Instructional Materials in Physics and Astronomy


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A Physical Science Module for Bioscience Students
Project Address: PSMBS, 213 Ferguson Hall, University of Nebraska,
Lincoln, NE 68588.


The supervision of the complicated task of managing your body's energy resources is laid to many ingenious systems, both chemical and physical, in your body. One group of such control systems keeps the temperature of the body relatively stable despite a wide range of variety and intensity of the energy conversion and utilization processes which occur there.

For example, increase in thermal stimulation of body temperature sensors may result in secretion of water by the sweat glands which in turn cools the skin surface and increases the heat outflow. In another scenario, thermal stimulation can initiate stricturing of certain blood vessels, for example in the extremeties. This shifts the blood flow pattern to levels more removed from the skin's surface, thereby increases the effective thickness of the heat conduction barrier, the body's skin, and maintains interior temperature.

It is by the suitable combination of such unconscious activities, combined with our own efforts which are prompted by consciousness of thermal comfort, that our body temperature is held fixed. The purpose of this module is to explore this regulating system.