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Crack open a stone with the power of ice crystals

Suitable For

Grade 4



Time Required

 <2 Days



What’s it about?

Can you believe that even the tiniest trickle of water, when it freezes, can split open a large boulder and even cause large mountains to break apart? In this science experiment, make a ‘stone’ from a ‘Papier-mâché’ balloon filled with water to test the power of frozen water:

Topics covered

Papier-mâché, Freezing point, Ice

What will I need?


Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

This science experiment works because solid water or ‘ice’ takes up about 1/9th more space that liquid water. Most other materials set out when heated but water takes up more space when cooled down or frozen and eventually forms ice crystals. As the water is gradually cooled down to freezing point, the water contained in the balloon sets out and cracks the ‘stone’ or Papier-mâché crust around it. This is also the reason why the water pipes in some houses ‘burst’ in winter. The water inside the pipes expands as it freezes and forces the joints apart causing the pipes to split.

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