Why oils and plastics are lighter than water although they have larger molecules

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  1. pedagog profile image81
    pedagogposted 6 years ago

    Why oils and plastics are lighter than water although they have larger molecules?

    according to the theory in liquids molecules are far apart than in solids than why solid plastic floats on water?


  2. junkseller profile image84
    junksellerposted 6 years ago

    The distinction between solid and liquid is molecular mobility, not distance apart. In a liquid, molecules are still in close proximity, they just don't tend to have fixed relationships. Whether something floats or not is based upon density, which is a mass per unit volume. Some substances form solid structures that have a lot of space between molecules. Ice for instance, which also floats on water.

    Imagine a pile of wood. The pieces aren't tied to each other and could move independently like a liquid. Now take those pieces of wood and build a series of connected trusses. Now the pieces are fixed to one another, as a solid, but because of the particular structural arrangement take up more volume than they did before. That's like what water does as it freezes.

    I don't know much about plastic, but can only imagine that it also forms a structural arrangement with lots of space in it (like trusses). Also, some plastics are more dense than water and do sink.

  3. ackman1465 profile image61
    ackman1465posted 6 years ago

    For the same reason that ICE floats on water.  In the solid, the DENSITY of the material is lesser than the density of the same "amount" (consider "weight") of the liquid......

    1. pedagog profile image81
      pedagogposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      why its density is low although they have large molecules?

    2. ackman1465 profile image61
      ackman1465posted 6 years agoin reply to this

      In the case of water-vs-ice..... ice ("solid" water) has a lattice (squared) structure.... whilest liquid water has a random structure....   Consider the difference between sugar CUBES and free sugar..... Can you see that?


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