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Investigation into Temperature Regulation in Animals

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Introduction

Investigation into Temperature Regulation in Animals Aim My aim is to find out how insulation and body surface area affect how heat energy is lost in animals. Introduction The temperature of animals affects their life functions, which are all the chemical reactions, which take place in the animal's body. For every temperature rise of 10�C, these biochemical reactions, which account for most of the body's functions, double in rate up to a point when proteins break down. If an animal becomes too hot, proteins in the body break down, eventually leading to death. If an animal becomes too cold, the bodily functions slow down. Because of this, various animals have different ways of keeping their body temperature constant, so they work most efficiently. Some animals rely on their own bodies to maintain their temperature. These animals include mammals and birds, and are called endotherms because they make heat inside their bodies. Others rely upon their environment to maintain body temperature, which are animals like reptiles and amphibians. These animals are called ectotherms because they gain heat from outside their bodies. The normal temperature for humans is just under 37�C (for the inside of the body i.e. organs), and the body is constantly kept at this temperature, unless we are ill (skin temperature may vary). Inner temperature is kept constant at the expense of outer (skin) ...read more.

Middle

The temperature will be lost by means of convection and radiation. Convection is the rising effect of water particles that have more energy moving to the surface, losing energy to the air, and the falling back to the bottom, and getting more energy, then rising again. Radiation is the loss of heat by passing energy on to the particle next to it, which in the beakers will pass through the glass of the beaker and then to the air around the beaker. Insulation is used in my experiment to slow down the affect of heat radiation. In the second experiment, I will use three different sized beakers - a 75ml beaker, a 300ml beaker and a 500ml beaker, to simulate how smaller and larger animals lose heat at various rates. As before, hot water will be used to imitate the inside of the animal's body, with heat being lost both by convection and radiation. I will work out the volume to surface areas beforehand so that I can predict which sized beakers will have the fastest or slowest loss of heat. Prediction I think that in the insulation experiment, the beaker with no insulation will lose heat fastest, followed by the beaker with j-cloth insulation, and slowest heat loss from the beaker with cotton wool insulation. This is because insulation should keep more heat in, and prevent heat being lost. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another solution would be to carry out the experiment on each beaker separately, however this would be extremely time consuming. I received anomalous results in the insulation experiment, which can clearly be seen on the graph. I expected that the beaker, which would maintain the highest temperature, would be the cotton wool, insulated beaker, but for most of the experiment the j-cloth insulated beaker had the highest temperature. By the end of the 10 minutes, the cotton wool did however have the highest temperature. The cotton wool showed the most predictable results of the two, with the most curving line, but the j-cloth gave more variable results, crossing the curve of the cotton wool beaker several times before finishing below it. This problem could be resolved by, as mentioned before, carrying out the experiment for each beaker separately. To improve the accuracy of the experiment, I could record the temperature of each beaker more often, for example every 15 seconds instead of every 30 seconds. However, this would be quite tedious, as I found it difficult to keep up when the time was every 30 seconds! Another way to increase accuracy would be to measure out the amount of water needed first, and then pouring out the exact amount into the beakers, as the amounts poured in my experiments were only rough estimates, as the amount of heat lost if I had used this method would mean that my results all started at different temperatures. ...read more.

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