This lab was intended to model cell size and discover why cells divide. It was proposed that cells divide because of combustion. This is not the case as it is not what was looked at in the experiment. Surface area of an object was compared to its volume and weight in this experiment. It was discovered that as volume increased the surface area to volume ratio decreased as did the surface area to weight ratio.
In this experiment cubes were studied as a model for cells which have a spherical shape. Cells get nutrients through the cell membrane which covers the surface area of the cell. Cells need to feed the entire volume of the cell. As the volume increases the surface area increases but not as fast. This means that the cell can't get the nutrients it needs as quickly as it would like to. To increase the surface area the cell can divide into two cells with more surface area and the same total volume. This increases the rate at which the cell can get nutrients.
This experiment had a few key weaknesses. Some of these weaknesses included the use of cubes rather than spheres, not a living cell. There may be other reasons for cells to divide other than cell size. For example, skin cells may divide because of a cut rather than just because they have increased in size. The experiment assumes that cells always take in nutrients and always divide.
A future experiment would be the study of real life cells and measuring their size when they divide.
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