What is thermal expansion?

  • Thermal expansion is the tendency of matter to change in shape, volume, and area in response to a change in temperature.
  • There are three ways in which we categorize thermal expansion – Linear Expansion, Superficial Expansion, and Cubical Expansion
  • Thermal expansion is an important consideration for engineering because different materials exhibit changes in size when exposed to heat. Thus, affecting length, width, surface area, volume, etc.
  • Example: The behavior of gasoline on a hot day provides an example of liquid thermal expansion in response to an increase in temperature. If a car tank is filled and it left to sit on the sun, then gasoline expands in volume.
  • The kinetic energy of the molecules of a substance increases when the substance is heated. Thereby, the molecules start to vibrate and move more and usually maintain a greater average separation.


Simply Easy Learning

Updated on: 10-Oct-2022


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