Thursday, November 28, 2013

Size matters

Just a friendly piece of advice before everyone stuffs down all that turkey tonight: remember, remember, the square-cube of November! By which I mean the square-cube law. In case this whole post isn't arbitrary enough.

What is the square-cube law, you may ask?

*cricket sounds*

Well, dear reader (singular, by which I refer to myself)! I shall tell you anyway. It'll be our sciencey factoid of the day. Meh, give or take.

If an object increases in size x, then in proportion its area increases x2 while its volume x3. That's the square-cube law.

Say we have an object with area 1cm2 and volume 1cm3. Now we double the size of the object. This means the object's area will have increased from 1cm2 to 4cm2 (quadrupling) while its volume will have increased from 1cm3 to 8cm3 (octupling). This is an example of the square-cube law.

Basically, the volume increases more than the area for the same increase in size.

Now, strength is dependent on area, while weight is proportional to volume. Thus, an object bigger than its original size will weigh more but it might not have enough strength to support its own weight.

In other words, don't eat too much, or you may find yourself a few sizes too big!

Happy Thanksgiving! :-)

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