DoITPoMS

Thermal expansion and the bi-material strip

This teaching and learning package (TLP) is based on lab work in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge. The TLP provides an introduction to the topic of thermal expansion, and its application, together with the different stiffness of materials, in the bi-material strip. The TLP leads you through experiments to measure Young's Modulus from the deflection of a cantilever beam, and to estimate the boiling temperature of nitrogen and the expansivity of a polycarbonate material from the curvature of a bi-material strip immersed in liquid nitrogen.

Photograph of liquid nitrogen being poured on to a bimaterial strip

You can also view and download the animations from this TLP at CORE-Materials
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First created: 2004. Revised: August 2006.