Irma Rangel Thermal Expansion
Thermodynamics – Thermal Expansion
The thermodynamics portion of the STEAM curriculum was divided into two labs. The first lab was based on thermal expansion. The students learned, through a series of simple experiments, that temperature is a measure of the kinetic energy of a substance – the energy of motion. Heat is the transfer of thermal energy between substances that are at different temperatures. Thermal expansion takes place when molecules with a lot of energy move faster than molecules with a smaller amount of energy, thus causing the former to have more heat. When a substance is heated, the kinetic energy of its molecules increases, and they show greater separation (more space between the molecules). The students observed this expansion in the ball and ring, bimetallic strip, and hand boiler experiments.