Chamber washout kinetics

All metabolic chambers act as 'mixing boxes' for respiratory gases and the incurrent flow of respiratory fluid (gas or water).  Unless flow rates are extremely high relative to chamber volume (in which case it may be difficult to attain a sufficent change in respiratory gas concentrations to measure accurately), the excurrent gas concentrations are integrated averages of the 'instantaneous' metabolic rate of the animal over time.   This is mostly irrelevant if metabolic rate is constant and you have plenty of time between baseline reference readings, but instantaneous changes (or reference readings) in metabolism produce asymptotic approaches to the new value, not a step change.   The washout kinetics of the chamber are crucial (along with how well a chamber is mixed) in determining the response time to changes in metabolic rates.

This window calculates the washout rates of theoretical perfectly-mixed chambers as a function of volume and flow rate.  The computed value is the time for X% of intial gas volume to be replaced -- akin to the 'half-life' concept for radioactive decay and related phenomena.

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