These graphics show the regular arrangement of water molecules in ice.
The configuration is maintained by hydrogen bonds between hydrogen and oxygen atoms on neighbouring water molecules. Show
In ice the maximum number of 4 hydrogen bonds per water molecule is reached.
This locks the water molecules into "sheets" with a hexagonal structure
and spaces them out so that ice has a lower density than water, and ice floats on water, giving an insulating layer which enables life to exist in water beneath.
The first view shows 28 water molecules
in ice - forming 2 layers. The hexagonal motif repeats
when seen side on
The arrangement of water molecules is more obvious in this larger model
, showing 432 H20 molecules
H bonds on
When rotated, this structure
reveals its regularity, turned through
/ 120 °
about the y axis, and back again
about the y axis shows the layers from the edge.
Rotation about the x axis shows repeats at 90 ° intervals:
/ 180 °