Engineering ToolBox - Resources, Tools and Basic Information for Engineering and Design of Technical Applications!

This is an AMP page - Open full page! for all features.

Linear Thermal Expansion

Sponsored Links

When an object is heated or cooled, its length changes by an amount proportional to the original length and the change in temperature. The linear thermal expansion - the change in length - of an object can be expressed as

dl = L0 α (t1 - t0 )                                (1)


dl = change in object length (m, inches)

L0 = initial length of object (m, inches)

α = linear expansion coefficient (m/m oC, in/in oF)

t0 = initial temperature ( oC, oF)

t1 = final temperature ( oC, oF)

The final length of the object can be calculated as

L1 = L0 + dl

= L0 + L0 α (t1 - t0 )                                (2)


L1 = final length of object (m, inches)

Note! - linear expansion coefficients for most materials varies with temperature .

Example - Expansion of Copper, Carbon and Stainless Steel Pipes

For wider temperature ranges - calculate for smaller spans and integrate the results.


Online Thermal Linear Expansion Calculator

Linear Temperature Coefficients - α - for some common metals

Example - Expansion of an Aluminum Beam

An aluminum construction is designed for temperatures ranging -30 oC to 50 oC . If a beam's length is 6 m when assembled at 20 oC - the shortest final length of the beam at minimum temperature -30 oC can be calculated as

L1 = (6 m) + (6 m) (0.000023 m/m oC) ((-30 oC) - (20 oC))

= 5.993 m

The longest final length of the beam at maximum temperature 50 oC can be calculated as

L1 = (6 m) + (6 m) (0.000023 m/m oC) ((50 oC) - (20 oC))

= 6.004 m

Superficial Expansion

The amount by which a unit area of a material increases when the temperature is raised by one degree is called the coefficient of superficial (area) expansion .

Cubic Expansion

The amount by which a unit volume of a material increases when the temperature is raised by one degree is called the coefficient of cubic expansion .

Sponsored Links

Related Topics

Temperature Expansion

Thermal expansion and expansion coefficients. Expansion pipes and tubes made of stainless steel, carbon steel, copper, plastics and more.


Work, heat and energy systems.

Related Documents

Bimetallic Strips

Heat and bending of bimetallic strips.

Circular Ring - Temperature Expansion

Calculate ring (or pipe) diameter expansion or contraction when temperature changes.

Copper, Ductile Iron, Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminum Piping Materials - Temperature Expansion

Thermal expansion of typical piping materials.

Metals - Temperature Expansion Coefficients

Thermal expansion coefficients metals.

Pipes and Tubes - Temperature Expansion

Pipes expands when heated and contracts when cooled and the expansion can be expressed with the expansion equation.

Piping Materials - Temperature Expansion Coefficients

Temperature expansion coefficients for materials used in pipes and tubes like aluminum, carbon steel, cast iron, PVC, HDPE and more.

Piping Materials - Temperature Heat Expansion and Cooling Contraction

Expansion and contraction when cast iron, carbon and carbon molybdenum steel, wrought iron, copper, brass and aluminum pipes are heated or cooled.

PVC, CPVC, Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel and Fiberglass Pipes - Thermal Expansion Diagrams

Thermal expansion of PVC, CPVC, Carbon and Stainless Steel and Fiberglass pipes.

Restricted Thermal Expansion - Force and Stress

Stress and force when thermal expansion a pipe, beam or similar is restricted.

Shrink-Fits Assembly

Assembly temperatures for shrink-fits.

Solids - Volume Temperature Expansion Coefficients

Cubical expansion coefficients for solids.

Steam Pipes - Thermal Expansion

Thermal expansion of steam pipes heated from room temperature to operation temperature (mm pr. 100 m pipe).

Steel Pipes - Temperature Expansion

Calculate temperature expansion with carbon steel pipes.

Steel Pipes - Thermal Expansion Loops

Calculating and sizing steel pipe thermal expansion loops.

Thermal Expansion - Linear Expansion Coefficients

Linear temperature expansion coefficients for common materials like aluminum, copper, glass, iron and many more.

Thermal Expansion - Superficial i.e. Area

Superficial i.e area temperature expansion - online calculator.

Thermal Expansion of Steam Pipes - (inches)

Expansion of steam pipes heated from room temperature to operation temperature.

Volumetric (Cubic) Thermal Expansion

Volumetric temperature expansion calculator.

Sponsored Links

Search Engineering ToolBox

  • the most efficient way to navigate the Engineering ToolBox!

SketchUp Extension - Online 3D modeling!

Add standard and customized parametric components - like flange beams, lumbers, piping, stairs and more - to your Sketchup model with the Engineering ToolBox - SketchUp Extension - enabled for use with the amazing, fun and free SketchUp Make and SketchUp Pro . Add the Engineering ToolBox extension to your SketchUp from the Sketchup Extension Warehouse!


We don't collect information from our users. Only emails and answers are saved in our archive. Cookies are only used in the browser to improve user experience.

Some of our calculators and applications let you save application data to your local computer. These applications will - due to browser restrictions - send data between your browser and our server. We don't save this data.

Google use cookies for serving our ads and handling visitor statistics. Please read Google Privacy & Terms for more information about how you can control adserving and the information collected.

AddThis use cookies for handling links to social media. Please read AddThis Privacy for more information.