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 degrees F to -450 degrees 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.
Copyright 2005 ASM International. This paper was published in Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp. 563-564 and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of ASM International. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplications of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial pruposes, or modification of the content of this paper are prohibited. Available on publisher's site at http://www.springerlink.com/content/3435306785q03535/.
Wallace, G., Speer, W., Ogren, J., and Es-Said, O.S., 2005, "High-Resolution Methods for Measuring the Thermal Expansion Coefficient of Aerospace Materials," Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance, 14(5), pp. 563-564.