Efficiency

The efficiency of a muscle is a measure of the degree to which the energy expended is converted into work, i.e.

efficiency = work/(total energy release) = work/(heat + work)

If we consider only the energy changes during and immediately after the contraction, the efficiency works out at about 0.4 for frog muscle and 0.8 for tortoise muscle. But if we include the recovery heat in the calculation, the lower values of 0.2 and 0.35 are obtained. These are maximum values, obtained by allowing the muscle to shorten at about one fifth of its maximum velocity. A. V. Hill's calculation of how efficiency varies with velocity of shortening is shown in Fig. 9.13. Notice that maximum efficiency occurs at a lower velocity than that at which maximum power output occurs. However both curves have fairly broad peaks so the difference between them may not be very important.

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