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Why do so many liquids like sprite, water, OJ, Apple Juice getter bigger when I freeze them?
- Jessica (age 10)
Cambridge Academy, Pembroke Pines, FL
All of these liquids are basically just water with various different things (like sugar, vitamins, etc.) dissolved in them. Unlike most liquids, water gets bigger when it freezes. This is really just a coincidence - it has to do with the shape of water molecules and how they stick together when they freeze. In ice, the molecules are arranged in a way that happens to take up more space than when they are in a liquid.
For most liquids other than water, the solid form does not take up more space. You can try this at home with something like cooking oil which doesn’t contain any water - the oil will take up less space when it freezes.
(republished on 07/25/06)
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