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All Mixed Up
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All Mixed Up

Credit: US Navy
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_070403-N-2259V-003_A_Sailor_watches_while_he_donates_blood_aboard_the_amphibious_assault_ship_USS_Tarawa_(LHA_1).jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

This young man isn’t sick, and he hasn’t been injured in an accident. In fact, he must be healthy or he couldn’t do what he’s doing. He’s donating blood.

Why It Matters

  • Donating blood is a good deed. It can literally save a life. People who have major surgeries, are in serious accidents, or become badly burned often need blood transfusions. In fact, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • People may receive whole blood or just certain blood components. After the young man above gives blood, the blood will be separated into its components. Whole blood is a mixture, so many of the components can be separated by physical processes. In fact, if you just let blood stand, some of it components will separate out.
  • Watch this short video to learn more about human blood and its components: 


Show What You Know

Read about blood donation at the linkbelow. Then answer the questions that follow.

  1. How much blood does the average adult body contain?
  2. Whole blood is a mixture that contains many other components. What type of mixture is whole blood?
  3. What components are suspended in whole blood? By volume, what percent of whole blood consists of these components? What is the general function of each of these components?
  4. What is plasma? By volume, what percent of whole blood is plasma? What type of mixture is plasma?
  5. Identify the solvent and solutes in plasma.
  6. What happens if a test tube of whole blood is left standing on a counter? Describe and explain what you would observe.
  7. Outline what happens to donated blood after it is collected. How long does it generally take to go from the donor to the person who receives it?


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