Adaptation in the Lungs

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  • Adaptation in the Lungs
    • Diffusion Pathway
      • Capillaries one cell thick
      • Alveoli walls are very thin
        • Are easily damaged
      • Capillaries closely line the walls of the alveoli
      • Oxygen does not have far to diffuse so can do so quickly
    • Surface Area
      • The alveoli are very small and there are many
      • There is a larger exchange surface so more oxygen/CO2 can diffuse at once
    • Diffusion/concentration gradient
      • Ventilation maintains a medium
        • inhale air with higher concentration of oxygen
        • exhale air containing higher concentrations of CO2
      • Blood circulation maintains medium
        • Removal of blood containing higher concentrations of oxygen
      • Oxygen diffuses faster as there is a greater diffusion gradient
    • Capillaries are very narrow
      • Red blood cells are slowed - more time for diffusion
      • Only a few red blood cells can pass through at one time


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