Why do I have to input the reference temperature in the material's instantaneous coefficient of thermal expansion?
Thermal expansion is explained in Section 3.5 of the MAPDL Material Reference Guide.
If a secant CTE is defined (alpx), the thermal strain is CTE*(T-TREF). If an instantaneous CTE is defined (ctex), then it is converted to an equivalent secant CTE. That conversion uses TREF. The thermal strain is then calculated as the equivalent secant CTE*(T-TREF).
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