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Navin J. Ramjassingh

PHY 136

Objective:

**We will study the thermal expansion of a solid by measuring the coefficient of linear
**

expansion of a metal rod.

Theory and Discussion:

**During heat transfer, the energy that is stored in the intermolecular bonds between
**

atoms changes. When the stored energy increases, so does the length of the

molecular bond. As a result, solids expand in response to heating and contract on

cooling. This response to temperature change is expressed as its coefficient of

thermal expansion. The linear thermal expansion coefficient relates the change in

temperature to the change in a material’s linear dimensions. It is the frational

change in the length of a bar per degree of temperature change.

**The fractional change in length which is a natural quantity to use is the difference in
**

length of the micrometer measurements (initial minus the final) divided by the

length of the metal rod used. This is equivalent to the expansion coefficient

multiplied by the change in temperature of the metal rod used.

**Similarly to the diagram above we proved the theory of the coefficient of thermal
**

linear expansion. The micrometer form was referred to as the “dial gauge.” As well

as the Thermometer was used along with the “thermistor” as shown in the diagram.

The metal used was Steel with a standard expansion coefficient of 1.2 x 10-3 .

Summary:

**After boiling the water for approximately twenty minutes, we observed a change in
**

temperature of the metal rod from 27.2°C to 100.6°C. With the change in

temperature factor and the change length factor (initial – final), which were

measured using a micrometer, we could then calculate the experimental coefficient

of thermal linear expansion (1/°C). By comparing that to the standard value we

came up with a percent error of 22.5%. But due to the comparison between the

change in temperature and change in length, we can clearly conclude that the

metal expanded by a difference of 0.41mm.

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