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Homework Help: Why does heat make objects break?

  1. Oct 31, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I need to proove that temperature changes make objects break. I used a stone, and heated it for about 10 minutes. After that I put it in cold water. According to my teacher that should've broken the stone, but it didn't. I had to give it a few hits, not too many or too strong, with a hammer until it broke in half. Why does this happen? I know it's because it expands and then contracts too fast, but I don't know what physical terms I need to use or a physical explanation.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 31, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    What research and reading have you done on this so far? I would start with a Google search using terms like Thermal Stress Fracture Crack Brake, and so on. Let us know what you find... :smile:
  4. Oct 31, 2015 #3
    I found that it happens when a thermal gradient causes different parts of the object to expand by different amounts. And that the stress of the expansion may overcome the strength of the object, causing a crack to form.
    But I still don't get why it causes it to break. Or what is the "stress of the expansion"
  5. Oct 31, 2015 #4


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