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Investigation to demonstrate how the surface area and volume affects the heat loss in animals.

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Investigation to demonstrate how the surface area and volume affects the heat loss in animals Planning Aim: To investigate how surface area and volume of an animal affects the amount of heat lost. Planning a simple procedure One standard test tube, one boiling test tube, and one centrifuge test tube will be filled with water at 40�C. A thermometer will be placed in each tube to measure the decrease in temperature of the water. This will be timed for 300 seconds using a stopwatch. The temperature of the water will be recorded every 30 seconds. Preliminary Work A prior experiment similar to the one outlined above, was carried out to determine the sizes of the test tubes. The surface area and volume for each tube used were * Standard Test tube Surface area = 2.69 cm2 Volume = 18 cm3 * Boiling Test tube Surface area = 5.73 cm2 Volume = 44.66 cm3 * Centrifuge Test tube Surface area = 2.26 cm2 Volume = 14.58 cm3 The surface areas to volume ratio are as follows: * Standard test tube 1:6.69 * Boiling test tube 1:7.79 * Centrifuge test tube 1:6.45 The experiment determined which tubes should be used, and the amount of water to be used. Equipment Standard Test tube Boiling test tube Centrifuge test tube Test tube rack Stopwatch Thermometers x 3 Measuring cylinder Kettle containing water Diagram Method 1. 8.9 cm� of water will be measured using a measuring cylinder. 2. The water will be heated to 40�C using a kettle. 3. ...read more.


Radiation does not need a material in order for it to take place. Radiation can travel through a vacuum as in the case of heat from the sun reaching the Earth and warming it enabling life to exist. The rate at which an object radiates heat depends on a number of factors. These factors include 1. The temperature of an object being heated 2. The type of surface of those objects 3. The temperature of the surrounding environment The sun transfers heat energy to animals by the third method of heat transfer as described above. Large animals have the ability to retain heat more easily than smaller animals. This is because as an animal increases in size, there is proportionately less skin area exposed relative to their total body mass and therefore, less heat loss through the skin (via pores) to the environment. This is called surface area to volume ratio. Smaller animals have a larger surface area to volume ratio. The surface area to volume ratio of an object is its surface area relative to its volume. The larger an animal, the smaller its surface area to volume ratio. Small animals have a large surface area to volume ratio lose and gain heat more quickly than a larger animal with a small surface area to volume ratio. This is important in temperature regulation. I predict from the above scientific knowledge that the centrifuge test tube will loose the most heat and the boiling test tube will loose the least heat in a given time. ...read more.


Evaluation The experiment was successful, the method used and the measurements obtained were accurate and reliable as the prediction was proven correct. A second reading was not taken as the results obtained were accurate and followed a pattern. There were no anomalous results. The method was suitable but to further improve the results of the experiment a number of steps could have been taken 1. A digital thermometer could be used as it would reduce human error and give more accurate results. 2. Using a digital stopwatch to time the investigation, as this would give a more accurate time and results 3. Cling film could be placed over the test tube to reduce the amount of heat loss and make it all more applicable to animals as animals are closed systems as opposed to having extremely large openings. The results were reliable, as the prediction was proven correct and it was fair test by using the same observer to observe the amount of heat lost, using a stopwatch, and measuring the amount of water accurately and placing the test tubes in the same environment, however the steps above (1-3) could have produced an even more accurate result. Further study, which would help support the conclusion, could involve investigating how the size and shape of an animal affects the amount of heat loss. It could also be investigated whether the sizes or shape of an animal was the most important factor in determining the amount of heat lost. GCSE science coursework - 1 - ...read more.

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