Why does ice float?
But just Why does ice float?
Here’s an experiment for you. It’s hot, it’s summer, so go take a glass of water. The water should be cold, so take a few ice cubes and put them in the glass. Once you’ve done that, pay close attention and notice the obvious: the ice is floating. Ice is solid, right? So technically, it should sink in the water. So, why does it float instead of sinking? Well, the answer to that is quite simple.
As unbelievable as it may seem, ice is less dense compared to water – by 9%, to be more precise. The maximum density of water is reached when the water is at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. That being said, as the water freezes, more hydrogen bonds tend to form in the water – causing the ice to become less dense.
A single molecule of water has two hydrogen atoms bonded to one oxygen atom. This should be quite obvious from the H2O formula. Weaker hydrogen bonds make the water molecules draw closer to each other. This will result in oxygen that was negatively charged and hydrogen that was positively charged.
When the water gets extremely cold, the weaker hydrogen bonds will try to keep the oxygen atoms away from each other. At that point, we will see the beginning of that crystal structure we call ice. These structures take about 9% more space compared to regular water, which means that their density also changed.
If you get one gallon of water and one gallon of ice, weirdly enough, the water will weigh more than the ice. This is why, if you throw that gallon of ice in the water, it will start to float. Thanks to this nature trick, fish are still able to survive in lakes after frozen water begins to form and crack.