Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from chris, a student:

If a 50 ft steel beam can expand up to 4inches when heated to 1000f
How much will a 162 ft and six inches steel beam expand under the same conditions?


Under the (fairly accurate) assumption of linearity, and ignoring the words "up to", this is a ratio problem:

expansion 1 : length 1 :: expansion 2 : length 2

So you solve

expansion 2 = expansion 1 (length 2 /length 1)

Details left to you. To check, my mental estimate is a little over a foot. Good Hunting!


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