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Body deterioration

  1. Oct 5, 2006 #1
    I have a quick question about body deterioration. How would i go about calculating this. Its for a Chemistry Experiment but since it deals with bodies I figured that it should be put into the Bio section. Should i just take the difference in mass? Or how would i go about finding the rate. I have the whole experiment planed out if it needs to be shown. Will edit it in if needed.
    Thanks for looking,
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 5, 2006 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    Are you talking about decay processes in dead humans? Are you limiting only to microbial activity?
  4. Oct 5, 2006 #3
    The decay process in dead humans. Im testing preservation methods on flesh.
  5. Oct 6, 2006 #4

    jim mcnamara

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    Weight change is not going to work. You can think of flesh as a wet sponge left out in dry air - eventually, with no decay it loses water weight.

    One method:

    Anaerobic decay will evolve gases, for example hydrogen sulfide comes from breakdown of protein. Aerobic repsiration (decay) evolves carbon dioxide. So, the best strategy is to have an airtight container, through which you re-circulate a fixed volume of air. Measure the changes in the composition of the air over time by sampling it periodically, like every hour.

    Repeat the experiment at different fixed temperatures and you can get an idea of the relative rate of decomposition over time.
  6. Oct 6, 2006 #5
    Thank you very much this is exactly what i was looking for :smile:
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