Does the Density Affect the Rate That a Liquid Freezes At?

By Michael Stratford
Would ice cubes made of glycerin freeze faster or slower?

Liquids have differing densities. Vegetable oil is more dense than salt water, for example. There are already established freezing times for certain liquids, but if you experiment with liquid densities, you may be surprised by the resulting freezing rates.



Density Measurements

One experiment is to determine a liquid's density, and then freeze it with several other liquids. The measurement of a liquid's density is determined by dividing the liquid's mass by its volume. Assume a density of 1.00 for water; vegetable oil has a density of .92, glycerin is 1.26 and so on. Determine the density of as many liquids as you want to test.

Freezing Differences

Now freeze several liquids at once. Notice that their freeze rates vary greatly. The differences in freezing rates do not always lie in the densities of the liquids, but in their chemical makeup. If they are pure, their freeze rate is constant. If they are solvents or mixed solutions, their freeze rate will vary. You can conclude that a liquid's density may affect its freezing rate, but its chemical composition is a more reliable determinant.

About the Author

Michael Stratford is a National Board-certified and Single Subject Credentialed teacher with a Master of Science in educational rehabilitation (University of Montana, 1995). He has taught English at the 6-12 level for more than 20 years. He has written extensively in literary criticism, student writing syllabi and numerous classroom educational paradigms.