Why Do Freezing Pipes Burst?

By Joseph Castro, LiveScience Contributor | February 14, 2014 04:17pm ET View full size image Bursting water pipes are a major concern when winter temperatures drop below freezing. But why do frozen pipes burst? Perhaps surprisingly, freezing pipes don't burst because of ice expanding in place. Instead, it has to do with pressure inside the pipes. When water freezes, its molecules crystalize into an open hexagonal form, which takes up more space than when the molecules are in their liquid form that is, the water molecules expand as they freeze. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.livescience.com/43408-why-do-freezing-pipes-burst.html