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Surface Area to Volume Ratio

Module Abstract

This simple activity conveys one of most profound aspects of nanoscience – that for a given volume of material the total surface area increases non-linearly as the volume is divided into smaller and smaller pieces.  This concept is being applied to creating better batteries and catalytic converters.  Students will measure the time it takes tablets broken into different numbers of pieces to dissolve.  Calculations of surface area and volume can also be performed.

Module Resources and Documents

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Module Information, Procedures and Resources

PowerPoint Slides 

Module alignment to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) & Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
NGSS Alignments Surface Area to Volume Ratio

List of Required Materials

Most necessary classroom materials for the experiment connected to this module are available to educators at no cost through our Nano-Link Program.  To be eligible to request materials simply create an account and fill in all the profile fields on your Profile.  Once you have done so, you will be able to download lab instructions and teacher guides and also request shipment of lab materials to you.  The full list of items needed for this module is below.  Those available through Nano-Link are marked with an asterisk.


*Alka-Seltzer tablets
Stir Sticks
Stop watch