Do Some Liquids Expand More than Others When Frozen?

based on 151 ratings
Author: Shelly Smith

Grade Level: Kindergarten to 2nd; Type: Physical science


In this experiment we observe the expansion of liquids when frozen (changed into a solid) and determine if some liquids expand more than others when frozen.

Research Questions:

Do liquids expand when frozen (when they become a solid)? Do different liquids expand different amounts?


  • Six tall, narrow, clear plastic containers of the same size and shape (approximately 2 cups each)
  • Three cups tap water
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • One cup milk
  • One cup juice
  • One cup vinegar
  • Black Sharpie
  • Red Sharpie
  • Freezer

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Gradually stir as much salt into one cup of water as will dissolve.
  2. Gradually stir as much sugar into one cup of water as will dissolve.
  3. Pour one cup of each of the six liquids (water, salt water, sugar water, milk, juice, vinegar) into each container.
  4. Fine tune the amount of liquid in each container so that all the containers are filled to the same level.
  5. With the black sharpie, mark on the container the name and level of its contents.
  6. Put all containers in the freezer.
  7. When frozen, remove the containers from the freezer and, with the red sharpie, mark the level of their frozen contents. Did any of the liquids expand when frozen? Did some of the liquids expand more than others?

Terms/Concepts: liquid, solid, expansion

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