Heat Retention with Varying Surface Area to Volume Ratios

Derek Rynd, Jeremy Kaplan, Jamie Samples, Andrew Schweighardt


Badgers with a large size and low surface area to volume ratio tend to live in colder climates. We investigated the effect of a low surface area to volume ratio on the ability of a badger to thermoregulate. No previous study has adequately recorded the relationship between a badger’s surface area to volume ratio and its ability to retain heat. We modeled badgers with two spheres of clay with different surface area to volume ratios to determine the rate at which they lost heat. The spheres of clay were exposed to cold temperatures, and the rates at which they lost heat were compared. Based on our results, we can conclude that large badgers with a low surface area to volume ratio lose heat at a slower rate than small badgers with a high surface area to volume ratio because a large surface area allows more heat to dissipate and a large volume provides extra insulation.


thermoregulation, surface-area/volume ratio, scaled, heat loss, retention

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