Substances expand or contract when their temperature changes, with expansion or contraction occurring in all directions.
The volumetric thermal expansion coefficient is the most basic thermal expansion coefficient. illustrates that, in general, substances expand or contract when their temperature changes, with expansion or contraction occurring in all directions. Such substances that expand in all directions are called isotropic. For isotropic materials, the area and linear coefficients may be calculated from the volumetric coefficient (discussed below).
Volumetric Expansion: In general, objects expand in all directions as temperature increases. In these drawings, the original boundaries of the objects are shown with solid lines, and the expanded boundaries with dashed lines. (a) Area increases because both length and width increase. The area of a circular plug also increases. (b) If the plug is removed, the hole it leaves becomes larger with increasing temperature, just as if the expanding plug were still in place. (c) Volume also increases, because all three dimensions increase.