Alveolar oxygen diffusion

Submitted by Juli Uhl on

The figure shows:
● Alveoli permeable to oxygen (O2) next to a blood vessel
● The concentration of O2 in the alveoli and blood vessel when a person first inhales
● Oxygen molecules represented by white circles
● One oxygen molecule labeled “X”

After the initial conditions shown above, the system rapidly reaches equilibrium where there is the same concentration of oxygen molecules in the alveoli and the blood vessel. Where would you predict the oxygen molecule labeled “X” will be found just before equilibrium is reached?
A. In the alveoli
B. In the capillary
C. Cannot predict

Explain your reasoning about where the oxygen molecule labeled “X” would be located just before equilibrium is reached.

Where would you predict the oxygen molecule labeled “X” would be located after equilibrium is reached?
A. In the alveoli
B. In the capillary
C. Cannot predict

Explain your reasoning about where the oxygen molecule labeled “X” would be located after equilibrium is reached.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (DUE grants: 1438739, 1323162, 1347740, 0736952 and 1022653). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.