# Water and mercury volume change with temperature

• spaghetti3451
In summary, frozen water pipes burst because water has its minimum volume at 4°C and when the temperature drops below this, the volume increases continuously. On the other hand, a mercury thermometer would not break if the temperature went below the freezing temperature of mercury because liquid mercury has a larger volume than solid mercury.
spaghetti3451

## Homework Statement

Why do frozen water pipes burst? Would a mercury thermometer break if the temperature went below the freezing temperature of mercury? Why or why not?

## Homework Equations

Relation of volume to temperature

## The Attempt at a Solution

Water has its minimum volume at 4°C. Therefore, when the temperature drops below 4°C, the volume of the water increases continuously. Therefore, frozen water pipes burst.

Mercury contracts when cooled, so a mercury thermometer would not break if the temperature went below the freezing temperature of mercury.

"Frozen" means "liquid went solid". Compare the volume a given mass of liquid water occupies with that of solid water. Ditto for mercury.

But, I did! Did I not?

Liquid water has a smaller volume than solid ice. Therefore, frozen water pipes must burst, right?

On the contrary, liquid mercury has a larger volume than solid mercury. Therefore, a mercury in tube thermometer should not break, right?

failexam said:
liquid mercury has a larger volume than solid mercury.
That crucial fact was not as clear as it might have been in your original post. Just add that and it looks fine.

Yes, these answers are correct. Water has a unique property where it expands when it freezes, which is why frozen water pipes can burst. This is due to the formation of ice crystals, which take up more space than liquid water. However, mercury does not exhibit this property and contracts as it cools, so a mercury thermometer would not break if the temperature went below its freezing point.

## What is the relationship between water and mercury volume change with temperature?

The volume of both water and mercury changes with temperature due to thermal expansion. This means that as the temperature increases, the volume of both substances also increases. However, the rate at which this expansion occurs differs between water and mercury.

## Why does water expand more than mercury with an increase in temperature?

Water has a higher coefficient of thermal expansion compared to mercury, meaning it expands more for every degree increase in temperature. This is due to the hydrogen bonds present in water molecules, which allow for more space between molecules as temperature increases.

## At what temperature do water and mercury have equal volumes?

Water and mercury have equal volumes at 4 degrees Celsius, also known as the temperature of maximum density for water. This is due to the unique arrangement of water molecules at this temperature, which allows for maximum packing and density.

## What happens to the volume of mercury when it reaches its boiling point?

When mercury reaches its boiling point of 357 degrees Celsius, it transitions from a liquid to a gas and expands significantly. This is due to the increase in kinetic energy of the molecules, causing them to move further apart and increase in volume.

## How does the volume change of water and mercury with temperature affect everyday life?

The volume change of water and mercury with temperature is important in everyday life, especially in industries such as food and beverage production, where precise measurements are necessary. It also affects the accuracy of thermometers and other temperature measuring devices, which rely on the expansion of liquids to indicate temperature changes.

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