Notes on "Heat Loss from a Newtonian Animal"

TitleNotes on "Heat Loss from a Newtonian Animal"
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1974
AuthorsBakken GS, Gates DM
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology

We feel that the biological literature should follow the lead of a number of recent authors of heat transfer texts and omit the term "Newton's law." The use of linearized heat transfer relations is generally designated by stating that an overall heat transfer coefficient or the electrical analog representation of heat flow was used. Kleiber's (1972) observation on the similarity of linearized heat transfer relations and Ohm's law is consistent with this usage. Following one of these accepted engineering usages in the biological literature would eliminate confusion and much needless debate in the literature, and clearly indicate that the linearized convection and radiation relations called "Newton's law" are not laws, but rather convenient approximations valid under a limited range of conditions. We would hope that this would emphasize the use of proper heat transfer theory in analyzing animals, and that the development of current theory has been the work of dozens of physicists and engineers, which continues to the present day in the case of convection.