Thermal Expansion of Water

This is a short experiment to demonstrate the concept of thermal expansion of water when heated, as an analogy to thermal expansion of oceans due to global warming.

Go To:

UCAR Science Education Group
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Experiment fits well in a learning sequence on sea level rise and climate change.

Activity can easily be done without a bunsen burner. It works well if the flask is put in sunlight (which is a much more realistic set-up and better comparison to what is happening in the real world). It takes less than a 45-min class period for the water level to rise significantly.

Grade Level: