Does ice float on water? Why is that?

Expert Answers
besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ice does float on water and this is due to the fact that ice is less dense than liquid water. When liquid water freezes, it takes up about nine percent more space than liquid water does. In other words, if we have a one liter container of ice and a one liter container of liquid water, the liquid water would weigh more than the ice. Since the ice weighs less than liquid water does, it floats. This is all related to hydrogen bonding. When water freezes, the ice has a diamond structure because of the hydrogen bonding. Liquid water molecules are not arranged in such an orderly fashion. Instead, the water molecules are tightly squeezed together.

giorgiana1976 | Student

Yes, ice floats on the liquid water because the solid form of water has a lower density than liquid water.

Why? It's simple! Because the geometry of the hydrogen bridges, which are forming only at lower temperatures.

For almost all substances and all other 11 unusual  forms of water,except ice-XI, the solid state is denser than the liquid one. Fresh water is most dense at 4 ° C, and it will sink by convection as it will cool to that temperature and if it's cooled further, it will rise.

Because of this property, depth water will be warmer than  surface ice water. According to this, the ice will be formed from the surface and it will extend down and most of the water underneath will remain constant at 4 ° C. The survival of animal species is due to the fact that the bottom of a lake, sea or ocean is virtually isolated from the cold.

Almost all other chemicals are denser in solid state and they are freezing from bottom to top.

madscientistmom | Student

How weird is it that ice floats!  You are right that the liquid version of most substances is less dense than the solid substance.  But water is different because its POLAR!  When you look at water molecule H-O-H, its bent and each end has either a negative or positive partial charge.  This allows liquid molecules to cozy up closer to each other.  When ice freezes it the molecules of solid water are farther apart than in liquid water and is less dense -- so ice floats!

sandali | Student

Ice is little different from other solids, which are most probably denser than liquids. Anyway, ice is less denser than water (it's liquid).

you may be already knowing the equation :

density= mass/volume.


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