How are the alveoli designed to maximize the exchange of gases?


The human respiratory tract is made up of the nostril, larynx, nasal chamber, pharynx, trachea, epiglottis, alveoli, bronchioles, bronchi and lungs. Within the lungs, the oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide waste through millions of microscopic sacs known as alveoli.

  • The oxygen inhaled diffuses into the capillaries of the lungs, binds to the hemoglobin and is pumped into the bloodstream.
  • The carbon dioxide from the blood diffuses through the alveoli and is expelled by exhalation.
  • The alveoli are thin-walled and richly supplied with a network of blood vessels to facilitate the exchange of gases between blood and the air-filled in alveoli.
  • They have a balloon-like structure that provides maximum surface area for the exchange of gases.

Articles to Explore:

  1. What are the blood vessels that connect arteries to veins called?
  2. How are the lungs designed in human beings to maximize the area for the exchange of gases?
  3. What are the structure and function of alveoli?

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