Jump to content

Why icebergs do not sink?


Recommended Posts

17 minutes ago, RomanRodinskiy said:

Can you please help me to explain from the most scientific point of view (it would be great if there were formulas) why icebergs do not sink? I would be very grateful. 

The density of ice is lower than that of liquid water at the same temperature. Unlike most materials, ice expands upon freezing. Objects that are lower in density than the liquid in which they are immersed will tend to float in it.

The reason it expands on freezing is because the molecules in the solid take up orientations that maximise the strength of hydrogen bonds between the molecules. This leads to a more "open" structure than in the liquid.  

The physics that governs whether and how an object floats is to do with the relative magnitude of the object's weight and the buoyancy force it experiences from the liquid. This is set out in what is known as Archimedes' Principle. There are details here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archimedes'_principle


Edited by exchemist
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, swansont said:

And ocean (salt water) density is 1.02 - 1.03

And even that varies from ocean to ocean, hence all the markings on the Plimsoll Line on a ship's hull, showing the different limits to which it can be safely loaded:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.