Does water expand when it freezes?
May 13, 2012 10:34am CST
I'm having trouble grasping the concept of water expanding when it freezes. If the water molecules are packing tighter and tighter to create a solid how does the ice take up more space. I need someone to give me a dumbed down answer that I can wrap my head around.
• Cambridge, England
13 May 12
When water freezes, it becomes crystalline and the crystal matrix takes up more space than the unaligned free water molecules. There's a good illustrated explanation here: http://www.iapws.org/faq1/freeze.htm Actually, water is at its densest at 4°C. As it cools beyond that, it expands until it freezes.
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