The Spirometer can be used to perform a variety of experiments related to air flow and lung volume. The sensor handle can be held manually, or it can be attached to a tripod or stand using the threaded insert in the bottom of the handle. The sensor is composed of a removable Flow Head for easy cleaning and sterilization and a differential pressure transducer. The Spirometer can be used to perform a variety of tests, including:
- FEV (forced expiratory volume). FEV is the volume of air exhaled after a short period of constant effort. When this test is done over a one-second interval, it is known as FEV1.
- FVC (forced vital capacity). FVC is the volume of air exhaled by a forced maximal exhalation after a full inhalation.
- TV (tidal volume). TV is the volume of air inhaled and exhaled at rest.
Note: Vernier products are designed for educational use. Our products are not designed nor are they recommended for any industrial, medical, or commercial process such as life support, patient diagnosis, control of a manufacturing process, or industrial testing of any kind.
Here are a few examples of experiments that can be conducted with the Spirometer.
A student’s normal, resting breathing pattern is measured by a Spirometer. A graph of the data shows the student breathing in (inspiration) and breathing out (expiration). The graph shows typical results of the flow rate during a normal breath and a deep breath.
A student’s normal, resting breathing pattern is measured. A graph of the data shows the volume of air the student breaths in (inspiration) and breaths out (expiration). The overall process is referred to as ventilation. Tidal volume is the amount of air that a person breathes in with a normal breath.
Forced Vital Capacity (FVC)
In this activity, the student exhales forcefully and very quickly into the Spirometer, and then inhales. The graph of this event, shown here, allows the student to determine his/her forced vital capacity. The graph is a plot of lung volume (x-axis) vs. flow rate (y-axis). The data may also be examined to determine Forced Expiratory Volume after 1 second (FEV1).
Care and Maintenance
Do not wrap the cable tightly around the sensor for storage. Repeatedly doing so can irreparably damage the wires and is not covered under warranty.
Cleaning the Flow Head
The manufacturer recommends three methods, in the following order, with which to sterilize the Flow Head.
- Wash the detachable Flow Head in a dishwasher. It is dishwasher safe. This method provides the longest life for the Flow Head and is the method most recommended by the manufacturer.
- Cold sterilize the Flow Head with a surface disinfectant such as Cidex® or Technical Tincture of Green Soap®. These are available from medical supply or janitorial supply companies.
- Autoclave the Flow Head. This method provides the shortest life span for the Flow Head.
We recommend that you sterilize the Flow Head using one of these methods after each school day, at the very least, and that you always use the Spirometer with a disposable mouthpiece
The nose clips should be wiped clean between uses and soaked in a mild detergent after each experiment.