicinal compounds, arsenic, heavy metals and microorganisms are found in our water, the universal solvent. 

Water Pollution, Melissa Muehleisen 2019, 8"x10"

It takes energy “E” to get clean water. 

Living in the United States, we seldom feel the pain of true water scarcity. It is often a seasonal phenomenon resulting in nothing more drastic than the banning of watering our lawns, but the problem is growing. Some deny the water crisis by misunderstanding the water in our polluted, but more importantly salinated oceans. There is indeed a huge volume of ocean water and right now desalination and purification of ocean water requires too much energy to meet demand.

During two different times in my engineering studies I had the opportunity to research water purification. The more I learned the more concerned I became. These paintings are a response to my concern about our water supply. 

Water Pollution, Melissa Muehleisen 2019, 8"x10" 

Considering the volume of the oceans “S.” There is so much energy there. This energy is in a different form than the energy we need to clean that same water. 

There is the energy in the force of the crash of the ocean onto the shores. We measure this force as F=ma force = mass times acceleration.

There is also energy within the mass: in the bonds and the secondary attractions. The strongest bonds in water are created by shared electrons between molecules. These bonds “=“ each have a unique energy. 

Water Pollution, Melissa Muehleisen 2019, 8"x10"

There is a secondary attraction with a characteristic energy as well. Hydrogen and Oxygen are very different molecules. Oxygen is an electron hog. “s-“ It is bigger and more powerful and wants the electron more so the sharing is uneven. This results in dynamic areas of partial charge in the molecule. These areas of partial charge form an attraction to the opposite partial charge area of nearby molecules. These secondary bonds have an associated energy. It is also this beautiful dynamic attraction that makes water behave the way it does. 

Water acts most like water when surrounded by water.

The balance is uneven, the oceans know this.

Water Pollution, Melissa Muehleisen 2019, 8"x10"

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