MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Where do I look for how much a fluid will expand or contract with heat?

Date: Thu Mar 15 09:43:22 2001
Posted By: Jeff Yap, Materials Engineer
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 984187207.Ch

Hi Michael!

Wow. That's a pretty good question...

Most of the data I've been able to find so far has been about Solid Thermal Expansion, not Liquid. (FYI: Solid thermal expansion is normally given as a linear value, while for gasses and liquids, it's given as a volume expansion.)

So far, the best source of data for both liquids and solids has been the CRC Handbook of Physics and Chemistry. I couldn't find a comprehensive table for different fluids, but there were some temperature versus density tables for a few different fluids, and you can calculate volumetric increase from that. Be kinda careful, because calculating and using a volume expansion coefficient assumes that the liquid expands linearly, and that may not always be the case.

"Contraction" under cooling can still (at least in my world) be considered thermal expansion, because if you consider how much a part expanded coming up from "cold" to room temperature, that should be the same amount it contracts when you take it from room temperature to "cold".

The biggest obstacle I see is that all of the data that has been accumulated has been empirically determined, so either there hasn't been much previous research done into fluid expansion coefficients, or people have the data and don't want to share. There are several companies who sell physical testing or computer modelling to evaluate the thermal expansion properties of materials.

To order a CRC Handbook, check out CRC Publishing or check with your library. There's a site where you can access the CRC and a few other good books online, called ChemNetBase, but accessing some of the data requires a subscription... Encyclopedia Britannica has some info on Thermal Expansion and Fluid Dynamics, but you might have to look in some textbooks on those subjects to find tables or data...

I hope this helps!

Jeff Yap
Mad Scientist

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