Physics Van 3-site Navigational Menu

Physics Van Navigational Menu

Q & A: ice is bigger

Learn more physics!

Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Does water expand when it is frozen?
- tanya bock (age 27)
saskatoon, sask. canada
A:
Tanya- It does. You can see that a few ways. Ice cubes float, which means that like other things that float they are less dense than water. In other words they have less mass per volume, or more volume per mass. You may have also noticed that water in cans or bottle can break the bottle or stretch out the can if you accidentally leave them in the freezer.

It's more typical for liquids to shrink when they freeeze.

Water that's very close to the freezing temperature (below about 4 deg Celsius) also expands when it's cooled- the opposite of most materials.


Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

Follow-up on this answer.