Coefficient of Volume Expansion: A Water Thermometer. (page 2)

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Author: Jerry Silver

Expected Results

A given volume of water expands by a factor that is 0.000207 (or 2.07 × 10–4) of its original volume for every 1 degree increase centigrade. This volume is distributed between the flask and the tube.

Why It Works

Nearly all materials expand when they are heated. The amount of expansion is characterized by something called the coefficient of expansion. In the case of solids, the expansion in one direction is called the coefficient of linear expansion. Multiplying the original length by the coefficient of linear expansion gives how much longer the object is.

Volume works almost the same way, except in the three dimensions. The coefficient of volume expansion indicates how much volume is added to a (solid or liquid) material for every degree the temperature increases.

Other Things to Try

Design and calibrate a water thermometer using the coefficient of volume expansion for water and the dimensions you determined for the glass tube.

The Point

The amount a material expands when heated is called the coefficient of volume expansion. We constrained the expansion of a larger volume of water in the flask to primarily one dimension in the tube. This magnified the effect of the expansion, so we were able to measure it.

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