Heat and Water Vapor Transport in the Human Upper Airways at Hyperbaric Conditions

[+] Author and Article Information
M. L. Nuckols

Naval Coastal Systems Center, Panama City, Fla. 32407

J. L. Zumrick

Naval Experimental Diving Unit, Panama City, Fla. 32407

C. E. Johnson

Duke University, Durham, N. C. 27706

J Biomech Eng 105(1), 24-30 (Feb 01, 1983) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3138380 History: Received August 17, 1981; Revised August 09, 1982; Online June 15, 2009


Heat and mass transfer mechanisms have been characterized in physical models of human cadaver airways to simulated depths of 305 m with various gas mixtures. Such characterizations offer a detailed understanding of the effects of environmental pressures, gas composition, and respiratory rates (RMV) on the body cooling capacity of the respiratory airways. Empirical heat transfer relationships in the form

N̄u = AReNPr1/3
are derived for the oral and nasal passageways during inhalation and exhalation flows. N̄u, Re, and Pr are the dimensionless Nusselt, Reynolds, and Prandtl numbers, respectively. The Nusselt and Reynolds numbers are based on the diameter and gas flow rate in the trachea and are applicable to Reynolds number values up to 70,000.

Copyright © 1983 by ASME
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