Investigation: Body Temperature Regulation

Investigation: Body temperature regulation Guiding question: To what point does fur determine an arctic foxes wellbeing in the wild and how much protection against extreme temperatures does it really offer. Introduction: In this experiment I will be attempting to justify my findings that I have gathered over the course of a few different experiments. What I have been gathering information over is the suitability of an arctic foxes fur coat. I have gone about finding this out by simulating a model of an arctic foxes fur coat through many trying and stressful conditions.

The way I did so was by firstly dividing the experiments into three different steps. The first step entailed me attempting to put my model arctic fox in sub zero temperatures, as it would be in real life. What I did however was to put two models in the fridge. The first was a simple test tube covered with cotton, while the second had a space of cool air between the fur and the test tube simulating the space that would be created when a fox puffs out its fur almost like when we get goose pimples.

The second experiment was designed to signal whether it changes anything to the temperature of my two test tubes if there is wind or not. I also did that same experiment of wind with my test tubes both drenched with water, again this would simulate a real life situation such as rain and wind or even snow and wind. Lastly I decided to put my test tubes (or arctic foxes! ) at normal room temperature to determine how much the tests really did influence the temperatures, in this way I could see what exactly was going on in terms of the cooling curve. Hypothesis:

I expect the following experiment to give me a rough enough idea of arctic foxes protective measures and to help me better understand the full extent of their heat retaining abilities. I expect that my experiment has a great deal of flaws yet I also believe that there will be enough raw data to accurately determine a positive result. A positive result would be one that accurately gives me an idea of how to answer my guiding question. If I were to be more specific I would say that in my opinion the test tube with the hot air trapped between the cotton and the actual test tube will make no difference over the one with only cotton around it.

I base this upon the theory that the air temperature between the test tube and the cotton will quickly loose any of its heat and will become redundant. I can prove this by continuing with the experiments I have designed to determine just that. Lastly I also believe that when I will confront the results of my two experiments, the one with only the fan and the other with the fan and the wet cotton I will find that the later will be much more susceptible to the cold and its temperature will decrease much more, due to the water that will constrict its ability to retain heat.

Apparatus: * Two test tubes of equal dimensions * Cotton wool to simulate fur on an arctic fox * Pieces of wood that create a space of air between the tube and the wool * Timer to accurately give me a time p for which to conduct my experiment * Fan to simulate wind * Thermometer to place within test tube which will accurately calculate the temperature of the water held inside it. * Kettle to boil the water before placing it inside the test tube * Selotape to keep the cotton in place Fridge to simulate the sub zero temperatures that arctic foxes must live through Evaluation of apparatus: I think that the apparatus that I used are all extremely good and effective with a few key exceptions. Firstly the cotton is not quite the same material as the fur that an arctic fox uses, meaning that the experiment will not be true to real life. It will only give me a rough idea of the concepts of heat regulation within this particular species of animal, but that will be enough to answer the guiding question.

Another piece of apparatus that does not match exactly my requirements is the fan seeing as it only produces a certain amount of wind and in only one direction meaning that I will have to continually turn my test tube in order to keep the experiment fair and equal. Experiment one: In this experiment I will be placing my test tube’s at room temperature in order to determine before starting the other experiments what the cooling curve would be without it being put through any abnormal conditions.

As I can see through the graphs above the temperature decreases very slowly from the initial 70 degree starting temperature. What happens is that test tube one and two slowly start to disconnect form each other, seeing as test tube one retains heat more effectively. I will now see whether the results will be drastically different with my other experiments. I have also noticed that the test tube 1 has a greater heat retaining ability that may well be due to the layer of air held between it and the test tube. To further prove this theory I will have to continue with my other experiments.

Experiment two: In this experiment I have put my two test tubes inside the fridge in order to simulate the sub zero air conditions. In my hypothesis I said that I thought there would be no difference between test tube one and two. In the first experiment it was proved otherwise, yet in the following experiment there will be a greater temperature change so the differences in temperature will become more evident as time goes on. As you can see in the following graph there is a much more significant difference between test tube one and test tube two.

This shows that so far the space of hot air between the cotton wool and the test tube is beginning to work much more effectively. This is completely against what I initially said in my hypothesis, where I clearly stated I thought It would make no difference. However if you look carefully at this gathering of information you are able to see that the results start to separate from each other much more significantly than the first experiment this shows that the more drastic the temperature the more it helps to have that layer of hot air to protect and keep the ‘arctic fox’ warm. Experiment three:

This is the most important experiment, in my opinion to determine to what extent an arctic foxes fur helps keep out the cold. This is because I will be keeping the test tubes at room temperature while placing a fan in front of it to simulate wind and the cold wind that comes with that. It is not as drastic as my previous experiment but it is just as important. I expect to see results that are of a higher temperature than the last experiment, but I also expect the difference between the two test tubes to increase seeing as test tube 2 is much better equipt against this kind of heat and temperature difference.

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