Skip to Main Content

Human Anatomy & Physiology Laboratory OER

Materials to accompany KINS 2511 and KINS 2512 Human Anatomy and Physiology labs.


  1. Define, identify, and determine values for the respiratory volumes (inspiratory reserve volume [IRV], tidal volume [TV], expiratory reserve volume [ERV], and residual volume [RV]).

  2. Define, identify, and determine values for the respiratory capacities (inspiratory capacity [IC], functional residual capacity [FRC], vital capacity [VC], and total lung capacity [TLC]).

  3. Perform spirometry on virtual patients to perform pulmonary function tests and diagnose pulmonary diseases.


  • Models
    • None. Review Module 9 structures. 
  • Videos
    • None
  • Virtual Lab on McGraw Hill
    • Online lab: Pulmonary Function Tests. 
  • OpenStax Human Anatomy and Physiology textbook


Pulmonary air volumes and capacities 

Respiratory volume is the term used for various volumes of air moved by or associated with the lungs at a given point in the respiratory cycle. There are four major types of respiratory volumes: tidal, residual, inspiratory reserve, and expiratory reserve (Figure below). 

  • Tidal volume (TV) is the amount of air that normally enters the lungs during quiet breathing, which is about 500 milliliters. 

  • Expiratory reserve volume (ERV) is the amount of air you can forcefully exhale past a normal tidal expiration, up to 1200 milliliters for men. 

  • Inspiratory reserve volume (IRV) is produced by a deep inhalation, past a tidal inspiration. This is the extra volume that can be brought into the lungs during a forced inspiration. 

  • Residual volume (RV) is the air left in the lungs if you exhale as much air as possible. The residual volume makes breathing easier by preventing the alveoli from collapsing. 

Respiratory capacity is the combination of two or more selected volumes, which further describes the amount of air in the lungs during a given time. 

  • Total lung capacity (TLC) is the sum of all of the lung volumes (TV, ERV, IRV, and RV), which represents the total amount of air a person can hold in the lungs after a forceful inhalation. TLC is about 6000 mL air for men, and about 4200 mL for women. 

  • Vital capacity (VC) is the amount of air a person can move into or out of his or her lungs, and is the sum of all of the volumes except residual volume (TV, ERV, and IRV), which is between 4000 and 5000 milliliters.

  • Inspiratory capacity (IC) is the maximum amount of air that can be inhaled past a normal tidal expiration, is the sum of the tidal volume and inspiratory reserve volume. 

  • Functional residual capacity (FRC) is the amount of air that remains in the lung after a normal tidal expiration; it is the sum of expiratory reserve volume and residual volume. 

A spirometer can be used to measure lung volumes and capacities. Spirometry test results can be used to diagnose respiratory diseases or determine the effectiveness of disease treatment.


The left panel shows a graph of different respiratory volumes. The right panel shows how the different respiratory volumes result in respiratory capacity.

Open Stax Figure 22.18 Respiratory Volumes and Capacities These two graphs show (a) respiratory volumes and (b) the combination of volumes that results in respiratory capacity. 


Online Lab 4: Pulmonary Function Tests