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Examining the relationship between lung capacity and ageFeatured science projectScience project video


The objective of this science fair project is to determine whether a personís lung capacity is affected by his or her age. The experiment will involve male and female participants from five age groups.


A person’s lung capacity will increase until he is in his 20’s, after which his lung capacity will slowly decline as he grows older.

Scientific Terms

Lungs, lung capacity, tidal volume, total lung capacity, vital capacity


Lung capacity

Lungs are respiratory organs that remove waste gases such as carbon dioxide from our body while supplying oxygen from the air to our blood vessels, whereas lung capacity refers to the amount of air that our lungs can hold. All of us have two lungs that are located in our left and right chest, and an average person has a lung capacity of approximately 4000 to 6000 cm3. 

The capacity of human lungs can be said to be overbuilt when it is compared against our respiratory needs, since we only use about one third of our lung capacity. The lung capacity of a person usually depends on his or her gender, height, weight and age. For example, women have about 25% less lung capacity when compared to men. In addition, people such as those who are tall, non-smokers, live in high altitudes, athletes and musicians playing wind instrument musicians usually have a larger lung capacity.

Tidal volume refers to the volume of air breathed in and out by a person during normal respiration whereas the total lung capacity refers to the maximum amount of air that a person can take in during a maximal inspiration, which occurs when we take a deep breath. Vital capacity on the other hand refers to the maximum volume of air that a person can force out of his or her lungs after taking a maximal inspiration.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
Preparation will take approximately one day, and observation and recording of data will require one more day
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Basic safety requirements