# Liquids Generally have Lower Density as Compared to Solids. But Ice Floats on Water. Explain Why?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 13th, 2023

Liquids generally have lower density as compared to solids, but ice floats on water. This phenomenon of ice floating on water can be explained by the unique behavior of water molecules and the properties of its solid form. The key factor that causes ice to float on water is the density difference between liquid water and ice. Density is defined as the mass of a substance per unit volume.

As the temperature decreases beyond this point, water becomes less dense until it reaches its lowest density at the freezing point. This lower density of ice compared to liquid water is the reason why ice floats on water.

## Why does Ice Float on Water?

As we know, liquids generally have lower density as compared to solids but ice floats on water. Let us understand why this happens. When water freezes, its molecules arrange themselves in a way that creates an open framework held together by hydrogen bonds. This arrangement causes ice to take up more space, making it less dense than the surrounding liquid water. As a result, the lighter ice floats on top of the denser water.

Furthermore, the lower density of ice compared to liquid water is essential for the preservation of aquatic ecosystems during freezing temperatures. Now, let us split this problem into different parts and dive deeper to understand the phenomenon of ice floating on water.

### Density

• Density is a measure of how much mass is packed into a given volume of a substance, indicating its weight for a specific amount or volume.
• Density is an intrinsic property of a substance, meaning it remains constant regardless of the amount or volume considered.

### Liquids have a Lower Density than Solids

• Gases have lower density compared to liquids because the molecules in gases are more spread out, resulting in less packing.
• In contrast, liquids have a higher density as their molecules are relatively closer together.
• Similarly, solids have an even higher density than liquids because the molecules in solids are tightly packed.

### Explaining Why Ice Floats on Water

• In general, substances with lower density tend to float on those with higher density. However, an exception to this rule is observed in the case of water.
• Ice floats in its liquid form despite having a higher density. This is because when water freezes and transforms into ice, empty spaces or voids are formed within its structure.
• Ice, despite being a solid, has a greater amount of space between its molecules compared to water molecules.
• As a result, the volume of ice is larger than that of water, leading to a lower density of ice. This is the reason why ice tends to float on water, as water has a higher density than ice.

Summary:

## Liquids Generally have Lower Density as Compared to Solids. But Ice Floats on Water. Explain Why?

Liquids generally have lower density as compared to solids but ice floats on water because of its unique crystalline structure and the formation of empty spaces during the freezing results in a lower density compared to liquid water. This lower density of ice allows it to be less dense than the surrounding liquid water, causing it to float. Lastly, this ability of ice to float on water is helpful in preserving aquatic ecosystems during freezing temperatures.

Related Questions:

POPULAR EXAMS
SSC and Bank
Other Exams
GradeStack Learning Pvt. Ltd.Windsor IT Park, Tower - A, 2nd Floor, Sector 125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201303 help@byjusexamprep.com