Ice floats in its liquid state, water, because it is less dense, and I know fat also floats in water BUT will a piece of fat dropped into a pot of melted fat also float? or will it sink and what is it about its molecular structure that allows this?

I've searched google for about three hours and all I can find are articles on fat floating in water, so any help is greatly appreciated!

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    $\begingroup$ Most likely no. Typically solid is more dense than the corresponding liquid. Water is very unusual in this respect. $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2015 at 7:00
  • $\begingroup$ Water is not as unusual as you might think. There are at least four elements that behave similarly, and an untold number of alloys, polymers, ... that do as well. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Dec 2, 2015 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I never said it is unique. $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2015 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ @IvanNeretin - that is true. There is a pretty strong meme (seems to start pretty early in school) that water is unique. However, I would not go even so far as to say 'very unusual' - it is just the most commonly encountered example. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Dec 2, 2015 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ so the fat would sink? what about when gravey or or juices from cooking meat cool down and there is a layer of fat at the top? or is that just something completely different? $\endgroup$
    – cev
    Dec 2, 2015 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


I thought this question was a good idea for a home experiment to do with my 8th grade son.

Into a block of dry ice, we carved a conical mold hole with the pointed end of scissors and poured canola oil into the hole:

enter image description here

We covered this with a second block of dry ice for about a minute and extracted the frozen oil with forceps:

enter image description here

Then we dropped the frozen oil into a jar of liquid canola oil:

enter image description here

And it sank.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Nice experiment!! $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Dec 20, 2015 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ My chemistry teacher in year ten just made oil cubes (think ice cubes) from sunflower oil and showed us the same thing. But yes, nice experiment ^^ $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Dec 20, 2015 at 16:03

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