Surface Area to Volume Ratio: How does SA:V Ratio Affect Temperature Exchange Rate in Clay Models?

Halie Richey, Lexie Russell, Jason Oyler, Taylor Walton, Danielle Stewart


The surface area to volume ratio is the comparison of the amount of surface exposed to the environment compared to how much volume. Animals that live in hotter climates often times have a larger surface area to volume ratio than animals that live in colder climates. We hypothesize that if an animal has a smaller SA:V ratio, then it will lose heat slower than an animal with a larger SA:V ratio because less surface area is exposed with the smaller SA:V ratio. To test this hypothesis, we measured the rate in which each model lost internal heat after being exposed to 30°C. Our hypothesis was supported by the data that expressed that the cube with the greater SA:V ratio had the greatest temperature exchange rate of the three cubes at 0.287°C/minute. In nature, this supports why huge polar bears live in the tundra, and kangaroo rats find themselves calling the desert home.

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