Thermal Expansivity

Physics SS1 Second Term


Thermal Expansivity

Performance Objectives

Students should be able to:

  1. Explain Linear expansivity
  2. Area Expansivity
  3. Volume or Cubic Expansivity


When a solid is heated is to a particular temperature, the molecule it contains absorb some kinetic energy since kinetic energy is the measure of velocity (i.e. the higher the kinetic energy, the higher the velocity of the molecules). These molecules move faster and collide with one another and with the wall of the system to the event that the strong molecular force of attraction is broken after several collisions and by so doing the system expands. Linear expansivity of solid (metal) is defined as the increase in length per unit rise in temperature. It is denoted by α and measured in K-1 or 0C-1 (SI unit).

Original length at to1C = Lo

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