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### Importance of Surface Area

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Date: 05/26/2001 at 00:53:09
From: Francine
Subject: The benefits of surface area

Hi Dr. Math!

I was just curious, why is surface area so important? What kinds of
things depend on surface area? I've heard of towels and how surface
area is important, but what else? ...in construction? I don't know.
Please tell me and give me a few examples.

Thanks!
```

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Date: 05/26/2001 at 22:17:26
From: Doctor Peterson
Subject: Re: The benefits of surface area

Hi, Francine.

Let's see ...

In construction, surface area affects planning (how much to buy) and
costs (how much to charge) in connection with such things as
wallboard, shingles, and paint.

In manufacturing you will have the same issues - say, the cost of
making boxes or printing, or sheet metal parts.

In designing, surface area enters into calculations of wind resistance
and drag in cars or airplanes, pressure and strength of materials.

The surface area exposed to air affects how fast something cools or
heats or dries out. Elephants, for example, need big ears to increase
their surface area for cooling purposes, so it's not only human
designers that have to do these calculations. Many objects have
complex shapes to increase their surface area: the inside of your
lungs, intestines, and brain, air cleaners, radiators - and towels, as
you mentioned. Others avoid flat shapes to minimize surface area
and avoid drying out: pine needles and cactus for example.

Many things you buy for home use are priced by surface area - or, if
not, you should figure out their cost per square foot to decide which
is the best buy: fabric, plastic wrap, and so on.

It looks like surface area is pretty important just about everywhere!

- Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
```

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Date: 05/26/2001 at 23:45:34
From: Francine
Subject: Re: The benefits of surface area

Hi!

Thanks a lot. It really helped me, and you're really smart! Well, I
just wanted to take this time to thank you for taking your time to

Take care, and I'll be sure to ask you more questions in the future!

Francine
```
Associated Topics:
High School Geometry
High School Polyhedra
High School Practical Geometry
High School Triangles and Other Polygons
Middle School Geometry
Middle School Polyhedra
Middle School Triangles and Other Polygons

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