Why does Ice Float on Water

Water is considered to be a Universal Solvent, and can dissolve a lot of minerals, liquids, substances and even metals. This is one property of water that separates it from other liquids and sunbstances. Water can dissovle tang powder, and other protein powders to create a drink and quench your thirst as well. Being a universal solvent means water does have density and that is why many things that fall inside the water sink right to the bottom.

But why doesn’t ice fall inside the water? Most science students know that density of a substance is the deciding factor whether something will float or sink right down.

Density is mass per unit volume of the substance. Density= Mass/Volume; density is an important measure for astronauts and chemists. They can figure out the density of air outside the earth and chemists use density to identify more elements and fit them into patterns to fit in the periodic table.

Density of objects remains the same. You might be wondering that why won’t glaciers have m more density because of being huge? The answer is no. Glaciers don’t have higher density, because one point that many of us miss is that the weight of the water is actually more than the weight of the glacier.

Now that you understand the term “Density”, let’s get to why ice floats on water. Glaciers are one of the prime examples of ice floating on water. Glaciers look huge but don’t weigh nearly as much as the water they are in weighs. One litre of purified water weighs about 1 Kilogram, but ice weighs much less.

One of the most basic concepts of chemistry about ice is that the molecules are condensed in a solid. Ice is a solid form of water, which means the molecules are tightened together making it weigh less due to the contraction of molecules.

This principle about ice suggests that ice should weigh less than liquid form of water and it holds true. The glaciers do weigh less than the water. You can well imagine carrying a jug of water, and a tray of ice cubes. Ice cube tray hardly weighs anything, but still has a lot of water packed inside the ice cubes, which you can see flowing as ice melts at room temperature.

According to the solid and liquid molecule theory, ice with same amount of water will weigh less than water in the liquid form, with gas weighing the least. According to this ice will float on water because the water has higher density.

The answer is short yet complicated to get the reasoning for. Ice floats on water because of having lesser density than that of water.

The same holds true for ice floating on soft drinks or in a glass. The ice cube weighs a lot less than the weight of the glass with soft drink or water in it. You will see ice floating on juices, mineral water and other liquids because they contain water in them.

Wood is another item that floats on water. A block of wood will float on water just like ice. Experiment by getting a block of wood and throwing it in glass of water. This again happens because wood has less density.

There is another reason why ice would float on water. As ice melts, the water coming out of the ice will be part of the weight of the water that the ice is in. The water from melted ice will make the weight of water in the glass even higher. Which means that ice will have lesser density, because of which you will see smaller ice cubes float higher on the surface, than larger ones.

Huge chunks of ice will push through the water and touch the bottom of the glass of water. But again as ice melts, it will start floating on the surface. Hopefully by now you have understood the concept of density and why ice floats on water because of it.

The key word is density and it is one of the only reasons why ice floats on water. Density determines how dense an object is and therefore how it will react with objects of similar density.