You can read everywhere about water's extraordinary property of expanding when frozen, thus the reason ice floats on liquid water.

What other substances do this? There are claims of mercury, silica, germanium, bismuth, and antimony, but I've had trouble tracking down the data to back these up.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking about specifically elemental substances (all the examples you give except water are elements)? Or any possible compound (in which case giving a list might be a bit broad, could be better to look into why water expands when frozen, then figure out what categories/groups of compounds behave similarly). $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Oman
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ Looking to find any possible substance--element or compound. If the list is too great, that in itself would be valuable to know. $\endgroup$
    – Doug Peltz
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ IIRC either liquid 3He or liquid 4He has some similar behavior. $\endgroup$
    – user4552
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 21:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This post (v2) seems like a list question. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 15:57
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Density of Solid States of Compounds $\endgroup$
    – Floris
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 16:33

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia quotes

Other substances that expand on freezing are silicon, gallium, germanium, antimony, bismuth, plutonium and also chemical compounds that form spacious crystal lattices with tetrahedral coordination.

EDIT:The same paragraph says silicon dioxide also exhibits this property.

  • $\begingroup$ Type metal as used by printers is an alloy is antimony, lead and tin has the characteristic of expanding on freezing thus producing sharper type. $\endgroup$
    – Farcher
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ Antimony is not exhibiting such qualities! Uahahahaaha! Wikipedia!!! $\endgroup$
    – Jinxed
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 22:36

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