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PT3 Science Chapter 18: Respiration

18.1 The Human Breathing Mechanism

1. What is Respiration?
The chemical process whereby energy is released from glucose or other simple substances is
known as Respiration.
2. In cellular respiration, glucose is combined with oxygen in the cells to release energy.
3. The process which our body takes in oxygen from atmosphere and release carbon
dioxide is known as Breathing (Exchange of gases).
4. The structure of the human respiratory system.

a. Nasal Cavity
b. Throat / Pharnyx
c. Trachea
d. Lungs
e. Bronchi
f. Bronchioles
g. Diaphragm
h. Intercostal Muscles
i. Ribs
j. Alveoli
5. Flow from air from the atmosphere to the lungs.
a. The air enters the nose through both Nostrils.
i. The walls of nostrils are lined with hairs to trap dust particles in the
b. From the Nostrils, air enters the Nasal Cavity.
i. The Nasal Cavity secretes Mucus , which is a slimy substance
that traps bacteria and other foreign particles in the inhaled air.
c. From Nasal Cavity, air enters the Trachea.
i. C-shaped Cartilages keep trachea open therefore it does not collapse.
d. The Trachea branches into left and right bronchus. Each Bronchus goes into
a lung. Then each bronchus branches into smaller tubes called Bronchioles.
e. The bronchioles end in many tiny air sacs called Alveoli (Alveolus in plural).
i. The Alveoli is surrounded by blood capillaries.
ii. Gas exchange takes place in the lungs by Diffusion.
f. The passage of air in the human respiratory system can be summarized as

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PT3 Science Chapter 18: Respiration


Nasal Cavity





6. An alveolus has the following adaptations to allow it to exchange gases effectively.

a. It has a very large surface area when compared to its volume.
b. It has walls which are very thin and elastic.
c. It is surrounded by a network of blood capillaries.
d. It is moist.
7. The Intercostal Muscles move the ribs up and down during breathing.
8. The Diaphragm lies at the base of the thoracic cavity , and also separates the
thoracic cavity from the abdomen .
9. Structure of lungs.

a. The lungs are made up of bronchioles, alveoli and blood capillaries.

b. The lungs are protected by a bony structure called the Rib Cage.
i. A human being has 12 pairs of ribs.
c. The Thoracic Cavity houses the lungs.
10. The breathing Mechanism
a. Inhalation the process of taking air into the lungs;
Exhalation the process of expelling carbon dioxide from the lungs into

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PT3 Science Chapter 18: Respiration

The external intercostal muscles contract.
The rib cage moves upward and outward.
The diaphragm contracts and flattens.
The volume of the thoracic cavity
The air pressure in the thoracic cavity
Air from the surroundings enters the lungs.

The external intercostals muscles relax.
The rib cage moves downward and inward.
The diaphragm relaxes and curves upward.
The volume of the thoracic cavity
The air pressure in the thoracic cavity
Air is forced out of the lungs.

18.2 Transport of Oxygen in the Human Body

1. The transport of oxygen involves the following processes.
a. The Diffusion of Oxygen from alveoli into the blood capillaries.
b. The transport of oxygen by red blood cells.
c. The diffusion of oxygen from the blood capillaries into the cells.
2. The heart, blood vessels (Veins or Arteries) and blood capillaries make up the Blood
Circulatory System.
3. Blood vessels from lungs carry blood rich in oxygen to the rest of the body for
4. Blood vessels also carry blood in low in oxygen from the rest of the body back to the
lungs after respiration.
5. The concentration of oxygen in alveoli is higher than the concentration of oxygen in
the capillaries. It is reverse for the concentration of carbon dioxide.
Oxygen Content
Carbon Dioxide Content
a. The difference in oxygen concentration in these two parts causes a diffusion
of the gas through the thin, moist walls of the alveoli and capillaries.
b. Once the capillaries are rich with oxygen, they pass the oxygen to the cells in
the various parts of the body.

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PT3 Science Chapter 18: Respiration

6. Oxygen is not soluble in blood or even less soluble at body temperature (37 C).
7. Oxygen combines easily with Haemoglobin which is a special respiratory pigment in
the red blood cells, to form Oxyhaemoglobin.
18.3 The Importance of a Healthy Respiratory System
1. Smoking is very harmful to the respiratory system.
a. Three most hazardous chemicals Tar, Nicotine and Carbon Monoxide.
b. High temperature of the smoke may harm body cells.
c. Smoking is the most preventable single cause of death in the world.
d. Tobacco smoke is the most important risk factor for diseases shown as below:
i. Emphysema
ii. Heart Diseases
iii. Asthma
iv. Bronchitis
v. Pneumonia
vi. Lung cancer
e. Tar is a mixture of many toxic chemicals. It contains of
i. Carcinogens they cause cancer.
f. Nicotine in the tobacco causes an addiction to smoking.
g. Carbon Monoxide highly poisonous gas, reduce the amount of oxygen in
the blood.
h. Sulphur Dioxide acidic and damages lung tissues.
2. Industrial Wastes other harmful substances that may enter our respiratory system.
a. Cement dust, coal dust, sulphur dioxide and asbestos dust.
3. Pollutants from motor vehicles (carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and
hydrocarbons) are also harmful.
4. Pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen can directly or indirectly cause Haze.
a. Haze can cause throat irritation and inflammation of the upper respiratory
tract which, in turn, cause breathing difficulties.
5. Asbestos dust is also a carcinogen which causes lung cancer.
6. Bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms which produces toxins to cause infections
that affect respiratory system.
7. Improving the quality of air
a. Education to inculcate good practices.
b. Publicity through mass media.
c. Campaigns and contests to increase awareness.
d. Forums and seminars to inform the public, and exchange ideas and
e. Law and enforcement to catch the culprits .

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