Excerpt from The Dental Register, 1871, Vol. 25
If these had been reserved for use in referring to the passage of liquids through membranous tissue, our thoughts would have been clearer. The gases obey the laws of gaseous dif fusion, just as they would, under the same physica... l condi tions, out of the body. When a liquid charged with carbonic acid is placed in a cylinder, and pressure is made on it by a piece of membrane stretched like a drumhead over a hollow piston, the acid escapes through the membrane. In like manner, when the venous blood, charged with carbonic acid, reaches the lungs, and the chest is expanded by the respira tory muscles, the atmosphere, with its pressure of fifteen pounds to the inch, rushes in, extends the membrane to its utmost stretch, and yielding to the pressure, the gas passes through the membrane into the cavity of the air-cell. This is simply obedience to the law of gaseous diffusion.
The act of expiration by no means empties the air-cells. They are as full at its close as at the completion of the in spiration. The inhaled air has usually a temperature lower than that of the lungs. In reaching the equilibrium, it ex pands, and the pressure thus made facilitates the passage of oxygen into the blood. The oxygen is thus steadily making its ingress, while the carbonic acid passes outward mainly during the inspiration. In both there is merely obedience to the law of diffusion.
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