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Published by Priscilla Ashwini

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Published by: Priscilla Ashwini on Sep 13, 2011
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Diffusion and human respiratory system

 Gaseous exchange occurs by a process of simple diffusion between the alveolar air and the deoxygenated blood in the capillaries.  .In the lungs most of the gaseous exchange occurs in tiny airs known as alveoli.  An alveolus is made of a single layer of flattened epithelial cells.

Adult human has around 480-500 million alveoli in their lungs. which gives a surface area for gaseous exchange of around 100m2 packed into your chest! .  The alveoli provide an enormous surface area for the exchange of gases in the human body.

The distance between them is only around 0. 106) .• • Alveoli’s walls are only one cell thick.5-1. microns. the capillaries are the same.5 μm (micrometres.

. Movement of gases in and out of the alveoli is mainly by diffusion.•  Blood is continuously flowing .through the capillaries past the alveoli. but the movement of air is a mass transport system. This continiuous flow mantains the concentration gradient on capilary side.

Exhalation= breathing air out. known as breathing: Inhalation= taking air into the chest.• • • • The exchange of gases at the alveolar surfaces in the lungs happens by passive diffusion. Moving air between the lungs and the external environmet is an active transport. .

. The intercostal muscles between the ribs also contract. raising the rib cage upwards and outwards. bronchi and bronchioles into the lungs to equalise the pressure inside and out. energy using process.    Inhalation is an active. The muscles around the diaphragm contract and as result it is lowered and flettened. so air moves in through the trachea.

When the pressure in the chest cavity is greater than that of the outside air. .   Normal exhalation is a passive process. through the bronchioles. bronchi and trachea to the outside air. air will move out of the lungs . The intercostal muscles also relax so that the ribs move down and in. The muscles surrounding the diaphragm relax so that it moves up into its resting dome shape. and the elastic fibres around the alveoli of the lungs return to their normal length.

The abdominal muscles contract forcing the diaphragm upwards. This is known as forced exhalation. causing exhalation. This increases the pressure in the chest cavity. .  The internal intercostal muscles contract. Coughing is an exaggerated form of forced exhalation which is used to force mucus out from the respiratory system. pulling the ribs down and in.

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