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Investigation of Surface Area: Volume Ratio and its effect on Body Temperature

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Investigation of Surface Area: Volume Ratio and its effect on Body Temperature Introduction There are many factors that determine how quickly or slowly heat is lost. Some of the factors are as follows: amount of water, shape, temperature and surface area to volume ratio. The aim of this investigation is to examine how variations in surface and volume ratios in organisms lead to variations in heat loss. In theory a larger object should lose heat more slowly than a smaller object will as the larger object has a lower surface area to volume ratio than the small one so the heat will have further to travel. An example is the robin. In the winter the robin fluffs up into a spherical shape to give itself a smaller ratio so it retains heat more efficiently. In the summer it makes its body sleek and thin, giving itself a larger ratio so it loses heat more easily. In this investigation a 100-ml flask, a 500-ml, a 300-ml, a 200-ml and a 75-ml flask will be used. Their surface area to volume ratio can worked out by dividing surface area by volume: a) 100 ml flask - 115/100 = 1.15:1 b) ...read more.


500 ml: 74-66.5/15 at 0.5 degrees per minute Analysis In my prediction I stated that the 100-ml flask would lose heat 2 times more quickly than the 500-ml flask, and the rest are in the middle. The results to my heat loss per minute calculations back up this prediction as the heat loss per minute of the 100 ml flask was 1 degree centigrade whereas the heat loss per minute of the 500 ml beaker was 0.5 degrees centigrade Conclusion: My results show that as Surface Area: Volume goes up the heat-loss rate goes down. This means the 75ml beaker lost more heat in the same amount of time than the 200ml beaker, and the 200ml beaker lost more heat than the 500ml beaker in the same time and so on. My results also show that as the water gets cooler it losses heat slower. These results support my plan and also show me other things I didn't mention in my plan. All my results support my conclusions and I don't have any results which don't "fit in" with the rest of the experiment. These results are as reliable as I could make due to restrictions I had, E.G. time limits, and the materials used, the results may have had a degree of inaccuracy. ...read more.


This error occurred because the timing of the 100 ml test tubes began too long after the beaker had been removed from the water heater. My results were very reliable as all variables were considered and the temperature readings were taken every minute exactly. I would make the following improvements on the experiment: 1) Set up two beakers of each volume at the same time. In my experiments half of the beakers were done one day and on the next day the other half of the beakers were done. This meant that a direct comparison was not achieved as the room temperature on the first day differed from that of the second day. 2) Use apparatus that measures water with more precision. The beakers that we used did not have very accurate markings on and so it was possible that we put too much or too little water in. 3) Heat the beakers above 60 degrees as they lose heat quite rapidly and so the start off temperature will not be 60 degrees unless you heat the water to a higher temperature. If I was going to investigate further I would try different sized beakers. I would also investigate other factors that affect heat loss such as shape of object. I would also investigate how different air temperatures cause differentiation in heat loss. ?? ?? ?? ?? Alastair Binding 28/06/01 3 ...read more.

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