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What is the coefficient of linear expansion?

The coefficient of linear expansion is a measure of how much a material expands when heated.

When a solid material is heated, its atoms and molecules vibrate more rapidly, causing the material to expand. The coefficient of linear expansion is a measure of how much the length of a material changes per unit length per degree Celsius of temperature change. It is denoted by the symbol α and has units of K^-1 or °C^-1.

Different materials have different coefficients of linear expansion. For example, metals generally have higher coefficients of linear expansion than nonmetals. This means that a metal rod will expand more than a nonmetal rod of the same length when both are heated to the same temperature.

The coefficient of linear expansion is an important property of materials, as it can affect the performance of machines and structures that are subject to temperature changes. For example, bridges and buildings are designed to accommodate the expansion and contraction of their materials due to temperature changes. Similarly, the expansion and contraction of engine parts due to temperature changes can affect the performance and efficiency of an engine.

In summary, the coefficient of linear expansion is a measure of how much a material expands when heated. It is an important property of materials that can affect the performance of machines and structures.

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