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Thermal expansion/radius of curvature help!

  1. Jan 24, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A metal bar is 1.90 m long with a coefficient of thermal expansion of, 1.34e10-5 (K-1). It is rigidly held between two fixed beams. When the temperature rises, the metal bar takes on the shape of the arc of a circle. What is the radius of curvature of the circle when the temperature rises by 50°C? [Hint: You can use the small-angle approximation sin θ = θ -(θ3/6).]

    2. Relevant equations
    listed in problem

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I have tried similar triangles, pythagorian theorem, and trig functions. I cannot see how I should use this "small angle approximation". Can someone please point me in the right direction?

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
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