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 Temperature – it is the degree of coldness or

hotness of a body on some chosen scale. It is
measured using a thermometer. The SI unit of
temperature is the Kelvin (K). Other units
include degrees Celsius (0C), Fahrenheit, F.
Temperature is a basic physical quantity as
well as a scalar quanity.
Temperature scale
 The scale of a thermometer is obtained by selecting two
temperatures called fixed points; the lower fixed point
and the upper fixed point. The lower fixed point is the
temperature of pure melting ice. It is taken to be 00C.
The upper fixed point is the temperature of steam above
pure boiling water at normal atmospheric pressure. It is
taken to be 1000C. The temperature of steam is used
since impurities do not affect its temperature but will
raise the boiling point of water. The range between
these two points is then divided into equal divisions.

 On the Kelvin (absolute) scale, 00C is at 273 K while

1000C is at 373 K. Hence to convert 0C to K, add 273 to
the temperature in 0C.
 Expansion in solid
 Expansion in liquid
 Expansion in gas
Expansion in solids
A solid can expand in three ways:
 Linear expansion; increase in length
 Superficial expansion; increase in surface

 Cubic expansion; increase in volume
 Solids expand when heated and contract when cooled.
During expansion the volume increases, density decreases
but mass remains the same. Expansion in solids can be
demonstrated by the ball and ring experiment.
 When both the ball and ring are at room temperature, the
ball easily passes through the ring but when the ball is
heated it does not go through the ring. When left in
contact for some time the ball finally passes through the
ring again.
 On heating the ball expanded and so could not go through
the ring. After sometime it went through because the ball
lost some of its heat to the ring which then expanded
while the ball slightly contracted.
 The measure of the tendency of a material to
expand is called its expansivity. The ability of a
material to expand when heated is referred to as its
linear expansivity.

 Linear expansivity, α = expansion (change in

length)/ {original length * temperature change}

 The SI unit of linear expansivity is per Kelvin (K-1).

 Linear expansivity of a substance may also be

defined as the fraction of its original length by which
a rod of the same substance expands per Kelvin rise
in temperature.
 Consider a brass rod of length 50.2 cm at

16.60 if the rod is heated until a temperature

of 99.50C where its new length is 50.279 cm,
determine the linear expansivity of brass.
Material Linear expansitivty ( * 10-5)
Aluminum 2.6
Copper 1.68
Brass 1.9
Iron 1.2
Steel 1.1
Concrete 1.1
Platinum alloy 0.9
Glass 0.85
Invar 0.1
silica 0.042
 The knowledge of linear expansivity is used in designing
various materials to ensure that they are able to operate well
under varying thermal conditions. For instance ordinary glass
has a higher linear expansivity than a pyrex glass. When hot
water is put in an ordinary glass, it breaks but when a pyrex
glass is used it does not crack. The pyrex glass has lower
linear expansivity and cannot suffer very large forces of
expansion while the ordinary glass does as it undergoes
temperature changes.
 In building and construction, concrete is always reinforced
using steel because both have the same linear expansivity.
Applications of expansion and
contraction in solids
Railway lines
 Railway lines are fixed with gaps to allow for

expansion when temperature rises. The bolt

holes are also oval in shape for the same
reason. Another way of creating room for
expansion in railway lines is by planing the
ends of the rails so that they are able to
overlap during expansion.
Telephone/electricity wires
 Telephone and electricity wires are loosely fixed during

installation to allow for contraction during cold weather.

Steam pipes
 Pipes carrying steam from boilers are fitted with expansion

loops to allow for expansion and contraction. Without the loop

the pipe is likely to break due to the resultant force as a result
of expansion and contraction. It is necessary that oil companies
make this allowance when constructing fuel pipelines.
Steel bridges
 In the construction of steel bridges, one end is fixed while the

other end is placed on rollers. This is to allow for expansion

and contraction.
Expansion and contraction in liquids

 The rate expansion in liquids is more than

in solids because the particles are slightly
far apart. When temperature increases, the
liquid molecules gain more energy
increasing their rate of movement. The
weak bonds between these molecules are
further weakened. The molecules thus
expand and occupy more space. 

 When heated, the level of the liquid in the glass tube first drops
and then starts rising. This initial fall in the level is because the
glass was heated first and expanded. Later the liquid received the
heat energy and expanded hence the rise in the level.
 Just like solids, liquids expand at different rates. In order to
investigate this, a number of identical flasks are filled with different
liquids ensuring that their initial levels are the same in the glass
tubes. For a fair comparison, the tubes should be identical i.e. of
same diameter. The flasks are then simultaneously immersed in a
bath of hot water. The bath of water should be stirred continuously
to ensure that temperature is uniform.
 It will be observed that the level of the liquids in the tubes differ
after some time. If water, alcohol and methylated spirit were used,
it would be observed that methylated spirit expanded the most,
followed by alcohol and water the least.
Expansion in gases

 Gases have the highest rate of expansion

because their particles are very far apart and
are held by very weak forces. When heated,
they gain more energy and move farther apart
occupying more space. It can be shown by a
round bottomed flask fitted with a glass tube
in a tight-fitting cork. The flask is first
inverted with the glass tube dipped in water.
By use of the palms, the flask is warmed for
some time.
 It will be observed that the level of water in the

tube drops and if warmed for a longer time,

bubbles are observed escaping from the end of the
tube in water. This shows that air expanded on
heating and needed more space, hence the drop in
the level of water in the tube and the bubbles.
 If the heat is withdrawn, the level of the water rises

again in the tube. Expansion and contraction in

gases is the basis of the formation of land and sea
The Unusual expansion (anomalous) expansion of water

 It is normal experience that substances expand on heating

and contract on cooling. But for water, this is never to be
between the temperatures 00C and 40C. Water can exist as a
solid (ice), liquid (liquid water) and as a gas (steam).
 At temperatures below 00C, water exists as a solid, occupying
a bigger volume. When heated, it expands just like any other
solid up to 00C. At 00C, ice melts at constant temperature.
Melting is accompanied by a decrease in volume by about 8%.
Beyond 00C, water contracts further up to 40C. Therefore water
has minimum volume at 40C and hence maximum density
which is slightly higher than 1 g/cm3.
 Above 40C, water expands like any other liquid. This behavior
of water is described as anomalous, unusual, or irregular.
Effects of anomalous expansion of water

Biological importance
 During cold weather, the temperature of lakes and ponds drops

and water contracts, becomes denser and sinks. A circulation of

water is thus set up until all the water attain maximum density i.e.
at 40C. If further cooling occurs (below 40C), then any water below
40C will stay at the top due to its lower density. At 0 0C, ice forms
on top and this acts as an insulator to the layers below. Hence the
warmth underneath can sustain aquatic life and thus the aquatic
animals and plants can survive there.
 Ice has a slightly lower density, about 0.92 g/cm 3, than that of

water and hence it floats with a small portion above the water
surface. The rest and a bigger portion of the ice rests under water.
This is called an iceberg. Icebergs pose a great danger to ships as
the submerged parts cannot be seen easily by navigators.
Weathering of rocks
 Water sometimes finds its way into cracks within the

rocks. When such water freezes during cold weather,

it expands forcing the rock to break into smaller
pieces. This is very important for agriculture as soil
is formed.
Bursting of water pipes
 At times the water flowing through a pipe may

freeze when it passes through a cold region. The

water thus contracts, expanding and this may lead to
pipe bursts if expansion allowances were not catered