Difference between Inhalation and Exhalation

Inhalation is a type of breathing in which air is sucked into the lungs by creating negative pressure by contracting the diaphragm and respiratory muscles, whereas exhalation is the activity by which air is sucked out of the lungs by relaxing the respiratory system.

Here are some of the main differences between inhalation and exhalation to help you understand how both differ:

Inhalation Vs Exhalation:


It is the activity of breathing that occurs as a result of the active contraction of muscles such as the diaphragm.

The procedure is autonomic and does not require conscious control because it is part of the breathing cycle.

In accordance with Boyle’s law, the process begins with ribcage muscle contraction, which results in expansion of the chest cavity, and is accompanied by diaphragm contraction, which expands the intrapleural space and increases the negative pressure.


Exhaling previously inhaled air is a passive action.

With ease, the diaphragm ascends into the chest cavity.

The ribs’ intercostal muscles loosen, allowing the chest cavity to contract.

The space in the chest eventually shrinks, and carbon dioxide-rich air is ejected from the lungs and windpipe, and lastly out the nose.

What is Difference between Inhalation and Exhalation?

Inhalation is the process through which humans take in oxygen-rich air, while exhalation is the process through which we expel carbon dioxide-rich air.

Let’s discuss the difference between them as follows:

The inhalation of air into the lungs.Expulsion of air from the lungs.
Active procedure.The procedure is passive.
Chest measurement Reduces, Contracts, and flattens as it moves downward.Chest measurement relaxes and rises, generating a dome shape.
Internal intercostal muscle relaxation & external intercostal muscle contraction.Internal intercostal muscles contract while external intercostal muscles relax.
Lung inflation leads to a rise in lung volume.The volume of the lungs reduces deflation.
Providing oxygen-rich air to the blood.Carbon dioxide is emitted.
Inhaled air contains both oxygen and nitrogen.Exhaled air contains both nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
Inhalation takes less time than exhalation.The exhalation process takes a longer time than inhalation.
Reduced air pressure.The air pressure rises.
Intercostal muscles have an effect. The ribcage expands and contracts.Intercostal muscles within the body contract while those outside the body relax.
After inhaling, the thoracic cavity’s volume is increased.The ribcage moves lower.
Oxygen is released into the body by the alveoli.The circulation’s carbon dioxide is released into the alveoli.
During breathing, the external intercostal muscles contract.Exhalation is also known as expiration.
Exhalation occurs more quickly than inhalation.Exhalation causes the external intercostal muscles to relax.
For a forceful inhalation, accessory muscles like the scalene, sternocleidomastoid, pectoralis major and minor, serratus anterior, and latissimus dorsi are used.The auxiliary muscles that control forceful expiration are the anterior lateral abdominal, internal intercostals, and deepest intercostals.


After reading this article you learned a lot about the differences between inhalation and exhalation.

The primary differences between them are found in their mechanics and roles in the organism.

Breathing involves two opposing actions: inhalation and exhalation.

The breathing is a mechanism that occurs in the lungs; hence each person’s inhalation and exhalation patterns are unique.

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