Our experiment simulated
the effects of hypothermia on an individual while diving in cold
water. We performed tests using six different insulators. The
results of our experiment show that when wearing the proper insulator,
one's core body temperature will remain almost the same as when
not diving. Most of the graphs of the tests had a line that started
off with a steep downward slope and ended with a fairly constant
temperature. The results that followed this pattern came out
almost exactly as we predicted in our hypothesis. Aside from
these results, we were surprised to find that the results from
the tests with Crisco were much different than we had anticipated.
We predicted that as the bag is exposed to the cold water for
a longer time, the change would be less as the difference between
the two temperatures decrease. This explains the similar patterns
of the graphs. Although the temperatures varied between the tests,
the all around shape of the graphs was the same. The best insulator
that we used in our experiment was the fleece with the cotton
T-shirt, simulating a dry suit with an insulator. Closely following
the dry suit with insulator was the Crisco, simulating body fat,
and the fleece covered in plastic, simulating a dry suit. The
Crisco held the heat in the best because of the theory that blubber
retains heat very well in all under water mammals. A good example
of this is a whale. Whales are able to swim in sub zero temperatures
and still feel warm. The cause of this is blubber. Crisco is
like blubber when simulating underwater diving. The dry suit
maintained its heat well for two main reasons: 1) the fleece
around the plastic bag was waterproof, 2) the fleece was thick.
The dry suit with the cotton insulator worked well for three
reasons. The first and second reasons are the same as why the
dry suit did so well. The third reason is that the cotton T-shirt
was added to the test. We noticed that over all the T-shirt helped
retain 1.5 degrees of temperature inside the bag when using an
insulator with the fleece.
These results relate to scuba diving because the risk of hypothermia
is common when cold water diving, particularly at deeper depths.
As our experiment proved, a good insulator is necessary to maintain
the right core body temperature. When we tested the loss of heat
from the water in the plastic bag with no insulators, our experiment
proved that one needs an insulator to survive in cold water.
Although this might seem ridiculous, according to our experiment
the Crisco, simulating body fat retained the temperature of the
water inside of the bag. Another insulator that will work well
although more expensive, is a dry suit. Even better would be
to have even more insulators inside of the dry suit. When cold
water diving the wet suit, dry suit, and dry suit with insulators
would be the preferable way to withhold body heat.
If we were to redesign our experiment several factors would be
changed. We could use daphnia to conduct our experiment by measuring
their heartbeats after they were placed in the bag of 105-degree
water. This would not only be more realistic/scientific but would
be less messy. (Our experiment turned out to cause QUITE the
mess!) Another factor that we might change is using a wider range
of insulators for accuracy. This would provide us with more information
and the knowledge of materials that "trap" body heat
best. This change relates to the error in our experiment.
Although our experiment was very informative, there were some
errors. The most obvious one shows through in the graphs, exhibiting
little bumps where the temperature dramatically increases/decreases
for a short period of time. This was because it's very hard to
keep the temperature sensor steady when performing the test.
When the temperature sensor is moved, it could have been placed
in so called "hot" or "warm pockets." Although
there are some bumps in the graphs, the overall "line"
of the graph is correct. An example of this was the control and
wet suit graph. If you look you will see those small bumps. We
also noticed that when we started a test, the temperature might
have risen, there for creating an up ward slope for the first
We learned about what precautions one must take while diving,
and the outfits and insulators to wear when deep sea diving to
avoid hypothermia. The precautions that we learned about are
very important when diving: 1) you must wear the proper insulator
to dive. 2) There are natural insulators inside of one's body,
such as body fat. Also, we learned that although it may not seem
that body fat can maintain a desirable body temperature, it is
possible. An example of this is blubber, and how it keeps animals
that live in the water warm.
Throughout DEEP we learned many things. For one, we learned about
deep sea diving. Although the actual diving was not a part of
our experiment, through the process of DEEP we learned how to
scuba dive, and the physics of diving. We learned about Boyle's
Law, Charles' Law, Henry's Law, the laws of buoyancy,