Exchange of Materials Quiz

Do you know how oxygen enters the lungs?

Good Luck!


How are Alveoli Adapted for Gas Exchange?

  1. The wall of each alveolus is only one cell thick, this reduces the distance for diffusion.
  2. Alveoli have a large surface area to volume ratio which increases the surface area available for diffusion.
  3. The walls of alveoli are moist which allows gases to dissolve, improving the rate of diffusion.
  4. The walls of alveoli are permeable, allowing substances to pass through them.
  5. The alveoli are surrounded by capillaries, these provide the carbon dioxide and remove the oxygen.

What is the Function and Structure of Alveoli?

Alveoli are found in the lungs where they are responsible for the gaseous exchange that we need to survive. We primarily exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide in order to perform aerobic respiration which gives us the energy we need to grow, reproduce and repair our tissues.

Alveoli are one of many types of tissues that are adapted to have a high surface area to volume ratio which is calculated with the following equation:

Surface Area / Volume

The main benefit of having a high surface area to volume ratio is increasing the rate of diffusion by creating a larger area where diffusion can take place. Another place where you can see this in action is in root hair cells which are tasked with exchanging nutrients with the soil.

How are alveoli adapted for gas exchange

Take a look at the diagram on the right which shows the structure and function of an alveolus (the singular form of alveoli).

We hope you have enjoyed this Exchanging Materials Quiz and have learned more about the adaptations of alveoli. 

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