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Thermal Expansion Thermal expansion is the tendency of matter to change in volume in response to a change in temperature.

Thermal expansion is the physical change of size of something owing to higher thermal energy of the object. Heat (thermal energy) causes increased atomic motion in materials, and this change in the kinetic energy of the atoms and molecules of a material will cause it to increase in volume. Thermal Expansion happens a lot in everyday life. When something is heated and expands this is Thermal Expansion. The way Thermal Expansion works, is when something is heated the atoms expand, and then when it is cooled it shrinks Examples of Thermal Expansion in everyday life are: 1. Curved Water Pipes: In a plumbing system, heating water (heated due to environmental reasons or otherwise) will cause an increase in temperature and therefore an increase in kinetic energy which causes the atoms to expand and results in an increase in the pressure in water pipes and fixtures if (a) the water does not have room to expand (b) there is no device to relieve the pressure. The resulting pressure increase may cause: *repeated opening of the emergency pressure relief valve on the water heater. This relief valve is not designed for frequent use, which may cause it to fail. *failure of flexible hoses such as on washing machines. * leaks in pipes, faucets and/or spigots. 2. Telephone wires The reason telephone wires sag from telephone poles on a hot day is because of thermal expansion of the copper wiring. The atoms within the wire are vibrating faster because they're at a higher temperature. The more energetic vibrations

expand the size of the wiring.

Application of Thermal Expansion Thermal expansion of a solid During thermal expansion, every linear dimension increases by the same percentage with an increase in temperature, including holes. This assumes that the expanding material is uniform. Applied to a metal jar lid, this implies that the inside diameter of the lid will increase, tending to loosen the lid. Directing the stream of hot water at the center of the lid heats the metal more than the glass, so that you get a greater difference in the expansion of the top and the jar. The thermal conductivity of the metal top is much greater than that of the glass, and its specific heat is relatively low, so the temperature of the entire metal lid rises rapidly.

Thermal expansion in liquids An example of liquid thermal expansion is the liquid in a thermometer. As it increased in temperature the liquid expanded up the tube indicating a higher temperature. As the indicator liquid in a thermometer gains heat when a room warms up, it expands, rising up higher and indicating the new, higher temperature from the increasing heat in the room

Thermal Expansion for gases An example of thermal expansion in a gas is a "hot air balloon". If you look at a picture of a hot air balloon you see is has a big gas burner on top of the gondola. The gas burner heats up and expands the air inside the balloon and because the air is expanded it weighs less than the air outside the balloon and makes the balloon buoyant so it can rise up and fly. It rises because when thermal energy is in the balloon it makes an expansion that makes the balloon fly.

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