For the first time, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with hyperpolarized (hp) krypton-83 (83Kr) has become available. The relaxation of the nuclear spin of 83Kr atoms (I = 9/2) is driven by quadrupolar interactions during brief adsorption periods on surrounding material interfaces. Experiments in model systems reveal that the longitudinal relaxation of hp 83Kr gas strongly depends on the chemical composition of the materials. The relaxation-weighted contrast in hp 83Kr MRI allows for the distinction between hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces. The feasibility of hp 83Kr MRI of airways is tested in canine lung tissue by using krypton gas with natural abundance isotopic distribution. Additionally, the influence of magnetic field strength and the presence of a breathable concentration of molecular oxygen on longitudinal relaxation are investigated.