Conceptual Physics (12th Edition)

Published by Addison-Wesley
ISBN 10: 0321909100
ISBN 13: 978-0-32190-910-7

Chapter 12 - Think and Explain - Page 242-243: 79


It is important for the lungs to have a large surface area, because this allows for efficient oxygen absorption by the oxygen-depleted blood in the walls of the lungs. The large surface area is possible because the inside of the lungs is like the surface of a sponge. As compared to a smooth surface, this spongy design has much more surface exposed to incoming air.

Work Step by Step

This is discussed on page 238. This is similar to the reasoning behind the elephant's large ears.
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