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Water and mercury volume change with temperature

  • #1
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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.


Are these answers correct?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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"Frozen" means "liquid went solid". Compare the volume a given mass of liquid water occupies with that of solid water. Ditto for mercury.
 
  • #3
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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?

:confused:
 
  • #4
haruspex
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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.
 

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