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Project Watershed Central New York

Dedicated to facilitating water resource education in Central New York


Ice is the solid form of water. The phase transition occurs when liquid water is cooled below 0 °C (273.15 K, 32 °F) at standard atmospheric pressure. Ice can be formed at higher temperatures in pressurized environments, and water will remain a liquid or gas until -30 °C at lower pressures. Ice formed at high pressure has a different crystal structure and density than ordinary ice.

Ice, water, and water vapour can coexist at the triple point, which for this system is 273.16 K at a pressure of 611.73 Pa.

An unusual feature of ice frozen at a pressure of one atmosphere is that the solid is some 8% less dense than liquid water. Ice has a density of 0.917 g/cm³ at 0 °C, whereas water has a density of 0.9998 g/cm³ at the same temperature. Liquid water is most dense, essentially 1.00 g/cm³, at 4 °C and becomes less dense as the water molecules begin to form the hexagonal crystals of ice as the temperature drops to 0 °C. (In fact, the word "crystal" derives from the Greek word for frost.) This is due to hydrogen bonds forming between the water molecules, which line up molecules less efficiently (in terms of volume) when water is frozen. The result of this is that ice floats on liquid water, an important factor in Earth's climate.

As a crystalline solid, ice is considered a mineral.

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