The Death of an Orange experiment

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The Death of an Orange experiment

Postby RogerSauer » Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:00 pm

In the "death of an orange" experiment, you are calculating the rate of heat loss of an orange. You start by heating the orange up to 38 degrees Celsius, and then cool it to 27 degrees Celsius in a cooler filled with water, and then a cooler filled with ice. What I want to know is: Why is an Orange used to represent a human body? (what similarities does an orange have to a human body that makes it able to be used in this experiment?) and Why does the experiment use an orange to represent a human body when the sizes between the two are so different? Thanks in advance!
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Project Question: My science experiment is the "Death of an orange." I am measuring the rate of heat loss with a orange heated to 38 degrees Celsius and then cooled to 27 degrees Celsius. I want to know why an orange is chosen to represent a body, and how the orange can represent a body if the sizes differ so greatly.
Project Due Date: October 22nd (Research plan is handed in on this date.)
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Re: The Death of an Orange experiment

Postby John Dreher » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:01 am

"Why is an Orange used to represent a human body?"

Welcome to the Forum.

You asked a very perceptive question. I believe that the goal of this project is to study heat loss and that the human body case is merely a "teaser" to make the topic appear more interesting. You are quite right that an orange is not a good model for a human body because of the differences in size and in composition. But the orange is a convenient object to begin to study the problem of heat loss between a solid body and its surroundings. One could extend the project, for example, by going on to experiment with larger and smaller fruits of (somewhat) similar structure, for example limes, tangerines, oranges, grapefruits, and cantaloupes, to investigate heat losses versus size. I'll leave other possibilities to your imagination...
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Re: The Death of an Orange experiment

Postby Craig_Bridge » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:24 pm

The anatomy of an orage has some interesting properties. The skin of an orange is fairly thick and is a reasonable seal for retaining fluids inside for long periods of time. The inner segments of the orange are contained in membranes that are a good seal to retain fluids. Oranges are approximately 86% water. Some of these properties make modeling their heat loss behaviors similar to dead mammals.
-Craig
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