# How does temperature affect the expansion of steel railway track?

• martinbandung
In summary, for a steel railway with a length of 10m and a coefficient of thermal expansion of 11*10^-6, a minimum space between rails is required to accommodate a temperature change of 8°C. The expansion does not have a direction unless one end is fixed. Whether it goes one way or two way, the increase in length encroaches into one gap.
martinbandung
1. Homework Statement

The steel railway will be constructed in a place that temperature can change 8°C. Length of each rail is 10 m. With α=11*10^-6 . Minimum space required between the rail is...

ΔL= L0 α Δt

## The Attempt at a Solution

I confuse wether i should multiply it by 2 or not. Where does the expansion go (direction). Is it only to one or two direction (left or right)?

martinbandung said:
Where does the expansion go (direction). Is it only to one or two direction (left or right)?
The expansion does not have a direction unless you nail one end in place. It is just a change in overall length.

martinbandung said:
I confuse wether i should multiply it by 2 or not. Where does the expansion go (direction). Is it only to one or two direction (left or right)?

Apply the same rule to the sections of track either side of the one you are considering. You will find it makes no difference...

If it goes "one way" then the increase in length encroaches into one gap (the other end is fixed).

If it goes two ways half the increase in length encroaches into two gaps (one each end) but then the same applies to the sections either side. So again one increase in length encroaches into one gap.

Nidum

## 1. What is the expansion of steel railway?

The expansion of steel railway refers to the increase in length of steel railway tracks due to changes in temperature. When steel is exposed to high temperatures, it expands and when it is exposed to low temperatures, it contracts. This expansion and contraction can cause significant changes in the length of railway tracks.

## 2. Why does steel railway expand?

Steel railway expands due to a phenomenon called thermal expansion. When steel is heated, the atoms within the metal vibrate more and take up more space, causing the material to expand. This expansion is directly proportional to the change in temperature.

## 3. How does the expansion of steel railway affect train operations?

The expansion of steel railway can affect train operations in several ways. Firstly, it can cause the tracks to become longer or shorter, which can lead to issues with alignment and stability. This can result in slower train speeds and potentially derailments. Additionally, if the expansion is not accounted for, it can cause stress and damage to the tracks, requiring frequent maintenance and repairs.

## 4. How is the expansion of steel railway managed?

The expansion of steel railway is managed through a process known as rail welding. This involves creating gaps or joints in the tracks at regular intervals to allow for expansion and contraction. These joints are then filled with a compressible material, such as rubber or asphalt, which can accommodate the changes in length without causing damage to the tracks. Additionally, engineers also take into account the expected temperature changes in a particular area when designing and constructing railway tracks.

## 5. Can the expansion of steel railway be prevented?

While the expansion of steel railway cannot be prevented, it can be managed and minimized through proper design and maintenance. Additionally, materials with lower coefficients of thermal expansion, such as aluminum, can be used in place of steel to reduce the effects of temperature changes. However, these materials may not be as strong and durable as steel, so a balance must be struck between managing expansion and maintaining the structural integrity of the railway tracks.

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