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jump to last post 1-4 of 4 discussions (8 posts)

Given that heat causes things to expand, and cold causes things to contract, why

  1. DzyMsLizzy profile image96
    DzyMsLizzyposted 6 years ago

    Given that heat causes things to expand, and cold causes things to contract, why is it that...

    when water freezes, it expands and will break a container that has not had expansion room left inside, and the ice cubes "mound up" in the trays?

  2. pedagog profile image81
    pedagogposted 6 years ago

    every atom is in vibrating mode almost in every temperature, below absolute zero there is no vibration. as temperature rises atoms gain energy, its internal energy increases and simultaneously vibration also increases and its need more space. this is the reason why heat causes things to expand,
    but for water its inverse when concerning temperature around its melting point because when water solidifies atoms arrange them to make snow flakes which needs more space than liquid.

  3. TFScientist profile image88
    TFScientistposted 6 years ago

    The properties of water are vital for life. Most substances contract as they cool because the particles have less kinetic energy and vibrate less violently. Due to this, most substances get more dense as they move from gas to liquid to solid.

    Water is a special case because, unlike almost every other substance, it EXPANDS when it freezes (i.e. becomes less dense). This can crack containers which will not expand (indeed, they are trying to contract very slightly. Water expands because the water molecules arrange themselves in a crystalline structure that is less dense than water due to partial charges on different parts of the water molecule (think magnets)

    My More Tricky Science Questions ( … s-answered)  hub takes a look at 'Why does ice float' which is a continuation of this phenomenon. It also includes a video showing why ice expands.

    1. DzyMsLizzy profile image96
      DzyMsLizzyposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you!  Very well explained.  Related to this, way back in earth science class, I vaguely recall a phenomenon of something changing from solid to gas so rapidly it did not become liquid in between--I've forgotten the term that describes this...??

    2. TFScientist profile image88
      TFScientistposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Sublimation is the act of changing from a solid directly to a gas - Carbon Dioxide changes from solid to gas at room temperature and pressure. Iodine crystals sublime on gentle heating

    3. DzyMsLizzy profile image96
      DzyMsLizzyposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Ah, yes--thank you!  Something like that nagging at the back of your brain can drive you nuts! ;-)
      BTW--your link to your other article brings up 410 error msg: page does not exist..

    4. TFScientist profile image88
      TFScientistposted 5 years agoin reply to this
  4. cclitgirl profile image96
    cclitgirlposted 6 years ago

    I'll also add to TFScientist's comment: water believe it or not is a "polar" molecule.  It is one of a few substances that creates a crystal lattice structure when it is in a solid state.  It floats when frozen because of this lattice structure it creates - another amazing thing about the water molecule.  Because ice floats, it has affected all life on the planet: a pond freezing leaves room for fish to swim below, icebergs to float and glaciers to hold so much water.  It's good stuff!  smile

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