ASTM E289 - 04(2010)

    Standard Test Method for Linear Thermal Expansion of Rigid Solids with Interferometry

    Active Standard ASTM E289 | Developed by Subcommittee: E37.05

    Book of Standards Volume: 14.02


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    Significance and Use

    Coefficients of linear expansion are required for design purposes and are used particularly to determine thermal stresses that can occur when a solid artifact composed of different materials may fail when it is subjected to a temperature excursion(s).

    Many new composites are being produced that have very low thermal expansion coefficients for use in applications where very precise and critical alignment of components is necessary. Push rod dilatometry such as Test Methods D696, E228, and TMA methods such as Test Methods E831 are not sufficiently precise for reliable measurements either on such material and systems, or on very short specimens of materials having higher coefficients.

    The precision of the absolute method allows for its use to:

    Measure very small changes in length;

    Develop reference materials and transfer standards for calibration of other less precise techniques;

    Measure and compare precisely the differences in coefficient of matched materials.

    The precise measurement of thermal expansion involves two parameters; change of length and change of temperature. Since precise measurements of the first parameter can be made by this test method, it is essential that great attention is also paid to the second, in order to ensure that calculated expansion coefficients are based on the required temperature difference. Thus in order to ensure the necessary uniformity in temperature of the specimen, it is essential that the uniform temperature zone of the surrounding furnace or environmental chamber shall be made significantly longer than the combined length of specimen and mirrors.

    This test method contains essential details of the design principles, specimen configurations, and procedures to provide precise values of thermal expansion. It is not practical in a method of this type to try to establish specific details of design, construction, and procedures to cover all contingencies that might present difficulties to a person not having the technical knowledge relating to the thermal measurements and general testing practice. Standardization of the method is not intended to restrict in any way further development of improved methodology.

    The test method can be used for research, development, specification acceptance and quality control and assurance.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of linear thermal expansion of rigid solids using either a Michelson or Fizeau interferometer.

    1.2 For this purpose, a rigid solid is defined as a material which, at test temperature and under the stresses imposed by instrumentation, has a negligible creep, insofar as significantly affecting the precision of thermal length change measurements.

    1.3 It is recognized that many rigid solids require detailed preconditioning and specific thermal test schedules for correct evaluation of linear thermal expansion behavior for certain material applications. Since a general method of test cannot cover all specific requirements, details of this nature should be discussed in the particular material specifications.

    1.4 This test method is applicable to the approximate temperature range 150 to 700°C. The temperature range may be extended depending on the instrumentation and calibration materials used.

    1.5 The precision of measurement of this absolute method (better than ±40 nm/(m·K)) is significantly higher than that of comparative methods such as push rod dilatometry (for example, Test Methods D696 and E228) and thermomechanical analysis (for example, Test Method E831) techniques. It is applicable to materials having low and either positive or negative coefficients of expansion (below 5 μ m/(m·K)) and where only very limited lengths or thickness of other higher expansion coefficient materials are available.

    1.6 Computer or electronic based instrumentation, techniques and data analysis systems equivalent to this test method can be used. Users of the test method are expressly advised that all such instruments or techniques may not be equivalent. It is the responsibility of the user to determine the necessary equivalency prior to use.

    1.7 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D696 Test Method for Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion of Plastics Between -30C and 30C with a Vitreous Silica Dilatometer

    E220 Test Method for Calibration of Thermocouples By Comparison Techniques

    E228 Test Method for Linear Thermal Expansion of Solid Materials With a Push-Rod Dilatometer

    E473 Terminology Relating to Thermal Analysis and Rheology

    E831 Test Method for Linear Thermal Expansion of Solid Materials by Thermomechanical Analysis

    E1142 Terminology Relating to Thermophysical Properties


    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/E0289-04R10

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