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When anything is cooled the molecules shake less violently. They contract, right? And when the sea is warmed it expands, right?
So why is it that when you put a bottle of water in the freezer, there is less room in the bottle? As though the water has expanded?
- Seb (age 16)
It does expand when it freezes. It happens that water molecules can settle into a low-energy (cold) solid state in a particular arrangement thatís expanded a little compared to the liquid jumble. Thatís unusual for liquids, but happens for a few. Thereís no law of nature that says that the low-energy states are always more compact.
Thereís a trace of this behavior even noticeable in the liquid state, which quits contracting and starts to expand when cooled below 4įC.
(published on 04/19/07)
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