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Surface Area to Volume Ratios Chapter 10: Cell Division

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Surface Area A measure of the number of square units needed to cover the faces or surfaces of a figure. Surface Area = Length x Width x # of sides

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Example of Surface Area A cube has 6 equal sides, so the Surface Area = 6 x L 2 Example: The length of one side of a cube is 0.5 cm. Calculate the Surface Area of the cube. Surface Area = 6 x L 2 = 6 x (0.5) 2 = 6 x 0.25 = 1.5 cm 2

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Volume Volume = Length x Width x Height The amount of space occupied by a three-dimensional object

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Example of Volume A cube has 6 equal sides, so the Volume = L 3 A cube has 6 equal sides, so the Volume = L 3 Example: The length of one side of a cube is 0.5 cm. Calculate the volume of the cube. Volume = L 3 = (0.5) 3 = 0.125 cm 3

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Example of Surface Area to Volume Ratio Surface Area 0.5 x 0.5 x 6 = 1.5 cm 2 Volume 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 = 0.125 cm 3 Ratio of Surface Area to Volume 1.5/0.125 = 12:1

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Surface Area to Volume Ratios Changes in the surface area to volume ratio are important in determining an organism’s size, and help explain some of the modifications seen in larger- bodied organisms. Imagine a cell shaped like a cube. As the length of the sides of a cube increases, its volume increases faster than its surface area, decreasing the ratio of surface area to volume. If a cell gets too large, its surface area is not large enough to get enough oxygen and nutrients in and waste out efficiently.

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