Vernier Software and Technology
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Oxygen Extraction by the Lungs

Figure from experiment 23 from Human Physiology with Vernier


Oxygen is required for cell metabolism. During inhalation air is brought into the lungs, where oxygen is extracted. Oxygen passes into the bloodstream at the membrane between the alveoli and pulmonary capillaries. The quantity of oxygen extracted from the air is dependent on the composition of the air and on the efficiency of the lungs. The percent concentration of oxygen in air on earth is almost uniformly 21% between sea level and the stratosphere. At sea level the density of the air (molecules/unit volume) is greater than it is at higher altitudes, allowing a greater number of molecules to be inhaled with each breath.

In this experiment, you will observe the quantity of oxygen that is absorbed from inhaled air by measuring the concentration of oxygen remaining in exhaled air. Successive breaths will further lower the oxygen concentration, allowing you to observe the efficiency of oxygen extraction by the lungs at lower oxygen concentrations.


In this experiment, you will

  • Measure the concentration of exhaled oxygen.
  • Observe the efficiency of oxygen extraction by the lungs as the inhaled oxygen concentration is reduced.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Human Physiology with Vernier »

Human Physiology with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Warming Function of Nasal Passageways
2Effect of Vascularity on Skin Temperature Recovery
3Heart Rate as a Vital Sign
4Heart Rate and Exercise
5Heart Rate Response to Baroreceptor Feedback
6Effect of Coughing on Heart Rate
7Blood Pressure as a Vital Sign
8Blood Pressure and Exercise
9Diurnal Blood Pressure Variation
10Heart Rate and Blood Pressure as Vital Signs
11Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, and Exercise
12Analyzing the Heart with EKG
13Introduction to EMG
14ANeuromuscular Reflexes (with Accelerometer)
14BNeuromuscular Reflexes (without Accelerometer)
15Muscle Function Analysis
16Grip Strength Comparison
17Grip Strength and Muscle Fatigue
18EMG and Muscle Fatigue
19Lung Volumes and Capacities
20Respiratory Response to Physiologic Challenges
21Analysis of Lung Function
22Oxygen and Aerobic Metabolism
23Oxygen Extraction by the Lungs
24Effect of "Dead Space" on Oxygen Exchange

Experiment 23 from Human Physiology with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Human Physiology with Vernier</i> book cover

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