PhysicsLAB Practice Problems
Thermal Expansion

Directions: On this worksheet you will investigate properties of thermal expansion of solids.

The following table shows a listing of coefficients of linear expansion for some common materials.

Question 1  Which graph exhibits the behavior of the material having the greater cofficient of linear expansion?

Question 2  A copper bar changes in length by 0.7 meters with a 140 degree Celsius change in temperature. What is the bar’s original length?
Question 3  A brass washer has a circumference of 14 cm at 16ºC, by how much will its diameter increase when the temperature reaches a maximum value of 33ºC.
Question 4  Red-hot steel rivets were often used to hold multiple pieces of metal together securely. Suppose a rivet heated to 526ºC is placed through three carefully-aligned 0.4085-cm diameter holes to join three metal plates having a total thicknes of 0.503 cm. After the riveter hammers the unformed end to close the joint, what will be the length of the rivet's shaft when it has cooled down to 19ºC?

Question 5  Many architects integrate glass curtain-walls into their new building designs. During construction, contractors must account for the thermal expansion and contraction of these glass elements so that they will not crack during the building's lifetime. Suppose the contract calls for glass elements that measure 4.684-meter by 12.062-meters. If the average temperature in the area is 12.5ºC and the glass with be exposed to a temperature range of -23ºC to 48ºC, by how much will the glass surface area fluctuate?

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Catharine H. Colwell
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Mark Acton