The surface area of a pair of lungs is equal to that of a tennis court

09. Mar. 2016 • Lekárske vedy

The surface area of a pair of lungs is equal to that of a tennis court

Would you ever have thought that the area of human lungs is equal to that of a tennis court?

The lungs are a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located in the thorax. They are used for gas exchange between our blood and the air. To survive, our bodies need oxygen that we get from the air by breathing. Breathing also allows us to get rid the carbon dioxide that our blood contains and that is harmful to us. The respiratory tract can be divided into two functional parts. The upper respiratory tract has the task of heating and purifying the incoming air. The lower respiratory tract includes the lungs. Inhaled air passes through the nose and the pharynx into the trachea, which splits itself into two bronchi and therefore allows the air to enter each lung separately. The bronchi branch into smaller bronchi that evolve into alveoli. Bronchi tubes parallel many blood vessels that perform the respiratory gas exchange. A human adult probably has about 300 million bronchi that could cover an area of around 180m2. A tennis court has an area of 195,63 m2. Our lungs have such a large surface area because of the fact that in order to supply our bodies with oxygen, our air intake must have the speed of at least 160 liters per hour. The next time you play tennis, do not forget to breathe properly while playing sports.

This issue may be studied in the field of:

  • Medicine
  • Biology


Author: Zuzana Bogárová, FMFI UK, P-mat n.o.


Published by: ZČ

Translated by: Dorota Jagnesakova

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