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Q & A: Density of water near the freezing point

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Most recent answer: 08/14/2013
Q:
Hi, I had a bottle filled with water that was submerged in ice but taken out before any ice formed inside the bottle. I then placed the bottle in a bowl filled with warm water. How come the water level decreases slightly but only for a second and then rises again?
- Andrea (age 21)
Toronto
A:

It turns out that near 0°C, water contracts as it warms up. Above about 4°C it expands as it warms up. So what you saw makes complete sense.

Here's a picture, from :

A graph of density of freshwater in grams per cubic centimeter versus temperature in degrees Celsius. The line is convex up. At zero degrees C, the density is just under zero point nine nine nine five grams per cubic centimeter. The density then increases at a decreasing rate until it hits a peak of about zero point nine nine nine nine seven grams per cubic centimeter at about four degrees C. Above four degrees C, the density decreases with increasing temperature.

Notice that's the density, inversely propotional to the volume.

Mike W.


(published on 08/14/2013)

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