PRODUCT
SDS

Thermal Expansion Coefficient: Metals, Alloys, and Common Materials

Figure 1. Periodic Table [1]

Thermal Expansion Coefficient of Metals and Alloys

Metal

Thermal Expansion
(10-6 in/(in oF))

Admiralty Brass

11.2

Alumina

3

Aluminum

13.1

Aluminum Bronze

9.0

Antimony

5

Barium

11.4

Beryllium

6.7

Beryllium Copper

9.3

Bismuth

7.2

Brass

10.4

Bronze

10

Calcium

12.4

Cast Iron, grey

5.8

Cast Steel, 3% C

7.0

Cerium

2.9

Chromium

3.3

Cobalt

6.7

Copper

9.8

Copper-Base Alloy – Manganese Bronze

11.8

Copper-Base Alloy – Nickel-Silver

9.0

Cupronickel

9.0

Erbium

6.8

Europium

19.4

Gadolinium

5

Germanium

3.4

Gold

7.9

Hafnium

3.3

Hastelloy C

5.3

Inconel

6.4

Incoloy

8.0

Indium

18.3

Invar

0.67

Iridium

3.3

Iron, nodular pearlitic

6.5

Iron, pure

6.8

Lead

15.1

Lithium

15.6

Magnesium

14

Manganese

12

Manganese Bronze

11.8

Mild steel

5.9

Molybdenum

3.0

Monel

7.8

Neodymium

5.3

Nickle

7.2

Nickel Wrought

7.4

Niobium

3.9

Red Brass

10.4

Osmium

2.8

Platinum

5

Plutonium

19.84

Potassium

46

Rhodium

4.4

Selenium

21

Silver

11

Sodium

39

Stainless Steel

9.4

Tantalum

3.6

Thorium

6.7

Terbium

5.7

Tin

12.8

Titanium

4.8

Tungsten

2.5

Uranium

7.4

Vanadium

4.4

Ytterbium

14.6

Zinc

19

Zirconium

3.2

 

Thermal Expansion Coefficient of Common Materials

Product

Temperature Expansion
(10-6 m/(m °C))

ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) thermoplastic

72 - 108

ABS -glass fiber-reinforced

31

Acetal - glass fiber-reinforced

39

Acetals

85 - 110

Acrylic

68 - 75

Amber

50 - 60

Arsenic

4.7

Bakelite, bleached

22

Barium ferrite

10

Benzocyclobutene

42

Brass

18 - 19

Brick masonry

5

Bronze

17.5 - 18

Caoutchouc

66 - 69

Cast Iron Gray

10.8

Celluloid

100

Cellulose acetate (CA)

130

Cellulose acetate butynate (CAB)

96 - 171

Cellulose nitrate (CN)

80 - 120

Chlorinated polyvinylchloride (CPVC)

63 - 66

Chromium

6 - 7

Clay tile structure

5.9

Concrete

13 - 14

Concrete structure

9.8

Ebonite

70

Epoxy - glass fiber reinforced

36

Epoxy, cast resins & compounds, unfilled

45 - 65

Ethylene ethyl acrylate (EEA)

205

Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)

180

Fluoroethylene propylene (FEP)

135

Fluorspar, CaF2

19.5

Glass, hard

5.9

Glass, plate

9.0

Glass, Pyrex

4.0

Granite

7.9 - 8.4

Graphite, pure (Carbon)

4 -8

Gunmetal

18

Ice, 0oC water

51

Inconel

11.5 - 12.6

Limestone

8

Macor

9.3

Marble

5.5 - 14.1

Masonry, brick

4.7 - 9.0

Mica

3

Monel metal

13.5

Mortar

7.3 - 13.5

Nylon, general purpose

50 - 90

Nylon, glass fiber reinforced

23

Phosphor bronze

16.7

Plaster

17

Plastics

40 - 120

Polycarbonate - glass fiber-reinforced

21.5

Polyester

124

Polyester - glass fiber-reinforced

25

Polyethylene (PE)

108 - 200

Polyethylene (PE) - High Molecular Weight

108

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

59.4

Polypropylene (PP), unfilled

72 - 90

Polypropylene - glass fiber-reinforced

32

Polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE)

112 - 135

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

54 - 110

Porcelain, Industrial

4

Quartz, fused

0.55

Quartz, mineral

8 - 14

Sandstone

11.6

Sapphire

5.3

Wax

2 - 15

Wedgwood ware

8.9

Wood, across (perpendicular) to grain

30

Wood, fir

3.7

Wood, parallel to grain

3

Wood, pine

5

Note: Most coefficients are recorded at 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit).

Thermal Expansion Coefficient: FAQs

1. What Is the Thermal Expansion Coefficient?

The thermal expansion coefficient refers to the rate at which a material expands or contracts when subjected to temperature changes. It quantifies the change in size of a material in response to alterations in temperature.

2. How Is the Thermal Expansion Coefficient Measured?

Thermal expansion coefficients are commonly determined through methods like dilatometry or interferometry, where the material is exposed to controlled temperature shifts, allowing for measurement of the subsequent dimensional alterations.

3. Why Is the Thermal Expansion Coefficient Important?

Understanding thermal expansion coefficients is crucial in various industries, especially in construction, engineering, and materials science. It helps predict how materials will respond to temperature variations, preventing structural damage or failure in applications exposed to temperature fluctuations.

4. Do All Materials Expand or Contract at the Same Rate?

No, different materials exhibit varying thermal expansion coefficients. For instance, metals generally have higher coefficients compared to ceramics or polymers. An understanding of these differences is vital in material selection for specific applications.

5. How Does Thermal Expansion Affect Structures?

Thermal expansion can cause dimensional changes in structures, leading to stress, warping, or cracking when materials expand or contract unevenly due to temperature variations. This phenomenon must be considered in architectural and engineering designs.

6. Can Thermal Expansion Coefficients Be Controlled?

While it's challenging to alter a material's inherent thermal expansion characteristics, engineers and designers can mitigate its effects through design considerations, material selection, and using composite materials with tailored properties.

7. Is Thermal Expansion Always Undesirable?

While thermal expansion can pose challenges in some applications, in others, it can be beneficial. For example, bimetallic strips exploit different thermal expansion rates to act as thermometers or switches.

 

 

Reference:

[1] National Center for Biotechnology Information (2024). Periodic Table of Elements. Retrieved January 8, 2024 from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/periodic-table/.

About the author

Chin Trento

Chin Trento holds a bachelor’s degree in applied chemistry from the University of Illinois. His educational background gives him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He has been working with writing advanced materials for over four years in Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM). His main purpose in writing these articles is to provide a free, yet quality resource for readers. He welcomes feedback on typos, errors, or differences in opinion that readers come across.

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