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Science Form 3

Unit 1 Respiration

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Unit 1 Respiration
1.1 Human Breathing Mechanism
1.2 Transport of Oxygen in the Human Body
1.3 The Importance of a Healthy Respiratory

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A. Human Respiratory System

1. Living organisms must be able to take oxygen

from the air and get rid of carbon dioxide to the

2. Gas exchange takes place through a gas

exchange surface, also known as a respiratory

3. Breathing is also known as external respiration.

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4. Breathing consists of two stages:
a. Inhalation - during which air is taken into the lungs.
b. Exhalation - during which air passes out of the lungs.

5. The breathing system or the human respiratory system

consists of the following structures or organs:
a. The nasal cavity
b. Trachea
c. Bronchus (plural: bronchi)
d. Bronchiole

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e. Lungs
i. Alveolus (plural: alveoli)

f. Rib cage

g. Diaphragm

h. The intercostal muscles

i. Internal intercostal muscles,
ii. External intercostal muscles.

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6. Flow of air into the lungs
a. Air is breathed in through the nose and enters
the nostrils.

b. The nostril leads to the nasal cavity where the air

is warmed up and moistened.
i. Hairs and sticky mucus trap particles inside the
nasal cavity.

c. The air then enters the trachea.

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d. The trachea branches into two bronchi.
i. Each bronchus leads directly into a lung.
ii. The bronchus branches into many smaller
tubes called bronchioles

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e. The air then passes through the bronchiole and comes
to alveoli
i. The human lungs have millions of alveoli
ii. The wall of the alveolus is only one-cell thick.
iii. It is thin , moist and is surrounded by a network of
iv. The exchange of respiratory gases, oxygen and
carbon dioxide,
occurs between
the alveolus and

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C. The Breathing Mechanism
1. The breathing mechanism is the physical changes
which occur in the respiratory system during

2. This mechanism involves

a. inhalation
(breathing in),
b. exhalation
(breathing out).

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3. During inhalation
a. Both the intercostal muscles and
the diaphragm contract.
b. The diaphragm moves
downwards , increasing the
volume of the thoracic (chest)
c. The intercostal muscles pull the
ribs up , expanding the rib cage
and further increasing the
volume of the thoracic cavity.
d. These actions lower the air
pressure in the alveoli.
e. Air from the outside then rushes
in through the nasal cavities,
trachea and lungs. The lungs
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4. During exhalation
a. the intercostal muscles relax causing the
rib cage to move downwards and

b. the muscles of the diaphragm relax and

the diaphragm curves upwards and
returns to its original dome shape.

c. These actions return the thoracic cavity

to its original volume.

d. The air pressure inside the lungs is now

higher than the atmospheric pressure

e. The lungs contract and the air is forced

out through the respiratory tract.

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A model representing how diaphragm
works in the human respiratory system.
i. The bell jar -
represents the
thoracic cavity.
ii. The glass rod -
represents the trachea.
iii. The balloons -
represent the lungs
iv. The rubber sheet -
represents the diaphragm.

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When the rubber sheet is pulled downwards:

i. The volume of the bell jar

ii. The air pressure inside
becomes lower than the
atmospheric pressure
iii. This condition allows the
air outside to enter the
glass tube, causing the
balloons to expand.
iv. This action represents the
process of inhalation.
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When the rubber sheet is pushed upwards:
i. The volume of the bell jar

ii. The air pressure inside the

bell jar becomes higher
than the atmospheric
pressure outside.

iii. The air inside the balloons is

forced out through the glass
tube. This causes the
balloons to deflate.

iv. This action represents the

process of exhalation.
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Composition of inhaled air and exhaled air:

21 16

0.03 4

78 78

less more

Variable 37 oC
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Comparison between inhalation and exhalation:

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A. Diffusion of Oxygen from the Alveolus to the capillaries

1. Diffusion is the movement of molecules

from a region where they are highly
concentrated to a region where they are less

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2. The following characteristics enable oxygen to
diffuse through the walls of the alveoli easily and
a. The alveoli have very large surface areas and
thin walls (only one-cell thick).
b. The inner surfaces of the alveoli are always
c. The outer surfaces of the alveoli are surrounded
by a network of blood capillaries. These
capillaries also have very thin walls
(only one-cell thick).
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3. Inhaled air is rich in oxygen.
4. The oxygen concentration in the alveolus is therefore
higher than the oxygen concentration in the
deoxygenated blood in the capillaries.

5. The difference in oxygen concentration makes the

oxygen diffuse easily into the blood capillaries.
a. Oxygen in the alveolus
diffuses through the
wall into the blood.
b. Carbon dioxide and
water vapour diffuse from
the blood into the alveolus.

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B. Oxygen Transport
1. Through the breathing process, oxygen from the air
flows into our bloodstream.
2. The heart then pumps the oxygenated blood to
supply oxygen to the body cells.
a. Body cells need oxygen for cell respiration.
b. Cell respiration is the oxidation of food to
release energy.

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3. Heamoglobin
a. It is the special carrier and it transports oxygen
from the lungs to all parts of the body.
b. b. Haemoglobin is a blood pigment.
c. It contains haem (or heme) (the part which is
made up of ferum )
and globin
(the protein part).
d. As the oxygen
concentration is high
in the alveolus, oxygen
diffuses into the capillaries.
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e. Oxygen then combines with haemoglobin in
the red blood cells and forms
f. Blood with oxyhaemoglobin is bright red in
g. It is carried to the heart to be distributed to
all the cells of the body.

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C. Diffusion of Oxygen from the Capillaries
to the Body cells.
1. Oxygenated blood is sent to all the cells in the body by
a vast network of blood vessels.

a. When blood reaches the body cells, oxyhaemoglobin

is broken down into haemoglobin and oxygen.

b. The oxygen then diffuses through the walls of the

capillaries into the cells.

c. Oxygen is then used to oxidise food to release carbon

dioxide during cell respiration.
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A. Healthy Respiratory System
1. Our respiratory system is protected by a
layer of cilia and glands which secrete mucus.
2. Our lungs are in direct
contact with the air we
3. The pollutants in the
can cause damage to our
respiratory system.
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B. Effects of Harmful Substances
1. Nicotine in cigarettes
a. Stimulates the production of cells in the
trachea and lungs and leads to lung cancer.
b. Narrows and hardens the blood vessels.
This affects blood
flow and causes
heart attacks.
c. Leads to addiction
as nicotine is a drug.

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2. Tar in tobacco
a. blackens the lungs.
b. The walls of the lungs thicken and this
makes respiration difficult.
c. Tar is carcinogenic and can cause lung

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3. Nitrogen dioxide in cigarette smoke and from
motor vehicles and industries

a. dissolves in the mucus layer on the walls of

the trachea and alveolus.
b. It forms an acid which can destroy lung
c. In big towns, the reddish-brown layer in the
atmosphere is due to
the presence of
nitrogen dioxide.

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Nitrogen dioxide, NO2, is a brownish-red gas at
room temperature.
Nitrogen dioxide is a poisonous gas

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4. Sulphur dioxide

a. Sulphur dioxide is acidic.

b. It is released when fuels which contain

sulphur are burnt.

c. Cigarette smoke and smoke from

factories have a high sulphur dioxide

d. Sulphur dioxide is very soluble in the

alveoli. It forms an acid which destroys
the lungs.
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5. Carbon monoxide

a. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas which is produced

when organic fuels are burnt.

b. Most of the carbon monoxide in the atmosphere

comes from vehicles and factories which use
charcoal, petrol and diesel as fuel.

c. Carbon monoxide combines with

haemoglobin inthe red blood cells
and prevents oxygen from
combining with haemoglobin.

d. Our cells become deprived of

oxygen and this results in death.
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6. Dust and dirt

a. Dust and dirt are released to the atmosphere

by factories and motor vehicles.
b. The presence of dust and dirt in our lungs
hinders the exchange of gases.

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C. Diseases of the Respiratory System
1. Asthma

a. The primary cause of asthma is due to airborne irritants such as

pollutants and dust.

b. It may also caused by genetic factors and food allergy .

c. Asthma is a condition in which

the tubes of the lungs become

d. This is because the air tubes are

narrower and partially blocked.

e. More and thicker mucus is

secreted into the tubes.
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2. Influenza

a. This disease is caused

b. by viruses which attack
the mucus membranes
in the respiratory system.

b. The influenza virus spreads through

tiny droplets in the air.
Blocked noses, teary eyes, giddiness,
headaches, aches in the limbs,
coughs and fever are some of
the symptoms of the disease.
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3. Pneumonia

a. Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses and

chemical substances in polluted air.
b. The trachea and alveolus are attacked by
bacteria or viruses.
The lungs are filled with
pus and fluid and the
patient will suffer from
chest pains, fever and
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4. Tuberculosis (TB)

a. This disease is caused by bacterial infection

(Mycobacterium tuberculosis) which are carried
by water droplets and dust in the air.
b. Infection occurs when the water droplets and
dust are inhaled by
other people.
c. The patient suffers
prolonged coughs and
spits out blood in the
end stages.
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5. Bronchitis

a. Bronchitis is caused
by viral infections.

b. Bronchitis makes a
person cough and
a lot of mucus.

c. The bronchus becomes swollen and the patient feels pain in the
chest. feels pain in the chest.

d. Bronchitis causes colds and phlegm.

e. This disease makes respiration and gaseous exchange difficult.

Patients who smoke find it hard to recover.

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6. Emphysema

a. This disease is linked to

smokers and people who
work in dusty areas such
as in mines and quarries.

b. The alveoli expand and burst.

c. The lungs become less elastic.

d. The thickened layer of scar prevents oxygen from

diffusing into the blood. As a result the patient
experiences breathing difficulties.

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7. Lung cancer

a. Many cancer cases are a result of smoking cigarettes.

b. Air polluted with carcinogens from factories and vehicle

emissions, dust and asbestos also cause cancer.

c. Lung cancer is difficult to cure.

d. It is important that we keep

away from these pollutants.

e. Lung cancer is not contagious

and cannot spread from a patient
to other people.
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D. Improving Air Quality
1. Pollution is mainly caused by irresponsible
human behaviour and improperly planned

2. We must be responsible for preserving and

conserving air quality.

3. Air pollution interferes with the respiratory

process. It can cause respiratory diseases which
can be fatal.
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Chemicals found in cigarette

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Walk or cycle instead of using your car.

Use public transport Service your vehicle regularly - this can reduce
pollution and make it cheaper to run.
instead of taking the car
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Don’t Smoke
Stop open burning Opening up the windows to
allow indoor air circulation

Car pool

Bring In Some Nature

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