Don't waste your breath

Stephanie Farrell, Robert Hesketh, Kathryn A. Hollar, Mariano Savelski, Rachel Specht

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Our lungs are membrane system that allows the exchange of O 2, CO 2, and H 2O between the body and the air. When air is inhaled, oxygen is transported to the blood by diffusion through the alveolar membrane of the lungs. Carbon dioxide, a waste product produced by cells, is simultaneously removed from the blood by diffusion through this membrane to the air in the lungs, and is then exhaled. During breathing, the air in the lungs becomes saturated with water, and water is therefore removed from the body through respiration. Breathing also plays a role in heat transfer and thermal regulation, since heat transferred to the air in the lungs is removed during exhalation. We have developed a hands-on experiment to introduce freshman engineering students to chemical engineering principles through the exploration of the breathing process. The objectives of this module are (1) to analyze the lungs as a mass transfer device, (2) to use gas analysis to investigate the rate of O 2 consumption and CO 2 production, (3) to perform simple mass and energy balances on the lungs, (4) to prepare a simple process flow diagram, and (5) use a process simulator to perform mass and energy balances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2173-2179
Number of pages7
JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Event2002 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Vive L'ingenieur - Montreal, Que., Canada
Duration: Jun 16 2002Jun 19 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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