, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 563-564

High-resolution methods for measuring the thermal expansion coefficient of aerospace materials

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Abstract

Accurately predicting the coefficient of thermal expansion for many aerospace components is critical to ensure proper functionality on orbit where the temperature gradient across a spacecraft can vary from +300 °F to −450 °F. Under these conditions, the linear approximations generated by theoretical equations no longer hold true, and experimental methods are needed. Although several methods exist for measuring the coefficient of thermal expansion of materials, laser interferometry yields high-resolution results, and the technique is widely accepted in the scientific community.