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Functions of the Respiratory System
  
DIgestive Tract Model Chart (9)by GreenFlames09 on Flickr

1. The Nose-
  • Draws air in through the nostrils to the pharynx.
2. Pharynx-
  • The throat.
  • Connects the nose to the larynx.
3. Larynx
  • Voice box
  • connects pharynx to trachea.
4. Trachea
  • Windpipe
  • Connects larynx to the bronchus.
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cartilageby jetheriot on Flickr

5. Bronchi
  • Main tubes run from trachea to bronchioles.
6. Bronchioles
  • Lead into lungs.
  • Made of smooth muscle.

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Normal lung: Alveoliby Pulmonary Pathology on Flickr

7. Alveoli
  • Air sacs in the lungs.
  • Where gas exchange takes place.
  • Smallest part of the respiratory system.
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lung illustrationby Joe Crawford (artlung) on Flickr

Lungs
  • The largest, most important organs in respiration and ventilation.
  • The right lung has three lobes and the left lung only has two.
  • The heart tucks in between the two lungs and into the left lung.
  • The diaphragm (not pictured), is a structure located beneath the lungs.  The major function of the diaphragm is assisting with breathing.
  • When breathing, the diaphragm will move.  During inspiration, the diaphragm moves downward and the lungs expand, filling with oxygen. During expiration, the diaphragm moves upward to a normal position, and carbon dioxide is forced out of the lungs.
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Around and Around We Goby peasap on Flickr

Gas Exchange:
  • During respiration, oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide is released.  This is because the partial pressure of oxygen in the lungs is higher than that of the blood, so oxygen diffuses into the blood.  Also, the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the blood is higher than the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the lung; therefore, carbon dioxide will diffuse into the lung to be released.
  • The same happens at a cellular level.  In red blood cells, the partial pressure of oxygen is low, and the partial pressure of carbon dioxide is high, meaning oxygen will flow in and carbon dioxide will flow out. 
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