Thermal Expansion - Linear


Thermal expansion is the tendency of matter to change in volume in response to a change in temperature through heat transfer. When a substance is heated, the kinetic energy of its molecules increases. Thus, the molecules begin moving more and usually maintain a greater average separation. To a first approximation, the change in length measurements of an object (“linear dimension”) due to thermal expansion is related to temperature change by a “linear expansion coefficient”.

Related formulas


ΔLchange in length (m)
aLcoefficient of linear expansion (K-1)
Lreference length measurement (m)
ΔTchange in temperature (K)