Analytic Essay

 

 

 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 few seconds.


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,

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