Things That Float

Welcome to our list of things that float! 🎈🪂˚ ༘ ೀ⋆。˚

Floatiness describes the ability or sensation of being buoyant and light, often associated with objects or materials that can effortlessly stay afloat on water or drift through the air. In textiles, floatiness is often used to describe fabrics that are airy, light, and drape gracefully, such as chiffon or silk. In a broader sense, floatiness can also refer to a feeling of weightlessness or ease, often experienced in activities like swimming or when feeling particularly carefree and unburdened. This quality is valued in various designs, from fashion to engineering, for its aesthetic appeal and functional benefits.

Here’s a gallery of floaty things, followed by a categorised and informative list:

Food

The ability of food to float often depends on its density, composition, and sometimes the way it’s prepared. Foods that float are usually less dense than the liquid they are in or have air incorporated into them. Here’s a list of foods known for their ability to float, along with explanations for this characteristic:

  • Apples: Due to their air pockets and less dense structure, apples float in water.
  • Puffed Cereals: These cereals are processed in a way that incorporates air, making them light enough to float on milk.
  • Marshmallows: The air whipped into marshmallows makes them light and buoyant.
  • Popcorn: When popped, popcorn has air inside, reducing its density and allowing it to float.
  • Ice Cream: Most types of ice cream float in sodas and other liquids because of the air incorporated during the freezing process.
  • Meringues: Made by whipping egg whites with sugar, the air trapped in the mixture makes meringues float.
  • Oil Droplets: Most types of cooking oil are less dense than water, causing them to float.
  • Bread: Especially pieces of light, airy bread, they tend to float on the surface of soups or stews.
  • Croutons: These toasted bread pieces usually float in soups and salads due to their airy nature.
  • Whipped Cream: The air whipped into cream makes it less dense and capable of floating on drinks like hot chocolate or coffee.
  • Floating Island Dessert (Île Flottante): A French dessert consisting of meringue floating on crème anglaise.
  • Cheese Puffs: These snacks are puffed with air during processing, making them light enough to float.
  • Certain Fruits: Besides apples, fruits like pears and some varieties of grapes can float because of their air content and less dense structure.
  • Sponge Cake: Due to its airy, spongy texture, it can float on custard or other liquids.
  • Fried Foods (like Tempura): If cooked correctly, the batter traps air and can cause the food to float in oil.
  • Ravioli or Dumplings: When they’re cooked, these can float to the surface of boiling water as they become less dense.
  • Fat on Broths and Soups: Fat is less dense than water, so it tends to float on the surface of broths and soups.
  • Light Cookies (like some butter cookies): These can float in milk due to their air content and light structure.
  • Fruit Peels: The peel of some fruits, like citrus, can float because of air pockets between the peel and the flesh.
  • Lettuce and Other Leafy Greens: Their light and airy structure allows them to float in water.
  • Bubble Tea Toppings (like Boba): Some bubble tea toppings can float due to their composition or the air trapped inside.
  • Honeycomb: The air pockets within the honeycomb allow it to float on denser liquids.
  • Peas and Beans (when soaked): They can sometimes float in water due to air trapped inside.
  • Egg Whites: When beaten and cooked, they become light and airy, allowing them to float.
  • Pasta (when it starts to cook): Certain types of pasta may float when they start to cook and expand.
  • Coconut Oil: This oil solidifies at cooler temperatures and can float in warmer, denser liquids.
  • Light Pancakes: If made with a lot of leavening agent, they can become airy enough to float on syrup.
  • Styrofoam Packaging Peanuts (used in food packaging): They are extremely light and can float on water.
  • Fried Wantons or Samosas: The air trapped in the pastry during frying can make them buoyant in oil or soup.

Animals

Many animals have adapted to float as a means of survival, locomotion, or as part of their natural behavior. Here’s a list of animals known for their ability to float, along with explanations for this characteristic:

  • Ducks and Waterfowl: Their buoyant bodies, waterproof feathers, and air-filled bones allow them to float effortlessly on water.
  • Fish with Swim Bladders: Many fish species have a swim bladder, an internal gas-filled organ that helps them maintain buoyancy in water.
  • Jellyfish: Their gelatinous bodies are less dense than water, enabling them to float.
  • Sea Otters: They have air trapped in their fur, helping them to float, and they often float on their backs while resting or eating.
  • Beavers: Adapted for a semi-aquatic lifestyle, their bodies are buoyant, allowing them to float and swim with ease.
  • Manatees: These marine mammals have a large, buoyant body that enables them to float in water and graze on aquatic plants.
  • Turtles: Many aquatic turtle species have lighter shells and lung capacities that allow them to float and swim.
  • Seals and Sea Lions: Their blubber helps them stay buoyant in water.
  • Penguins: While they are heavier underwater, their air-filled bones and air pockets in their feathers aid in floating when they surface.
  • Pelicans and Other Seabirds: They have air sacs in their bones and bodies, aiding in buoyancy.
  • Hippos: They can float and move easily in water despite their massive size, thanks to their body density and lung capacity.
  • Cormorants: Birds that dive underwater but also float on the surface due to their buoyant bodies.
  • Frogs and Toads: Their lightweight and air-filled lungs help them float on water surfaces.
  • Capybaras: The world’s largest rodents are excellent swimmers and floaters, thanks to their webbed feet and buoyant bodies.
  • Snakes (like the Water Snake): Some snake species are adept at floating and swimming, using their body’s motion to stay afloat.
  • Coral: While not an animal in the traditional sense, corals are marine invertebrates that float in their larval stage before settling down.
  • Portuguese Man o’ War: This marine creature floats on the surface due to a gas-filled bladder.
  • Whales: They can control their buoyancy and often float near the water’s surface.
  • Alligators and Crocodiles: They can control their buoyancy through lung manipulation, allowing them to float or submerge.
  • Water Striders: These insects can float and walk on water due to the surface tension and special hairs on their feet.
  • Platypus: Being semi-aquatic, they are buoyant in water and are excellent swimmers.
  • Sea Turtles: They float when they come to the water’s surface to breathe.
  • Dolphins: Known for their swimming ability, they also float and are often seen playing at the water’s surface.
  • Walruses: Their blubber makes them buoyant, and they are often seen floating on the water’s surface.
  • Pufferfish: When threatened, pufferfish inflate with air or water, increasing their buoyancy.
  • Manta Rays: While they are heavier underwater, they can achieve buoyancy through their large, wing-like pectoral fins.
  • Krill: These small crustaceans can float in large swarms in the ocean.
  • Nautilus: An ancient marine mollusk that controls its buoyancy with an internal gas-filled chamber.
  • Clownfish: They often float in the water column, finding shelter among the tentacles of sea anemones.
  • Driftfish: Often found floating or swimming slowly around floating objects or sargassum weed.

Plants

Floating plants play unique roles in their ecosystems, often providing habitat and food for aquatic life. Their ability to float is typically due to specialized structures that allow them to stay buoyant. Here’s a comprehensive list of such plants:

  • Water Lilies: Have large, buoyant leaves and often beautiful flowers that float on the surface of still waters.
  • Duckweed: A small, free-floating plant that forms dense mats on the water surface.
  • Water Hyacinth: Known for its thick, waxy leaves that float and its ability to rapidly cover large areas of water.
  • Giant Water Lily: Famous for its huge, sturdy floating leaves, which can support significant weight.
  • Frogbit: Resembles miniature water lilies and floats on the surface of ponds and slow-moving waters.
  • Salvinia: A genus of small, floating ferns that form floating mats on water bodies.
  • Water Lettuce: Resembles an open head of lettuce and floats on the surface of tropical and subtropical waters.
  • Cattails: While rooted in the bottom, their reed-like structure often floats on or near the water surface.
  • Lotus: Though rooted in the bottom of ponds, its leaves and beautiful flowers can float on the water’s surface.
  • Azolla (Water Fern): A small fern that forms a floating carpet on the water surface, often used as a green fertilizer in rice paddies.
  • Sargassum: A type of brown algae notable for forming large floating masses in the Sargasso Sea.
  • Floating Moss: A small, free-floating plant often found in calm freshwater environments.
  • Watermeal: The smallest flowering plant in the world, these tiny plants float on calm water surfaces.
  • Ricciocarpus natans: A free-floating liverwort that is often found in ponds and ditches.
  • Water Poppy: Features heart-shaped floating leaves and yellow poppy-like flowers.
  • European Frog’s-bit: A floating perennial herb found in slow-moving waters.
  • Floating Heart: Known for its heart-shaped leaves and small, fringed yellow flowers that float on the water’s surface.
  • Hornwort: While it can root in the mud, it often floats freely in clusters.
  • Bladderworts: Aquatic carnivorous plants, some species have free-floating forms with small bladders to trap prey.
  • Amazon Frogbit: A popular aquarium plant that floats on the water surface with round green leaves.
  • Red Root Floater: Known for its floating leaves and red roots, it’s a favorite in aquariums.
  • Water Spangles: A free-floating fern that provides habitat for aquatic life.
  • Water Chestnut: Forms dense floating mats; its fruits are known as water chestnuts.
  • Bull Kelp: A type of large brown algae that floats near the surface of coastal waters.
  • Mare’s Tail: Can float in shallow water, with its foliage emerging above the surface.
  • Floating Pennywort: Known for its rapid growth and round floating leaves.
  • Water Purslane: A floating or submerged plant found in ponds and slow-moving waters.
  • Bogbean: Though it grows in boggy conditions, its leaves can float on the surface of water.
  • Fairy Moss: A small floating fern that turns reddish in the sun, often used in water gardens.
  • Floating Primrose-Willow: Features showy yellow flowers and floating stems.

Fabrics

Fabrics that float tend to be lightweight, airy, and often used for their elegant drape and ethereal appearance. Here’s a list of fabrics known for their ability to create a floating effect:

  • Chiffon: A light, sheer fabric made from silk or synthetic fibers, it has a delicate, floaty quality ideal for gowns and scarves.
  • Tulle: A lightweight, very fine netting, tulle is often used for veils, gowns, and ballet tutus, giving a floating appearance.
  • Organza: Made from silk, polyester, or nylon, it’s a thin, sheer fabric with a slight stiffness, allowing it to float away from the body.
  • Georgette: Similar to chiffon but slightly heavier, georgette offers a bouncy, floating drape.
  • Voile: A soft, sheer fabric, usually made of cotton or cotton blends, used in curtains and airy summer clothing.
  • Silk Gauze: A very light and fine fabric, silk gauze has a floaty quality, often used in delicate scarves and overlays.
  • Batiste: A lightweight, soft fabric made from cotton, linen, or polyester, known for its semi-sheer, floating nature.
  • Habotai: Often referred to as “China silk,” it’s a lightweight, shimmering material that drapes and floats well.
  • Mousseline: A fine, lightweight fabric, often of silk or cotton, with a crisp, floating feel.
  • Silk Crepe de Chine: A lightweight crepe fabric known for its smooth and slightly lustrous finish, providing a floating drape.
  • Nylon Netting: Used in bridal veils and gowns, it’s lightweight and has a floating quality.
  • Crinkle Cotton: This lightweight cotton fabric has a puckered texture, giving it a floaty feel, perfect for summer dresses.
  • Rayon Challis: Known for its fluid drape, this lightweight fabric made from rayon fibers floats gracefully.
  • Silk Charmeuse: A satin-weave silk fabric with a glossy front and matte back, offering a luxurious, floaty drape.
  • Lace: Depending on the type, some lightweight laces have a delicate floatiness, ideal for overlays and bridal wear.
  • Mesh Fabrics: Lightweight synthetic mesh fabrics can create a floating look in sportswear and fashion.
  • Cotton Lawn: A very fine, lightweight cotton fabric with a smooth texture, often used for blouses and dresses.
  • Jersey Tulle: A soft, lightweight knit fabric with a tulle-like appearance, offering a gentle floating effect.
  • Polyester Chiffon: A lightweight, durable alternative to silk chiffon, it also floats beautifully.
  • Gossamer: A very light, sheer fabric used for decorative purposes, known for its floaty appearance.
  • Lawn Cloth: Fine, high-thread-count textiles, typically made of cotton, known for their airy, floating quality.
  • Silk Georgette: A pure silk version of georgette, offering a beautiful and natural floaty drape.
  • Fine Lace Knit: Lightweight knitted lace fabrics that have a floating quality, often used in lingerie and evening wear.
  • Silk Organza: A more luxurious version of organza, it has a crisp texture and a light, floating quality.
  • Handkerchief Linen: A very lightweight linen fabric, it floats and drapes elegantly.
  • Marquisette: A lightweight, mesh-like fabric, often used in bridal wear for its floating appearance.
  • Balloon Silk: Ultra-lightweight silk that is often used in scarves and garments for its ability to float and flutter with movement.
  • Silk Habutai: Another type of lightweight silk, known for its shimmering appearance and floating drape.
  • Double Gauze: A breathable, lightweight fabric that combines two layers of gauze, creating a floaty feel.
  • Airy Knit Fabrics: Lightweight, open-weave knit fabrics that provide a floaty look and feel.

Solids

Solid substances that float are typically less dense than the liquid they are placed in, or they possess structural characteristics that allow them to stay buoyant. Here’s a comprehensive list of such substances:

  • Cork: Known for its buoyancy, cork is used in fishing floats and as stoppers for bottles due to its lightweight and porous structure.
  • Pumice Stone: A volcanic rock that is light enough to float on water because of its porous nature.
  • Ice: Solid water (ice) is less dense than liquid water, which is why ice cubes float in drinks and icebergs float in the ocean.
  • Balsa Wood: A very lightweight and low-density wood, often used for model building and rafts.
  • Styrofoam: This form of polystyrene foam is widely used in packaging and insulation due to its light weight and ability to float.
  • Expanded Polystyrene (EPS): Similar to Styrofoam, it’s used in floatation devices, coolers, and packaging materials.
  • Aerogels: Known as one of the lightest solid materials, they are made from a gel in which the liquid component has been replaced with gas.
  • Dry Wood: Most dry wood types float because their density is lower than that of water.
  • Plastic: Many lightweight plastics, especially those used in bottles and containers, are buoyant in water.
  • Rubber: Natural rubber and some synthetic rubbers can float due to their low density.
  • Sponges (Natural and Synthetic): Their porous structure allows them to absorb air and water, making them buoyant.
  • Coconut Husk: The fibrous husk of coconuts allows them to float on water, facilitating seed dispersal.
  • Hollow Balls (like Ping Pong Balls): Their hollow interior reduces overall density, allowing them to float.
  • Oil and Grease: Most types of oil are less dense than water and will float on the surface.
  • Wax: Paraffin wax and other types of waxes are less dense than water, enabling them to float.
  • Peat Moss: Often used in gardening, peat moss is light enough to float on water.
  • Bark Chips: Used as mulch, many types of bark can float on water due to their low density.
  • Camphor: A waxy, flammable substance that floats on water and is used in certain medicinal applications.
  • Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA): A type of plastic often used in floatation devices and sports equipment, known for its buoyancy.
  • Loofah (Luffa): When dried, these natural sponges are lightweight and can float on water.
  • Driftwood: Wood that has been floating in the ocean or a lake typically has enough air trapped inside to keep it buoyant.
  • Expanded Perlite: Often used in lightweight concrete and soil conditioning, it can float on water.
  • Cellulose Insulation: Made from recycled paper, it’s light enough to float before it absorbs water.
  • Ceramic Foam: Used in industrial applications, some types of ceramic foams can float due to their porous structure.
  • Hollow Glass Microspheres: Used in composite materials, these tiny glass spheres can float on water.
  • Porous Ceramics: Some lightweight, porous ceramics have enough air pockets to float on water.
  • Seeds of Some Aquatic Plants: Adapted to disperse over water, these seeds are buoyant.
  • Charcoal: Pieces of charcoal can float on water, especially if they are not fully waterlogged.
  • Vegetable Ivory (Tagua Nut): The seed of certain palm trees, known for its buoyant properties.
  • Floating Candles: Made with a type of wax that allows them to float on the surface of the water while burning.

Liquids

Liquids that float typically do so because they are less dense than the liquid they are placed in. This concept is a fundamental principle in fluid dynamics and is crucial in various scientific and practical applications. Here’s a list of liquids known for their ability to float:

  • Vegetable Oil: Common cooking oils like olive oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil float on water due to their lower density.
  • Petroleum (Crude Oil): Extracted from the earth, it floats on water, which is a key factor in oil spill dynamics.
  • Kerosene: Used as a fuel, kerosene is less dense than water and will float on its surface.
  • Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol): It can float on water, especially when carefully poured.
  • Baby Oil (Mineral Oil): Often used in cosmetics and skincare, it floats on water.
  • Gasoline: Used as fuel in vehicles, gasoline is less dense than water and will float on it.
  • Diesel Fuel: Similar to gasoline, diesel is less dense than water and will float.
  • Lamp Oil: Often used in oil lamps, this type of fuel is designed to float on water.
  • Nail Polish Remover (Acetone): It can float on water, being less dense.
  • Ethanol: Found in alcoholic beverages, ethanol can float on water in certain mixtures.
  • Turpentine: Used as a solvent and thinner for oil-based paints, it can float on water.
  • Lighter Fluid: Typically a petroleum distillate, it floats on water and is used in lighters and as a cleaning solvent.
  • Methanol: Often used as a solvent, antifreeze, and fuel, methanol can float on water.
  • Benzene: A natural constituent of crude oil, it floats on water and is used in the production of plastics, resins, and synthetic fibers.
  • Silicone Oil: Used in lubricants, cosmetics, and medical applications, silicone oil can float on water due to its lower density.
  • Glycerin (when carefully layered): While denser than water, glycerin can float on more dense liquids like honey or corn syrup.
  • Hydraulic Fluid: These fluids, used in hydraulic systems, can float on water if their density is lower.
  • Castor Oil: Used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes, it can float on water.
  • Pine Oil: Used in cleaning products and as a solvent, it floats on water.
  • Coconut Oil (in solid form): At room temperature, coconut oil can solidify and float on denser liquids.
  • Cooking Grease: After cooking, grease (depending on its type) can float on water in a sink or pot.
  • White Spirit (Mineral Spirits): Used as a solvent in painting, it can float on water.
  • Linseed Oil: Often used as a wood finish, it can float on water.
  • Avocado Oil: Similar to other vegetable oils, it’s less dense than water and will float.
  • Palm Oil: Widely used in food products and cosmetics, palm oil will float on water.
  • Motor Oil: After use, motor oil can float on top of water due to its lower density.
  • Almond Oil: Used in cooking and cosmetics, almond oil can float on water.
  • Hexane: Used in the formulation of glues and as a solvent, hexane can float on water.
  • Jojoba Oil: Commonly used in skincare, it floats on water due to its waxy nature.
  • Grape Seed Oil: Lighter than water, grape seed oil will float when added to it.
  • Sunflower Oil: Commonly used in cooking, this oil will float on water due to its lower density.
  • Safflower Oil: Often used in cooking and in cosmetics, safflower oil is less dense than water and floats.
  • Walnut Oil: Used both as a food ingredient and in wood finishing, walnut oil floats on water.
  • Corn Oil: A common cooking oil, it has a lower density than water, enabling it to float.
  • Canola Oil: Widely used in cooking, canola oil floats on water due to its lighter density.
  • Olive Oil (Extra Virgin): Known for its distinct flavor and health benefits, extra virgin olive oil floats on water.
  • Sesame Oil: Often used in Asian cuisine, sesame oil is less dense than water and will float.
  • Fish Oil: Extracted from fish tissue, it’s lighter than water and will float, often used as a dietary supplement.
  • Flaxseed Oil: Used both in food and as a dietary supplement, flaxseed oil floats on water.
  • Rapeseed Oil: Similar to canola oil, it’s less dense than water and will float on the surface.
  • Peanut Oil: Commonly used in cooking, especially frying, due to its high smoke point; it floats on water.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Widely used for its antiseptic properties, tea tree oil floats on water.
  • Camphor Oil: Often used in medicinal and aromatic applications, it floats on water.
  • Eucalyptus Oil: Known for its aroma and medicinal properties, eucalyptus oil is less dense than water and floats.
  • Clove Oil: Used for its flavor and medicinal properties, clove oil is lighter than water and will float.

Gases

Gases that float are typically lighter or less dense than air, which is primarily composed of nitrogen and oxygen. The buoyancy of these gases allows them to rise in the Earth’s atmosphere. Here’s a list of gases known for their ability to float:

  • Hydrogen: The lightest and most abundant chemical element in the universe, hydrogen is much less dense than air.
  • Helium: The second lightest element, helium is commonly used in balloons and airships because it’s safer than hydrogen and lighter than air.
  • Methane: A lighter-than-air gas, methane is found naturally as a component of natural gas and is also produced by organic decay.
  • Ammonia: This gas is lighter than air and is used in various industrial applications.
  • Neon: A noble gas that is lighter than air and is often used in lighting.
  • Hot Air: When heated, air expands and becomes less dense, causing it to float – the principle behind hot air balloons.
  • Water Vapor: At the same temperature and pressure, water vapor is less dense than dry air, allowing it to rise.
  • Acetylene: Used in welding, this gas is lighter than air.
  • Nitrous Oxide: Commonly known as laughing gas, it is slightly lighter than air.
  • Hydrogen Chloride: At room temperature, this gas is lighter than air.
  • Carbon Monoxide: This toxic gas is slightly lighter than air.
  • Radon: Although a heavy noble gas, it can accumulate in high places because it is produced from the decay of heavier elements in the ground.
  • Ethylene: A hydrocarbon used in the ripening of fruits, it is lighter than air.
  • Krypton: Used in lighting and photography, krypton is lighter than air at certain temperatures.
  • Hydrogen Fluoride: In its gaseous state, it is lighter than air.
  • Sulfur Hexafluoride (when heated): Although SF6 is much heavier than air, when heated, it can become less dense and float.
  • Xenon (at high temperatures): Generally heavy, xenon can become buoyant at high temperatures.
  • Ozone: At higher altitudes, this form of oxygen is less dense than the surrounding air.
  • Carbon Dioxide (when heated): Typically denser than air, CO2 can float if it is heated and becomes less dense.
  • Argon (at high temperatures): Like xenon, argon is generally denser than air but can float at elevated temperatures.
  • Chlorine (at high temperatures): Usually a heavy gas, but at high temperatures, it becomes less dense and can float.
  • Butane (when heated): Commonly known as lighter fluid, butane is usually denser than air but can float when heated.
  • Propane (when heated): Used as a fuel, propane is heavier than air but can become buoyant when heated.
  • Methyl Chloride: At room temperature, this gas is lighter than air.
  • Hydrogen Sulfide (at high temperatures): A toxic gas that is heavier than air but can float when heated.
  • Diborane: A highly reactive and lightweight gas.
  • Formaldehyde (at high temperatures): Typically a heavy gas, it becomes lighter than air when heated.
  • Ethane (at high temperatures): A component of natural gas, it’s denser than air but can float when heated.
  • Methanol Vapor (at high temperatures): Lighter than air when heated, used in various industrial processes.
  • Acetone Vapor (at high temperatures): Commonly used as a solvent, acetone vapor can float when heated.

We hope this list was useful for you! While we tried to be both as varied and as thorough as possible, there are countless things in the world and we’ve definitely missed out on some things that float. If there’s a floaty thing that you think should have been included in this list, feel free to let us know in the comments.

Thanks for visiting Thing Database! 🎈🪂˚ ༘ ೀ⋆。˚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *