UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
How does respiration work? How fast does respiration work?
Answer 1:

Respiration is basically the process of breathing. Respiration has two equally important components: (1) breathing in, or intake of oxygen-rich air, (2) breathing out, or exhaling air rich in carbon dioxide. Our bodies require oxygen to make energy inside of our cells. As our cells do work, they produce carbon dioxide. We have to get rid of this carbon dioxide because it is harmful in high amounts.
Carbon dioxide is like the human body's exhaust. Our lungs are the specialized organs where gas exchange takes place. Gas exchange means simply that one gas is exchanged for another in the lungs. In the lungs there are many finely branched tiny blood vessels (actually called capillaries) as we inhale oxygen-rich air, the oxygen in the air binds to the blood in the capillaries as they pass through the
lungs. Also, the blood unloads the carbon dioxide it is carrying as it passes through the lungs in the capillaries. So in the lungs, carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen in the blood. Then, the oxygen-loaded blood goes to the heart and the heart pumps the oxygen-loaded blood to the rest of the body. Gas exchange in the lungs is instantaneous, so it is all happening very very fast.
However, if you try to breath much faster than your normal breathing rate you'll probably make yourself pass out. The reason is that when we breathe faster than normal, we aren't actually exhaling all of the carbon dioxide that we need to. So we are slowly accumulating carbon dioxide the longer we breathe fast. After a couple of minutes of breathing fast like this your body will trigger you to lose
consciousness so that it can then regain control of your breathing rate and restore gas exchange to normal.

Answer 2:

Respiration is when we use oxygen to break down our food to give us energy to work and play and keep us warm.Sometimes respiration means mostly breathing and our lungs. Sometimes respiration means what happens in our cells when oxygen reacts with broken down food molecules in tiny factories in our cells called mitochondria.


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use