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I tried to find the academic definition of deep exhalation/inhalation but found nothing special.

I speculate that the correct definition is as follows:

Deep Exhalation: Exhaling the air with effort as much as possible, after a normal "inhalation".

Deep Inhalation: Inhaling the air with effort as much as possible, after a normal "exhalation".

The corresponding volumes of the air which is being moved inside respiratory tracts would be:

Vdeep exhalation = Tidal Volume + Expiratory reserve volume (ERV)

Vdeep inhalation = Tidal Volume + Inspiratory reserve volume (IRV)


But, in case we define them as below, the previous conclusion regarding the volumes turns wrong and consequently should be revised.

Deep Exhalation: Exhaling the air with effort as much as possible, after a normal "exhalation".

Deep Inhalation: Inhaling the air with effort as much as possible, after a normal "inhalation".

Vdeep exhalation = Expiratory reserve volume (ERV)

Vdeep inhalation = Inspiratory reserve volume (IRV)


I think it's impossible to assess without any subtle definition. I'm really confused.

Any help would be highly appreciated.

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  • $\begingroup$ You should investigate the concept of a collapsed lung. I think that may allow you to answer your question. $\endgroup$ – The Nate Jul 15 at 8:52
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    $\begingroup$ @TheNate Thank you. I'll give it a try. In the meantime, possible to let me know if there's a more active biology forum to ask questions? It seems Stackexchange is not too crowded by biologists as much as by developers! $\endgroup$ – Marelbiker Jul 18 at 6:30
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Deep inhalation and deep exhalation are informal terms and cannot be defined by lung volumes, because saying deep by itself does not tell how deep.

In the first part of the question deep refers to maximal:

  • Deep inhalation that means inhaling the air with effort as much as possible = maximal inhalation
  • Deep exhalation that means exhaling the air with effort as much as possible = maximal exhalation

According to Physiology, Residual Volume (StatPerls):

The volume of air in the lungs after maximal expiration is called residual volume (RV).

Residual volume (RV) is the volume of air that remains in the lungs after maximum forceful expiration. In other words, it is the volume of air that cannot be expelled from the lungs. This volume remains unchanged regardless of the lung volume at which expiration was started.

The volume of air in the lungs after maximal inspiration is called total lung capacity (TLC).

TLC is the total volume of the lungs at maximal inspiration.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Expiratory reserve volume = the additional amount of air that can be expired from the lungs by determined effort after normal expiration.

Inspiratory reserve volume = the maximal amount of additional air that can be drawn into the lungs by determined effort after normal inspiration.

Lung volumes:

enter image description here

Image source: Wikipedia, Creative Commons License

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