Thermal expansion coefficient of water

I am working through the methods section of the following paper: Spatial-temporal variability in surface layer deepening and lateral advection in an embayment of Lake Victoria, East Africa

In the methodology section they refers to the thermal expansion coefficient of water as

$$a = 1.6 \times10^{-5} \times 9.6 \times10^{-6} \times T$$

where $T$ is the water temperature in $^\circ C$. This is valid for temperature in the range of $20-30$^\circ C\$. Can anyone point me to a cite-able paper that calculates the thermal expansion coefficient as a function of temperature i.e. somewhere I can find the variable for a range of temperatures not just in the range specified.

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– John Rennie Mar 12 '13 at 14:34

1 Answer

Kate, the values you are looking for are found nicely in this table, ranging from 0 degrees to 100 degrees Celcius: http://physchem.kfunigraz.ac.at/sm/Service/Water/H2Othermexp.htm

Below is a graph showing the coefficient of expansion plotted against Temperature in degrees Celcius.

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I have also computed the coefficient in the range 20 - 30 using the formula in the paper, and it is consistent with the coefficient obtained in the same range in the linked website. Note the website uses the formula: a = 1.6 x10^{-5} + 9.6 x10^{-6} x T instead of a = 1.6 x10^{-5} x 9.6 x10^{-6} x T, which you have used above. – Mew Mar 12 '13 at 14:54